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26 July 2017, 05:24
Thousands of young people are being ''failed by the system'' as they faced waits of more than four months for mental health treatment, Scottish Labour has claimed.
Scottish Government waiting-time targets of 18 weeks were missed for 3,666 children in the year to March 2017.
This equates to almost one in five (19%) of those treated, according to the latest statistics from NHS Scotland's Information Services Division.
Scottish Labour said the figures illustrate the need for a school-based counsellor in every secondary school and a review of rejected referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
Monica Lennon, the party's inequalities spokeswoman, said: ''The SNP government claims it is prioritising education and mental health, but it needs to own up to the heart-breaking truth of children being failed by the system and start listening to them and experts.
''If we are ever to close Scotland's shameful attainment gap, we must tackle the growing mental health crisis affecting our young people.
''Scottish Labour has outlined plans for access to a school-based counsellor in every secondary school and a review of rejected referrals to ensure every young person is getting the care they need.''
Mental health minister Maureen Watt said: ''We take the mental health of our young people very seriously and the number of children and young people seen by mental health services within the target time has increased for three consecutive quarters.
''We have doubled the number of child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) psychology posts and are investing an extra #150 million in mental health over five years.
''Our new mental health strategy is committed to a review of personal and social education in schools to ensure every child has access to any appropriate support, counselling or pastoral guidance they may need and we will commission a review of rejected child and adolescent mental health service referrals as a foundation for further improvements.''