NHS Grampian’s child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) team is prepared for a spike in mental health referrals as schools return – but in an “excellent position” to help quickly.
The health board has faced a well-documented struggle to meet the Scottish Government waiting time targets for children who need access to mental health services.
But now, as virtual appointments have helped the health board continue services, the situation has improved and the waiting times for CAMHS services now stands at around six to eight weeks.
Referrals are expected to increase as lockdown lifts and schools return, but NHS Grampian are confident the successes of recent years can be maintained.
Douglas Ross, MP for Moray, gave the report’s findings a cautious welcome, saying: “While it is welcome that waiting times for CAMHS has reduced in Grampian, this is largely down to a lack of referrals during the covid pandemic.
“I will be looking at this closely to ensure people in Moray don’t suffer again from waiting far longer than other parts of Scotland for this support.”
The greatest area of delay exists with regards assessments of autism and ADHD as, typically, health care providers reply on information from schools.
Nick Jedrzejewski, from mental health charity See Me, said: “No young person should be left waiting for months to get help and support for their mental health, so it is good to see waiting times have been reduced.
“However we know young people find it difficult to tell anyone they are struggling to cope and are often judged or dismissed when they do reach out for help.
“The period during the pandemic has impacted on young people’s mental health, so it is vital we encourage young people to continue to reach out and tell people how they’re feeling and, when they do, that they are taken seriously and receive the support they need, from friends, family and the health service.”