Many parents and young people reading my column will know first-hand that children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are in crisis.

Pre-Covid, the situation in CAMHS was worsening, despite small sums of money invested by the Scottish Government. The pandemic has highlighted the inability of mental health services to provide access at the right time for all children and young people.

Year-on-year children and young people were suffering poorer mental health, with 38 per cent reporting they had poor mental health before the pandemic. Back in April, YoungScot surveyed children and young people and the results showed that 77 per cent said they had concerns for their mental wellbeing.

Furthermore, the answer to a parliamentary question I submitted shows that referrals to CAMHS fell sharply during the first wave, despite rising concerns from children and young people. This clearly shows a decline in the availability of mental health services for children and young people, leading me to ask the First Minister about it recently at First Minister’s Questions.

The response was predictable with the FM saying that additional money has been given to local authorities. However, it is not clear if this is new money or re-allocated money.

The vice-chair of The Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Justin Williams, recently said: “We have suffered from many years of neglect and disinterest in our services. We need to have real resources not cosmetic changes. Specialist mental health services need to be properly resourced. The government claims they’ve been increasing resources in CAMHS for years. They have not.”

This is a staggering quote. It is clear that the small pockets of money that have been offered are incapable of delivering real and tangible change to children and young people’s mental health.

As a mental health spokesperson for Scottish Labour, I am aware of the challenges in mental health service delivery. Children and young people deserve to know that any investment in mental health services will provide them with the support they need and when they need it.

For their futures, Scotland needs a government that will deliver better and more accessible CAMHS service during the pandemic and beyond.