A FIFE MSP has called for better support for children in the region with mental health issues.

Roz McCall, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, has backed a campaign by mental health charity Place2Be, asking the Scottish Government do more to meet waiting times for the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

The latest statistics show that only 72.6 per cent of children referred to CAMHS in Fife are seen within the 18 week target set by the Government. The statistics also revealed that 19.5 per cent of young people waited up to 35 weeks to receive treatment.

The target set by the Scottish Government is that 90 per cent of children and young people referred to CAMHS should be seen within 18 weeks.

Ms McCall said: "The campaign by the Place2Be charity is of vital importance. We know that a substantial number of mental health conditions begin before the age of 14, so awareness and early diagnosis is paramount if we are to face the challenge head on over the next decade.

"Any delay in the diagnosis and treatment of the child or young person concerned, as well as for their family or carer, can have a devastating impact with conditions frequently worsening while they wait."

"That is why it is unacceptable that some of our youngest and most vulnerable people in Fife must wait months for treatment for mental health issues, especially given that early diagnosis and early treatment are critical to successful outcomes.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said that Scotland’s mental health workforce had expanded significantly in recent years, and CAMHS staffing had more than doubled since 2007.

The spokesperson continued: "The Scottish Government has increased direct mental health investment, and there are currently record numbers of staff providing more varied support and services to a larger number of people than ever before.

“On top of this workforce expansion, we have committed to provide funding for around 320 additional staff in Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services over the next five years in our NHS Recovery Plan.

“Long waits are unacceptable and we remain committed to working with Health Boards to meet the standard that 90 per cent of people begin treatment in CAMHS within 18 weeks of referral, by March 2023.

“Boards are working hard to clear their backlogs and to see those who have waited the longest first and we have invested in a range of additional supports which has helped councils support over 38,000 children, young people, parents and carers in the first six months of this year.”