In­crease in num­ber of men­tal health emer­gen­cies

The Galloway News - - NEWS -

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

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