Update from the Co-Chairs of the Joint Delivery Board
Together Scottish and Local Government are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our children, young people and their families, an issue which has been particularly important in recent years.
We know that agency is important; this is a person's ability to take action to maintain their own mental health, and factors such as understanding mental health, keeping active, access to green space and good sleep hygiene all play a useful role in keeping us well. We also get a sense of connection and belonging from having good positive relationships with peers, family, learning communities, clubs and organisations and there is strong evidence that a feeling of belonging can lead to good mental health. Information on mental health and keeping well for children and young people, their families and supporting professionals has become increasingly accessible, particularly via online platforms, but there is still a need to ensure children and young people get additional support for their mental health, at the right time should they require it.
We know that prevention and early intervention are essential, and we are delighted to see community-based supports and services focused on emotional wellbeing and distress, supported through the work of this board and its predecessors, beginning to make a difference for children and families. We are also encouraged by the early learning from our tests of change, looking at the implementation of the Neurodevelopmental Service Specification.
We are clear that long waits for those who need clinical support are unacceptable. Scottish Government have made a significant investment in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and most recently published CAMHS statistics show both an increase in CAMHS staff numbers and progress in addressing long CAMHS waiting lists. Discussions within the Task and Finish Groups of the Joint Delivery Board continue to support the implementation of the CAMHS service specification.
These are steps in the right direction; there remains much to do in ensuring good practice in all areas of children and young people's mental health is established, shared and embedded. We hope you find this newsletter helpful in this process.
Hugh McAloon, Director of Mental Health, Scottish Government
Nicola Dickie, Director of People Policy, COSLA
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