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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09045: Alexander Burnett (Aberdeenshire West)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 26 April 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what the process is for schools referring pupils to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

Answered by: Maureen Watt 10 May 2017

Awareness of child and adolescent mental health in schools has been improved by, amongst other things, our commitment to encouraging the establishment of explicit links between schools and child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) specialists as well as the development of a web-based toolkit (http://handsonscotland.co.uk) aimed at improving the confidence of teachers and others in responding to the mental health needs of children.

Education Scotland continue to roll out Scotland’s Mental Health First Aid for Children and Young People. The aim of this is to train staff within secondary school communities to increase their confidence in approaching pupils who they think might be struggling with a mental health problem. This training should complement the range of mental health strategies that are already in place within the local authorities and the support should target the school communities that need it the most first.

A mental health link person is available to every school, this has been achieved in a variety of ways using various models working to meet local needs. The link worker may be a CAMHS clinician or another speciality such as a primary care worker. However the named link person will be able to contact specialist CAMHS services for advice if they have any concerns about a pupil.

In April 2016 Aberdeenshire council in association with NHS Grampian, Police Scotland and Aberdeenshire voluntary action published their Mental Health and wellbeing strategy 2016-2019 (http://www.girfec-aberdeenshire.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/GIRFEC-Mental-Health-Wellbeing-Strategy-final-e-version.pdf). The strategy focuses on ensuring that appropriate services are available to children, young people and their families throughout Aberdeenshire.