First minister Nicola Sturgeon has pledged £54 million over four year to improve access to talking therapies for both adults and children.
Around 10,000 additional patients in Scotland will benefit from these services in the first year – an increase of 25% on current numbers – and by 2019/20, an extra 20,000 patients will be seen annually, she added.
Health boards will use the money to improve capacity to see more people more quickly, work with Healthcare Improvement Scotland to redesign local services to be more efficient and sustainable, and to improve workforce supply to deliver extra services for children.
Ms Sturgeon said: ‘We have been investing heavily for a number of years, but there is still work to be done, particularly as awareness of mental health issues increases and the stigma is seeking support is reduced.’
Lee Knifton, head of the Mental Health Foundation, Scotland, backed the move.
He said: ‘Children and young people face more challenges to their mental health than ever, and demand for services at all levels is high. The evidence is clear that early intervention enables young people to recover quickly, often preventing longer term engagement with services and reduced life chances. Improved access and workforce skills should ensure services are both available, and responsive to what young people want and need.’