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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 06 November 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Business Motion, Topical Question Time, Poverty, Urgent Question, Ivory Bill, Committee Announcement, Decision Time, Maybole Bypass


Committee Announcement

Members may recall that the commission on parliamentary reform proposed that time be put aside during plenary meetings to allow committees to make significant or urgent announcements. We are trialling the new procedure up until Christmas and, in that context, I am pleased to call Johann Lamont, convener of the Public Petitions Committee, to make an announcement on an inquiry into mental health support for young people in Scotland.


Thank you, Presiding Officer. On behalf of the Public Petitions Committee, I would like to draw the Parliament’s attention to an inquiry that the committee will launch tomorrow into how young people access mental health support in Scotland. The inquiry stems from a petition raised by Annette McKenzie, whose daughter Britney tragically died after being prescribed medication when she sought help for her anxiety.

During the committee’s consideration of the petition, a recurring theme that has emerged is that significant improvements are required to signpost young people to the appropriate sources of support, as well as the importance of intervening early to prevent mental health issues occurring or escalating. As members will be all too aware, we have repeatedly heard concerns raised in the chamber about how young people can get help for their mental health. Although it is encouraging that the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities have established a task force to examine the whole approach to children’s mental health services, it is hoped that the inquiry will help inform the future policy direction of youth mental health services in Scotland.

The inquiry will focus on the ways in which young people can get the help and support that they need, particularly for the first time, if they are feeling low or anxious. The committee is keen to hear from a wide range of voices on the topic but particularly from people under the age of 18 with direct experience of seeking help for their mental health or young people who want to share their views with us on the topic. The committee is also keen to gather the views of parents and carers, non-specialist mental health workers and any other relevant professional organisations.

I encourage members to draw the inquiry to the attention of as many people and stakeholder groups as possible to help inform the committee’s work on this important issue for our young people in Scotland. I know that the committee clerks and committee members will be happy to provide more information on how members might be involved, should they wish to be so.