Charities have hit out at the Mental Health (Scotland) Bill
accusing it of failing to address the needs of children.
Eddie Follan, policy officer for Children In Scotland, said the
organisation had been lobbying for age-appropriate services to be
included in the bill, but that provision for these had not been
Last year, seven out of 10 children under 18 detained under the
Mental Health Act 1983 were admitted to adult psychiatric
In Scotland there are only 35 children’s psychiatric beds. The
Royal College of Psychiatrists recently recommended 80 to 100 beds
for Scotland’s children but the bill does not address this.
Follan said section 21 of the bill, which refers to a duty to
promote the welfare of people who have or have had a mental
disorder, excluded children.
“That needs to be widened to include people at significant risk of
having a disorder,” Follan said.
Anne Houston, of ChildLine, agreed that there was an urgent need
for preventive services for people of all ages.
“The children who approach us fall into two camps,” she said. “The
first is the thousands of children who call about bullying, about
relationship difficulties or abuse. Preventive services must be
included in the bill for these young people.
“The second group consists of young people who have had major
mental health problems but no appropriate support.
“Children’s needs are completely different from those of adults.
This fact is not reflected in the bill.”