Main Area for Change 1: Child and Adolescent Mental Health
Babies and small children's Mental Health
The first three years of a child's life are very important for its mental health. The Scottish Government will publish a Parenting Strategy in 2012 which will help to support parents and make them more confident about raising their children.
It is normal for small children to not do as they are told, get very angry and upset from time to time. Most children stop this by the time they start school, but some children keep behaving this way all through childhood. Some even keep behaving this way when they grow into adults.
We know that this can lead to all sorts of problems in a person's life. They can lose all their friends, find it hard to work with others, and they can develop mental health problems.
Parenting programmes can help parents to deal with these problems at an early age.
In 2012 we will start to make parenting programmes available all over Scotland, to help parents of 3-4 year old children with severe disruptive behaviour.
All children need to form a strong emotional bond with someone they are very familiar with - usually their parents. If this does not happen, a child can have very high levels of stress and anxiety, and this is not always easy to spot and some parents might not know anything is wrong.
We know something about why this happens, and we need to know more about how to deal with it better.
We need to train healthcare professionals so that they can tell when a child has attachment problems.
Looked After Children (Children In Care)
We know that children who are in care have poorer mental health than other children.
Things have been getting better because mental health training has been made available to all those who work with or care for looked after children and young people. More work needs to be done to meet the mental health needs of looked after children.
Learning Disability and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
We know that access to mental health services for children with a learning disability is better in some parts of Scotland than in others.
We are working to find out why different parts of Scotland have better learning disability services than others. Once we understand why this is, we will change services so that everyone in Scotland will have equal access to services.
Access to Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
We are working to reduce the time between referrals and treatment, for specialist CAMHS. By March 2013, no child will wait longer than 26 weeks for treatment. By December 2014, we will reduce this time to 18 weeks.
We will work with the NHS in Scotland to make sure these targets are met.
Admission to adult hospital beds
Children will only be put in an adolescent unit if that is the only safe and proper thing for them. It is important that beds are available if they're needed.
We want to make sure that fewer children under 18 are put in adult hospital wards.
Email: Katherine Christie
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