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Lead Mental Health Officer to co-ordinate whole system approach

20th May 2021

Lead Mental Health Officer to co-ordinate ‘whole system approach' for emerging strategy for mental health services for children and young people in the Highlands.

Members of The Highland Council’s Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee, met yesterday 19 May 2021 and noted the work being undertaken and the proposals to create a mental health strategy that addresses the wide-ranging needs of those in the community. Also noting the development of a practice model that embraces universal services through to more complex and serious mental health conditions that require inpatient treatment.

Cllr Linda Munro, Chair of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee, said: "The additional funding allocated to the Highland Council from the Scottish Government has enabled the Council to identify a lead mental health officer to work with partners across the community to allow an emerging strategy to help shape long-term support for all children and young people needing mental health support, regardless of the intervention level. For many children and young people, support is likely to be community based, and should be easily and quickly accessible."

She continued: “Developing additional local services to enable early intervention to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of the children and young people within Highland is crucial, particularly within the current circumstances. The framework allows Highland Council to tailor services to meet the needs of our unique area and support positive outcomes. The gaps between a young person leaving school and being eligible for adult mental health support have been identified and must be addressed to ensure no lapse of support.”

Scotland Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMH) services are generally delivered through a tiered model, as below:

Tier 1 are provided by practitioners working in universal services who are not mental health specialists. Being able to offer general advice and treatment for less severe problems, helps with early intervention and prevention.

Tier 2 practitioners offer consultation to families and other practitioners. They identify severe or complex needs requiring more specialist intervention, assessment (which may lead to treatment at a different tier), and training to practitioners at Tier 1 level.

Tier 3 services are usually multidisciplinary teams or services working in a community mental health setting or a child and adolescent psychiatry outpatient service, providing a service for children and young people with more severe, complex and persistent disorders.

Tier 4 encompasses essential tertiary level services such as intensive community treatment services, day units and inpatient units. These are generally services for the small number of children and young people who are deemed to be at greatest risk of rapidly declining mental health or serious self-harm and/or who require a period of intensive input for the purposes of assessment and/or treatment.

The report presented to the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee outlined excellent work within The Highlands. For example, the CAMHS LAC team and Lead Nurse for LAC provide consultation and support to Residential Child Care Units as well as foster carers.

The Highland Council want to expand universal services throughout Highland as this enables early intervention/prevention support to be given as and when appropriate. It should also allow young people to quickly and effectively move within the tier system, if their mental health deteriorates or improves.

Mental Health services contact details can be accessed via the website -


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