Driving CAMHS improvement

£4 million to recruit more mental health staff across Scotland.

Scotland will recruit an additional 80 mental health professionals to work with children and young people, following a £4 million investment.

The additional staff, made up of psychologists, nurses, allied health professionals and administration workers, will support improvements to mental health care and help reduce pressure on Children’s and Young People Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

The funding comes as a taskforce appointed by the Scottish Government and COSLA to review CAMHS publishes its delivery plan for improving services. The taskforce’s recommendations include:

  • preventing young people being referred to specialist care by default, and treating more in primary and community-based care
  • providing young people and families with more information on what to expect from mental health services and how the system works.

Mental Health Minister Clare Haughey announced the funding during a visit with taskforce chair Dr Dame Denise Coia to The Junction, a centre providing health services and support to young people in north Edinburgh.

Ms Haughey said:

“Across Scotland, talented and dedicated mental health staff provide high quality care to young people and are seeing more people than ever. I want the speed at which young people receive their care to be improved. That’s why we are investing an additional £4 million in CAMHS staff, who will be instrumental in supporting new services and reducing pressure on the system.

“The taskforce are to be commended for their delivery plan which sets out an ambitious programme of work that will inform the whole public sector about how we can ensure young people get the right care at the right time in the right place.”

Dame Denise said:

“After speaking to children, young people and families across Scotland, and those working in services to support them, it’s clear that our approach to children and young people’s mental health needs to be transformed. Our delivery plan sets out how, with the support of those working in young people’s mental health services, the taskforce can be the catalyst for that change over the next two years.’’

Councillor Stuart Currie, COSLA Health and Social Care Spokesperson, said:

“COSLA is grateful for the work of the jointly commissioned taskforce in its initial considerations and putting together this initial delivery plan for its work. Local government ment will continue to work jointly with Scottish Government in supporting the taskforce. As the delivery plan states, it is vital that we continue to focus on prevention and early intervention and building strong community responses and services. We are pleased that there is a strong focus on the voices of children, young people and their families. We look forward to seeing this work develop and jointly responding to the recommendations of the taskforce as they are made.”


Children & Young People’s Mental Health Task Force Delivery Plan

The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2018/19 commits an extra £250 million a year to improve mental health services, including: providing school nurses and counsellors in secondary schools, colleges and universities; supporting expectant and new mothers; and providing mental health training for teachers.

The taskforce was created in response to an audit of rejected referrals carried out by the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and NHS Information Services Division on behalf of the Scottish Government. Chair Dr Dame Denise Coia is a clinical psychiatrist and an internationally recognised expert in mental health.

The Scottish Government, working with Young Scot and SAMH, appointed a Youth Commission on Mental Health Services to lead an in-depth, 15-month study into CAMHS and recommend improvements to Ministers. The government is also funding See Me, the national programme to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination to hold the biggest conversation on mental health Scotland has had with young people.


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