Figures released in January show that over 7,000 children in Scotland were admitted to hospital after self-harming in the last decade.
However, individual patients can trigger multiple episodes depending upon the different instances and aspects of health services they presented to. The Liberal Democrats health spokesman, Ross Finnie, who obtained the figures using Parliamentary Questions, described them as a 'desperate cry for help'. Finnie commented 'that there are long waits to access certain services, particularly services for younger and older people, and there is a lack of out of hours and crisis services in some areas'. He also said distribution of funding needed to change so that those at risk of self-harm were identified and helped in the community.
Shona Robison, Public Health minister, commented: 'we are aware of the extent of the issue of self-harming and are committed to tackling this'. She said a £5.5 million sum to boost mental health services will include funds for specialists to work with self-harm patients, leading to an increase in staff. This is planned to contribute to a reduction in the waiting time to see Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to no longer than 26 weeks by 2013.
Billy Watson, chief executive of Scottish Association of Mental Health, said self-harm should be taken seriously and is usually symptomatic of a deeper problem. He also commented on the need to promote a supportive culture in schools and to provide support for paid workers and parents.