Mental Health Waiting Lists (Young People)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th September 2021.

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Photo of Jamie Greene Jamie Greene Conservative

From April 2019 to July 2021, more than 7,000 girls between the ages of 10 and 16 were reported missing. I am sure that we all agree that that statistic is horrific for all concerned. We know that poor mental health is often the root cause of such incidents, and that the proportion of young people who are waiting more than a year for specialist help has trebled in the past 12 months. What action will the First Minister take now, to address the shame that is mental health waiting times for young people in this country?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

As I set out on Tuesday when I outlined the programme for government, we are making immediate investments of £120 million into mental health, with a particular focus on prevention and early intervention. We are already funding health boards to improve community child and adolescent mental health services and to enable the expansion of community services for people aged 18 to 25. The funding that I announced will enable the clearing of historical waiting lists, which I accept are too long. They were long as we went into Covid, and that has been further exacerbated by the experience of Covid. The funding that we will make available is specifically targeted to deal with the issue that Jamie Greene raises.