Urgent action needed for young people’s mental health

6th June 2017

SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has today (Tuesday 6 June) called for urgent action on young people’s mental health, as new statistics show that 1,838 young people were rejected from receiving support from CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) in the last three months.

We don’t know why, what happened to them, and what support, if any, was offered. 

SAMH’s new campaign, Going To Be, calls for better support for young people’s mental health problems. We can’t always prevent young people from experiencing a mental health problem, but we can give them every chance to get the help they need, when they need it.

Today SAMH has invited third sector organisations to come together to discuss the latest figures and to find solutions to support young people’s mental health at the earliest opportunity.  

Jo Anderson, Director of External Affairs at SAMH said:

“It is encouraging to see an improving picture around waiting time targets. Ten out of 14 Health Boards met the 18 week waiting time target, compared to 7 last quarter. 

“However, SAMH is concerned about the continuing trend around the number of rejected referrals. Last year over 7,000 young people were rejected from receiving a CAMH service. We know from parents who have been in touch with us as a result of our campaign that young people are returning home and back to classrooms without the help they need.

“We need additional investment in early intervention, so that young people can be helped within schools and communities, rather than referred to specialist services that might not be right for them.

“We welcome the Scottish Governments commitment in the new 10-year Mental Health Strategy to audit these rejected referrals, but this review must start quickly, thoroughly, and lead to real action.

“We’re calling for a comprehensive programme to train all school staff in mental health; and schools based counselling services. With evidence from elsewhere in the UK that schools-based counselling works, we must provide this service in Scotland.

"Join the Going To Be campaign at samh.org.uk/Goingtobe to add your voice and help give Scotland’s young people every chance to get the help they need, when they need it.”

Caitlin-Jay Wylie-Quinn, a 20 year old student at Strathclyde University used CAMHS:

“I first started to experience mental health problems around first year of school and my doctor referred me to CAMHS.

“I was sent to CAMHS for the second time after a 9 month wait when I was 16, but I was refused help. Because I didn’t receive the professional help I really needed, it was all of my own back to try and make myself feel better.

“If I had received help earlier, and whilst I was in school I don’t think my mental health would have suffered as much.”

Find out more about our campaign and join us.