£15 million to help with impact of pandemic.
Funding of £15 million is being made available to respond to children and young people’s mental health issues, with a focus on those brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The funding will be distributed to local authorities to support a local response for five to 24-year-olds, their families and carers.
Of this, £11.25 million will be for services in response to the pandemic, such as support for children who are struggling emotionally due to returning to school under new restrictions.
The remaining £3.75 million will be the first instalment of an annual £15 million fund to provide new and enhanced community mental health and wellbeing services. These new services will have a focus on prevention, early intervention and the treatment of distress.
Minister for Mental Health Clare Haughey said:
“The pandemic has been very hard for everyone, but for many children and young people it has been particularly difficult.
“Families have told us they need more support for mental and emotional distress and for their wellbeing and resilience, delivered in a community setting. By providing funding to tackle the impacts of the pandemic, alongside a separate fund to provide long term mental health and wellbeing support, we aim to deliver help where it is needed.
“This funding is in addition to supporting the recruitment of an additional 80 mental health professionals to work with children and young people, and our recent announcement of a further £3.6 million to help provide more than 80 additional counsellors in every college and university in Scotland over the next four years. We are also ensuring that every secondary school will have access to a counsellor.”
COSLA Spokesperson for Children and Young People Cllr Stephen McCabe said:
“The wellbeing of our children and young people is of upmost importance to local authorities and has been a particular priority in recent months due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This funding will allow local authorities to continue their work to support young people’s mental health and wellbeing needs arising as a result of the pandemic, and to implement new and enhanced services, providing early support for children and young people experiencing wellbeing issues, and their families. These actions will help ensure the best outcomes for our children and young people in the short and longer term.”
Letters have been sent to all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities inviting them to apply for a share of the funding.
A Transition and Recovery Plan, published on 8 October, outlines the Scottish Government’s response to the mental health effects of the pandemic, containing more than 100 actions.