Change needed to tackle young people’s mental health issues

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A step change is needed in the way the public sector works to address mental health problems among children and young people, a report by West Lothian Council has revealed.

A new report by the Scottish Government revealed the scale of the problem nationwide and the patchwork of services.

It highlights the major contribution that poverty makes to poor mental health – with an estimated one in five Scots children living in poverty.

A council report acknowledges that services for young people in West Lothian are a mixed picture. It says: “For some, effective screening of their needs enabled them to access therapeutic support at an earlier stage, while, for others, their emotional wellbeing needs have not been well recognised or they had had to wait too long to access services.”

National policy backs early intervention and prevention as the most positive strategy, but, across the country, this is a service that remains patchy and limited.

The report concludes: “A step change in the way that the public sector in Scotland responds to the mental health needs of children and young people is required.”

Next month, the Children and Families Forum in West Lothian is screening the film “Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope”, for youth and children’s workers. The documentary explores Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). It has been credited with shining a light on how health professionals can recognise mental health issues in children and young people and help them.

These screenings will be followed by discussion with a panel of professionals on protective factors and the role of youth and children’s work.

There will be two showings of the documentary on November 29, from 3pm-5pm and 6.30-8.30pm, at the newly-refurbished Riverside Community Wing in Craigshill.