19 children miss out on mental health services every day in Scotland

19 children miss out on mental health services every day in Scotland
Third Force News, by Susan Smith

Nearly 7,000 children and teenagers didn’t get the help they needed for mental health problems last year.

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) said 19 young people in Scotland are let down by our mental health system every day.

The charity has launched a major new campaign to pressure the government, NHS and councils to improve support and services for under 16s affected by mental health issues. It says currently three pupils in every class are affected by a mental health issue before they are 16.

The Going To Be campaign aims to raise awareness of the scale and urgency of the problem. It stresses the need to provide early support to young people long before they are diagnosed with a recognised condition.


Three 30-second adverts featuring young people thinking about what they’re going to be when they grow up will screen on STV for two weeks from 2 May and in cinemas from 8 May.

Billy Watson, chief executive of SAMH, said: “Half of mental health problems in adulthood begin before the age of 14, so investment in solutions for children and young people now and broader mental health education is crucial.

“We know the devastating impact that mental ill-health can have on our relationships, our work or education, our wellbeing, our hope and our quality of life. 

“A mental health problem shouldn’t just be defined by a diagnosis but it is often only then that an intervention is triggered.  It’s got to change. 

“Improving the self-esteem, resilience and well-being of our young people must be a priority as the situation is urgent, it’s not getting better and SAMH wants to see it change.”

Recent research conducted by the Scottish Youth Parliament revealed that when it comes to finding help for mental health, only a quarter of young people know where to go. Its report Our Generation’s Epidemic drew on the voices of thousands of young people on this issue.

The Going to Be campaign calls for a review and refocus of mental health support for children and young people, and investment in early intervention services to help young people at the earliest opportunity

Caitlin-Jay Wyllie-Quinn, a 20 year old student, said: “I first started to experience mental health problems around first year of high school.

“I didn’t receive the professional help I really needed, it was all off my own back to try and make myself feel better.

“If I had received help earlier, and whilst I was in school I don’t think my mental health would have suffered as much.”