Scotland Policy Conferences

Priorities for children’s mental health services in Scotland: improving access, developing the workforce and the future for policy

Morning, Thursday, 25th April 2019

Central Edinburgh


This conference will bring together policymakers and key stakeholders to discuss the future of children and adolescent mental health services in Scotland.

Delegates will consider issues around its preliminary view and the delivery of its recommendations - including developing online and digital support platforms; facilitating the expansion of a diverse workforce focusing on mental health in education, communities and primary care; and increasing community support for those aged 5-24.

Attendees will consider how best to shape services to deliver high quality of care for children and young people.

We expect discussion on multi-agency collaboration and the enhancement of the role of schools, the impact of reform on the workforce, and supporting the development of effective community and family support services to provide alternatives to more traditional forms of care.

The agenda will also bring out latest thinking in improving prevention of mental ill-health - looking at the use of non-specialist services for young people in early-stage emotional distress, and plans for enhancing early intervention, including through the extension of the Distress Brief Intervention pilots to include those up to 18 years old and tackling high waiting times for CAMHS, particularly for those with adverse childhood experiences.

Delegates will also assess the future for the mental health workforce - including training, upskilling and diversifying the current health and social care workforce to deal with future demand - as well as improving career pathways for mental health professionals to ensure that they are given the support necessary to develop professionally, and maximise their contribution to the sector.

They will also look at how best to improve training and upskilling for those from community and school workforce to support children within their care suffering mental health issues, particularly as they balance these and other competing professional priorities - and with reference to the varying levels of expertise in providing levels of mental health care.

Further sessions will consider the way forward for reducing stigma and improving access to appropriate and effective mental health services for children and families.

We expect discussion on increasing the options for young people through the use of technology and digital platforms to encourage effective engagement with mental health care - as well as how best to utilise The Scottish Government’s recently-allocated £60m for 350 additional counsellors and 250 additional school nurses by 2022.

Keynote Speaker

Dr Dame Denise Coia

Chairperson, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce

Keynote Speaker

Dr Dame Denise Coia

Chairperson, Children and Young People’s Mental Health Taskforce


Emma Harper MSP

Deputy Convenor, Health & Sport Committee

Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Member, Health and Sport Committee


Judy Thomson

Director of Psychology, NHS Education for Scotland

Billy Watson

Chief Executive, SAMH

Tommy Stevenson

Senior Manager, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership

Michael Kellet

Director of Health & Social Care, Fife Health & Social Care Partnership

Dr Trevor Lakey

Health Improvement and Inequalities Manager - Mental Health, Alcohol and Drugs, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

Susan McKellar

Parent Group Leader Facilitator, Parent Network Scotland

Professor Helen Minnis

Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow

Allan Lindsay

Co-Design and Participation Director, Young Scot

Professor Steve Turner

Officer for Scotland, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Scott Pennock

Headteacher, Wallace High School, Stirling