Our plan for Scotland: transforming mental health services for young people

Nicola Sturgeon has presented the Scottish Government’s plan for the year ahead.

Outlining our plan for Scotland, the First Minister recognised that mental wellbeing is as important as physical health – that is as true for young people as it is for everyone else.

We’re working to deliver this aspiration. Under the SNP, the number of people working in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) has increased by over 50 per cent. And total mental health investment in Scotland has reached over £1 billion for the first time.

Yet we know there is much more to do. That’s why at the heart of our plan for Scotland is a new programme of action to improve the mental health of children and young people.


Here’s the action we’ll take in the year ahead and beyond.

  • Starting this year and progressively increasing over the subsequent four years, we will invest an additional £250 million in improving mental health services – with most additional investment going to services for children and young people.
  • We will create around 350 councillors in schools and ensure that every secondary school has counselling services. And more than 80 additional counsellors will be provided in Further and Higher Education over the next four years too.
  • Community mental wellbeing services will be developed for 5 to 24 year olds and their parents to provide direct and immediate access to counselling sessions, self-care advice, family support, peer-to-peer support and group work with links to other care settings.
  • An additional 250 school nurses will be recruited by 2022. This will help provide a quicker response to mild and moderate emotional and mental health difficulties experienced by young people.
  • By the end of the 2019-20 school year, every council area will be offered training for teachers in mental health first aid, using a ‘train the trainer’ model so that it will spread through schools.
  • We will put in place systems to fast-track those with serious mental illness to specialist treatment.
  • The Youth Commission on Mental Health, established this year, will continue its in-depth investigation of child and adolescent mental health services to improve services and support.
  • The Taskforce on Children and Young People’s Mental Health Improvement has now published its first recommendations for improving CAMHS. The Taskforce was established in response to a review of the reasons why some children and young people are rejected for mental health services after a referral.