In 2016, the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) chose young people’s mental health as its campaign of the year, culminating in a report, ‘Our generation’s epidemic’, setting out its calls for change.
It also called for Education Scotland to develop a mental health standard for schools, for a review of the provision of school counsellors, and of CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services), and for the Scottish Government’s then-forthcoming mental health strategy to have an increased focus on supporting 16-26-year-olds.
The Scottish Government’s mental health strategy of March 2017 addressed many of these themes.
It promises a review of personal and social education (PSE), the role of guidance in schools and counselling services for children and young people, improved mental health training for those who support young people in educational settings, an audit of CAMHS rejected referrals, a digital tool to help young people with eating disorders, and improved care planning for young people transitioning from CAMHS to adult mental health services or leaving the mental health system.
CAMHS waiting times and rejections have repeatedly caused concern. In the latest figures, for the quarter ending December 2017, only 71.1 per cent of children and young people were seen within the 18-week target.
In some health boards, less than half of young people were seen within the four-month target, with Grampian the worst performing.