Martin Whitfield MSP has challenged the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the Scottish Government’s failure to support mental health services for children and young people.

The South Scotland MSP raised the issue at First Minister’s Questions and urged Ms Sturgeon to tell MSPs what the government is doing to tackle the unacceptably long waits so many children and young people are experiencing to access the services they need.

During his question, Mr Whitfield referenced the views of a local teacher who contacted him about the issue. The teacher expressed their desire to meet with the First Minister in order to tell her about the impact of long waits for mental health services on both young people and the professionals who work with them.

In her response, Ms Sturgeon acknowledged the ongoing long waits for CAMHS but claimed that £40m has been invested to help tackle the waiting lists for accessing these services.

Speaking after FMQs, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“The damage done by the pandemic and years of SNP failure on CAMHS services is plain for all to see, which is why I was pleased to be able to raise this vital issue with Nicola Sturgeon at Holyrood.

“My question was particularly timely as it came on the same day as a call from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland for the Scottish Government to ‘pull out all the stops’ to support CAMHS services.

“I welcome this expert intervention of professionals and believe it adds to the urgency of the need for the SNP government to listen to expert opinion as well as to the experiences of young people who are desperately seeking help.

“We cannot have a lost generation of young people due to this government’s failure to support mental health services. Demand for these services has skyrocketed and, despite Nicola Sturgeon and her Ministers claiming to be acting, waiting lists are continuing to grow.

“Only a proper plan to cut waiting times and boost staff numbers will do. It’s time for the Scottish Government to stop turning their back to the mental health crisis among our young people and act.”

The full text of the exchange can be found here.