CONCERNS have been raised that funding for a mental health worker in every Fife high school is not yet in place.

Councillor Tim Brett has called on the Scottish Government to make details of plans known so staff can be appointed. “Whilst the announcement of having a mental health worker in every school is welcomed, it is disappointing that this has not been followed through with details of when the funding will be provided,” he said.“It is disappointing that when government ministers announced in the budget this year that funding would be provided for a mental health worker to be based in every secondary school that no details of this are available.

“I understand the government currently provides £12 million for school counselling in 2019/20 and that an increase to £16m will be provided in 2020/21. It is, however, not clear as to the way in which this funding will be used and how these additional staff will be integrated into the existing Fife services.

“I am concerned that pressures on young people mean that there is an increasing demand for mental health services for young people through the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). I am aware that referrals to the service have increased year on year and having a mental health worker in every school will hopefully address problems earlier and at a local level.”

The Scottish Government launched their Mental Health Strategy in 2017, and their Delivering for Today, Investing for Tomorrow programme for 2018-19 sets out the actions to be taken in the year ahead.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We want every child and young person to have appropriate access to emotional and mental wellbeing support in school – our ambitious Mental Health Strategy sets out clearly how we can improve early intervention, and ensure better access to services.

“We have built on this positive action through the commitments within this year’s Programme for Government, which included measures for radical reform of our response to mental ill-health and support for good mental health. This included a commitment to invest in access to school counselling services, mental health first aid training for local authority staff and counselling in further and higher education. We are working with COSLA to deliver these commitments, which will see counsellors become available through schools during the next academic year.”