Third sector backs children’s mental health proposals

Tuesday 9th July 2019

A leading charity representing more than 2,700 organisations working in health and social care has welcomed calls for stronger links with the third sector in a report calling for wide-ranging reform of children and young people’s mental health support in Scotland.

The Health & Social Care ALLIANCE Scotland says it’s firmly behind the Children & Young People’s Mental Health taskforce’s “well-constructed and comprehensive” proposals to include the third sector.

Reporting just over a year since its inception, the expert group says ‘transformational change’ is needed to make sure children in Scotland can get mental health help when they need it.

In response, Clare Haughey, the Mental Health Minister, announced a new taskforce bringing together local government and the Scottish Government would be set up to carry out the report’s recommendations.

Although the report calls for local and central government to work more closely, the taskforce went on to say both need to recognise the ‘vital and increasing’ role of the third sector.

Voluntary groups and charities need to be involved in planning young people mental health services and should be included in a campaign to attract ‘bright, compassionate people of all ages to the sector,’ the taskforce recommends.

The ALLIANCE says it’s vital any recruitment or training programme takes a “wide view” that spans the charity sector, children’s services, and sport and leisure organisations, as well as health and care providers.

It’s also firmly behind the call for a ‘whole system’ approach but believes investment in prevention and early support will be needed.

An ALLIANCE spokesperson said: “We believe that it is right that the Scottish Government and COSLA should demonstrate joint leadership through establishing strategic partnership across a range of sectors and organisations.

“The focus of this partnership should be to help community planning partnerships deliver improved services and support to children and families on the ground. We are pleased that the recommendations include third sector representatives being involved in strategic partnerships at local and national levels.

The organisation says any further proposals need to be “co-designed and co-produced” with children, their families and the third sector.

 “We support the development and implementation of a programme of education and training for the multisector workforce. Establishing such a programme, a wide view should be taken with regard to the identification of the multisector workforce.

“For example, this should include staff employed and volunteers in children services third sector organisations. It should also for example, include staff and volunteers in sports organisations, culture and leisure and organisations which attract children and young people, and Health and Social Care service providers which support adults who may be parents or carers of children.”