Mum's demand full review of kids' mental health services

A group of parents unhappy with the care their children receive from mental health services took their campaign to the Scottish Parliament this week.

Members of CAMHS Forth Valley Parent Voices, set up by Bo’ness mum Katie Sneddon, met with Minister for Mental Health Maureen Watt on Tuesday to put forward their demand for a full review into mental health services.

Following the 45-minute sit-down, the five mums and a grandmother unfurled their banner outside the parliament building before marching with it up The Royal Mile to publicise their plight.

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Hundred of parents have come forward with serious concerns over NHS Forth Valley’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), with issues on a national level sparking a review into rejected referrals.

The Scottish Government has pledged an audit on rejections which parents say leave their children in limbo for effective treatment after CAMHS refuses to treat, or fail to diagnose, which can sometimes take years.

But parents want the audit to go further and review the service from top to bottom.

Mother-of-two Katie (30), who formed the group due to issues with her eight-year-old son’s care, said: “We are very pleased with how the meeting went and the minister recognised that there is a crisis in CAMHS.

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“We are also happy that the government is looking into what has happened with rejected referrals, but we feel a review into the whole service is needed and we will not stop until then. We want answers.”

NHS Forth Valley say the mental health services for children and young people, which supports 2000 families across the area, have changed significantly over the past year to help increase capacity and reduce waiting times – which showed a 43.7 per cent improvement in the latest quarterly figures.

Following Tuesday’s meeting with the Forth Valley parents, she gave no assurance a full review would happen.

Mrs Watt said: “Following the publication of the new strategy for mental health services, we will be commissioning a review into rejected child and adolescent mental health service referrals as a foundation for making further improvements.

“Working with stakeholders will be key to building on the actions of the strategy over the next decade.”