Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) financial aid: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

The child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) has called for the Scottish Government to invest significantly in mental health services as children return to school and to ensure that teachers and other staff are aware of the services on offer for young people needing support.

Has the Scottish Government accepted their position and if so, what financial assistance has been provided for them?


Mental health services and support in schools
Our Programme for Government (PfG) 2018 included a commitment to invest in access to school counselling services in Secondary schools. This commitment forms part of the broader response to the challenge of support provided by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). It aims to provide a quicker, more effective response to some of the issues which affect children and young people’s mental wellbeing.

To support delivery of the commitment, we provided local authorities £12 million in 2019/20 and £16 million in each of the three financial years 2020/21, 2021/22 and 2022/23 which will be baselined in the Local Government Settlement from 2023/24 onwards.

We agreed a set of aims and principles in order to achieve the policy intent behind the commitment of increasing access to counselling, while enabling local authorities to ensure any provision is complimentary and linked to existing provisions. We also published guidance for local authorities to support delivery of the commitment. School counselling is just one of a range of services that schools may have in place to support the health, emotional and social needs of young people.

We funded Mental Health Foundation, Digital Bricks Learning and Children’s Health Scotland to create a Professional Learning Resource for all staff working in schools across Scotland which was published in June 2021. This work was supported by the Mental Health in Schools Working Group, made up of key stakeholders within this area. The free online professional learning resource is open to anyone who wishes to enhance their knowledge and skills. It is primarily aimed at school staff, but anyone who wishes to upskill will be able to access the learning. The working group also developed a whole school approach framework to complement the learning resource, for schools to utilise as they continue to support positive mental health in children and young people. The framework was published in August 2021. The whole school approach framework is designed to help all school staff to promote children and young people’s mental, emotional and social wellbeing and assist in responding to and supporting children and young people’s mental health in schools.

CAMHS funding
In September 2021, as part of Phase 2 of the Mental Health Recovery and Renewal Fund, we announced funding of £10.83 million in 2021/22 for Health Boards to support CAMHS improvement. This includes support for children and young people with neurodevelopmental support needs.

This is part of an additional £40 million investment this year in CAMHS from our £120 million Mental Health Recovery and Renewal Fund, and will support implementation of the National CAMHS Service Specification.

Funding will be used to:

  • Offer treatment to those already on the CAMHS waiting lists this year, with a view to clearing all backlogs by March 2023 (£4.25 million)
  • Implement the National CAMHS Service Specification, which sets out the levels of service that children, young people and families can expect from CAMHS across Scotland (£16.4 million)
  • Build professional capacity in NHS Boards to ensure that children and young people with neurodevelopmental support needs receive the advice, support and treatment they need (almost £3.06 million part-year funding this year)
  • Improve community CAMHS, with an expansion from age 18 to age 25 for targeted groups, and those who wish it (£8.5 million)
  • Provide access to out of hours assessments, intensive and specialist CAMHS services, which will benefit children and young people with complex needs, and their families, including in a home setting (£4.9 million part-year funding this year)
  • Funding to establish 3 regional CAMHS Intensive Psychiatric Care Unit (IPCU) services (£1.65 million part-year funding this year)
  • A national data and information programme to support and evidence improvement for children and young people (£500,000).

This is part of a longer term commitment to ensure that by 2026, 10% of frontline NHS budget is invested in mental health, with 1% directed specifically to CAMHS.

Financial support for community services and pandemic funding
Community mental health services

We are committed to improving access to community mental health and wellbeing support, and to an approach based on prevention and early intervention.

We allocated £3.75 million to local authorities to establish and fund community mental health and wellbeing supports for children and young people from January to March 2021.

This year, we have provided local authorities with an additional £15 million to fund over 230 new and enhanced supports and services for children and young people

In 2022/23, we will issue a further £15 million to local authorities to fund the continuation of these services. In addition, the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party shared policy programme commits to doubling the budget for community-based mental wellbeing services for children and young people to £30 million per annum.

The new and enhanced services in place include digital and text supports, play and art-based therapies, single points of access, family support and counselling services for those experiencing emotional distress.

Establishing these services is a significant step forward in supporting the mental health of our children and young people, making sure they receive the help they need, when they need it.

Pandemic support

We know that lockdown and the pandemic have affected young people’s mental health and wellbeing in a variety of ways, and we are listening to what they tell us they are concerned about through surveys such as the #LockdownLowdown.

We have made £11.25 million available to local authorities in response to children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing issues arising as a result of the pandemic. This includes support for anxiety-related school attendance difficulties and expanding school counselling to young children in primary schools.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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