Increase in number of mental health emergencies
The number of emergency calls for an ambulance made by children suffering a mental health crisis has soared.
Dumfries and Galloway has seen the biggest percentage increase in Scotland over the last four years. The number of callouts for distressed or selfharming people under the age of 18 increased ninefold from three in 2012 to 28 last year. Shadow health secretary Colin Smyth MSP described the rise as “deeply worrying”.
He said: “These figures expose the tragedy of children in our region being so desperate for help, they are turning to calling the emergency services.
“It is a symptom of the fact waiting times for support have risen massively in recent years.
“It is just not good enough that one in four people in our region are having to wait more than 18 weeks just to be seen.”
Mr Smyth believes funding a counsellor in every secondary school would make a major difference in children’s mental health.
He said: “Early intervention would help reduce waiting times in the future and more importantly would help those children before their health gets worse.”
Ambulances received around 500 calls to children suffering from mental health problems last year across Scotland, a 35 per cent increase since 2012. The majority of cases resulted in a hospital admission.
Concern Colin Smyth MSP