CAMHS - voices heard in new report

29th June 2018

Today the Scottish Government published an audit of rejected referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), accepted all of the report’s recommendations and announced £5 million of investment for a new CAMHS Taskforce to be chaired by Dr Dame Denise Coia. 

SAMH was pleased to announce last October that we had been asked by the Scottish Government to undertake the qualitative element of this work and gather evidence from children, young people, their families and carers across the country to inform the approach to mental health services. This report was to include recommendations for improving the experience for children and young people.

SAMH worked in partnership with NSS Information Services Division (ISD), part of the NHS National Services Scotland, who undertook a statistical audit of CAMHS data to complete the picture of the current system.

In year ending March 2018, 7,181 young people who were referred to CAMHS did not receive support from that service. Young people and their families with direct experience of a rejected referral were asked to help shape the future of Scotland’s approach to mental health services. The audit sets out 29 recommendations informed by more than 360 participants.  

SAMH Chief Executive Billy Watson said:

“We welcome the Scottish Government's commitment to improving the experiences of children and young people who are seeking help for their mental health. We know that during the period we have conducted this audit, thousands more young people have seen their referral to CAMHS services rejected. 

“Achieving positive outcomes for children and young people has been at the heart of this study and speaking to more than 360 children, young people and their families about their experiences has been a real privilege. Thank you to every single person who has been in touch and engaged with SAMH to take part in this important research.”

“Our hope was that this audit would provide substantive evidence as we seek to achieve positive change in the services and support that thousands of young people need. We are delighted that the recommendations have been accepted and welcome the announcement of a new CAMHS Taskforce that includes £5m of investment.  We look forward to engaging with Dr Dame Denise Coia at this crucial opportunity to make the mental health and wellbeing of young people an on-going national priority.”

You can read the full report here.

You can read the Scottish Government's statement here