2017 should be the year where children and young people’s mental health is everybody’s business

Includem has signed an open letter regarding the Scottish Government’s 10 Year Vision for Mental Health alongside other Scottish charities providing services for children and young people.

You can read the letter in full here:

As charities providing services to children and young people we very much look forward to the new Mental Health Strategy and the exciting opportunities this brings to help shape and improve the support given to some of our most vulnerable children.

The Scottish Government has committed to an innovative and visionary new 10 year Mental Health Strategy and a Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Strategy, and these are to be welcomed. We are particularly encouraged by the comments from the Minister for Mental Health that early intervention and prevention will be a key priority in the upcoming Mental Health Strategy. Alongside this there is a growing cross-party consensus that there needs to be more investment in mental health.

We also look forward to a new focus on measuring performance through actual experiences and individual outcomes for children and young people rather than systemic performance measurements, as has previously been the case. With this we anticipate a welcome move towards a more personalised approach to mental health support and provision, where services fit people rather than people having to fit services.

Our services work daily with children, young people and their families, many of whom have issues around their mental health or wider emotional wellbeing concerns. Many of these young people will not require medical interventions from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) but will need support and interventions of some kind.

Our 10-year vision for Children and Young People’s Mental Health in Scotland is to see a Scotland where there is a whole systems approach to improving children’s mental health and emotional wellbeing utilising the strengths of all sectors and services.

It is too often the case that therapeutic, attachment, trauma and relationship based work runs parallel to the CAMHS system rather than in partnership with it. An effective model would be a mixed model based on close collaboration between the services provided by CAMHS, adult mental health services and those services provided by organisations in the third sector, in effect a whole system, partnership approach ranging from early intervention and prevention through to specialist services.

This begins with perinatal mental health and follows a child through adolescence and into adulthood. We believe many of the more acute mental health problems experienced by children and young people could be addressed at a much earlier stage.

Overall we want to see a Scotland where children and young people’s mental health is the responsibility of everyone. This will mean a shift from the current clinical medical model to one where there is an increased role for schools, the third sector, parents, and children and young people themselves through increased awareness and good self-management.

We look forward to working with the Scottish Government and all parties within the Scottish Parliament over the next ten years to ensure the vision we all want to see for children and young people in Scotland is realised.

Martin Crewe, Director, Barnardo’s Scotland
Sally Ann Kelly, Chief Executive, Aberlour Childcare Trust
Angela Morgan, Chief Executive, Includem
Alison Todd, Chief Executive, Children 1st
Matt Forde, National Head of Service, NSPCC Scotland
Paul Carberry, Director for children’s services Action for Children Scotland

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