ALMOST a quarter of children in need of Mental Health care in Ayrshire had to wait 18 weeks to be seen.

According to new figures from the Scottish Government’s Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland show that in the three months to June 2019 77 children and young people - 24 per cent - were forced to wait longer than 18 weeks for CAMHS in NHS Ayrshire and Arran.

Scottish Labour Neil Bibby MSP said: “Young people seeking help for mental health problems are being failed by the SNP.

“Despite endless pledges from this SNP government, progress on mental health services for young people remains too slow - with thousands of children still being rejected from treatment and many more facing waits of over four months to be seen.

“This is simply not acceptable. Our young people need early intervention, and a year on from the last Programme for Government, thousands of children are still waiting on the roll out of school-based counselling.

“It’s not good enough. With the number of young people dying by suicide increasing last year, it’s more vital than ever that the SNP Health Secretary gets to grips with this mental health crisis and ensures our young people get help when they need it.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “We want to make sure anyone who has identified as needing support can get services that are appropriate to their needs. That’s why we’re driving significant changes to ensure everyone gets the right treatment, at the right time and in the right place.

“The rollout of our £250 million package of measures to support positive mental health for children and young people is underway.

“Its vital we strengthen the support available in communities and schools, including mental health first-aid training for local authorities by the end of the 2019-20 academic year, the rollout of 350 additional counsellors across secondary schools this academic year and training for 50 additional school nurses this year, until 250 are in training by 2022.

“This year’s Programme for Government takes this even further and includes a commitment to drive whole-system change.”

through a new Adult Mental Health Collaborative so public services, the third sector and communities can work closer together to improve support to people suffering from mental ill health.”