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Mental health inquiry seeks views of young people

MSPs hope to improve the ways young people can access mental health support.

Health: Submissions being taken until mid-December (file pic).
Health: Submissions being taken until mid-December (file pic). Newcast Online

MSPs on a Scottish Parliament committee say they want to hear people's views as they launched an inquiry into how youngsters with mental health problems access support.

The probe is being led by Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee, which said it is particularly keen to understand the experiences of people under the age of 18.

It comes after the panel received evidence in relation to a petition brought before it by the mother of a 16-year-old girl who took her own life just over two weeks after being prescribed tablets for anxiety.

Annette McKenzie last year told the committee how her daughter Britney, who suffered from depression and anxiety and was having suicidal impulses, was prescribed a month's supply of medication in June 2016. Sixteen days later, she took a fatal overdose.

Ms McKenzie, from Glasgow, wants the law to be changed so under-18s cannot be prescribed medication to treat mental health concerns without parental consent.

The committee said its inquiry will be to improve the ways young people can seek help and support, particularly for the first time, if they are feeling low or anxious.

Convener Johann Lamont MSP said: "From the evidence we've already gathered, it's clear that we need to look at how young people seek help for their mental health and that the right services are available and accessible for those who are feeling anxious or stressed.

"We therefore want to collect as many views as possible and the committee is particularly keen to understand the experiences of young people under the age of 18 who are seeking help for the first time. These vital voices will help to shape our inquiry work.

"As well as those under the age of 18, views are being sought from parents and carers of young people, non-specialist mental health workers who provide services to young people, such as GPs, teachers and social workers, counsellors and relevant professional organisations."

Respondents can contribute to the inquiry by making a written submission or giving their views at http://parliament.scot/mental-health-dialogue

The deadline for doing so is 5pm on Friday December 14.

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