Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, Beatrice Wishart MSP has today revealed alarming figures highlighting the strain that mental health services on Shetland have been under since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The target for starting Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) treatment in Scotland is 18 weeks. However, a freedom of information request has now revealed that in Shetland in 2020-21*, the collective wait for mental health treatment beyond that target waiting time was 1316 days.
This figure represents an increase of 4,600% on the figure seen in the previous year, where the collective overdue wait was 28 days.
Newly revealed figures also show that at the end of October last year, a child or young person in Shetland had been waiting for 170 days for treatment to begin.
Commenting on the stark figures, Ms Wishart said:
“These figures show a stark picture, and make it clear that a huge amount of work is needed to improve mental health provision in Shetland.
“Young people seeking mental health support should not have to endure the waiting times like these. Asking for help isn’t easy, and long waiting times aren’t just disheartening. They are potentially dangerous.
“While the pandemic was always going to create problems, the toll seems to have been acutely felt in Shetland. I know staff will be doing the best they can in extremely difficult circumstances, but these figures show that more help is needed.
“It is easy with numbers like these to forget what they really represent. Behind them all are individuals and families being wracked with worry. The Scottish Government has a duty to invest in this and ensure mental health services in Shetland are made available more efficiently.”