Scottish report highlights poverty’s impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people

Ella Rhodes reports.

16 June 2022

A Scottish parliament committee has recently published a report into the health and wellbeing of children and young people, making 99 recommendations across areas including poverty, care-experienced children, physical health and the mental health workforce. In its report the Health Social Care and Sport Committee referenced written evidence from the BPS and oral evidence from Heather Connolly from the BPS’ Scottish Division of Health Psychology. 

The report calls for the government to ensure that the long-term impact of the pandemic remains a key consideration in the future design and development of mental health services and support for children and young people – something the BPS previously said was vitally important, with future policies taking into account the impact of the pandemic on physical health, mental health, education, and social lives.

There is also a focus on the need to expand and develop the psychological professions as a key part of the public sector workforce, with the report highlighting written BPS evidence on the importance of a properly resourced and sustainable mental health workforce to meet the needs of the Scottish population. The need to mitigate the adverse impact of poverty on the health and wellbeing of children and young people was emphasised, with Heather Connolly quoted saying that, ‘poverty sits in the middle of all the wider determinants that impact our health and wellbeing’. She warned ‘that a failure to tackle poverty would have a knock-on impact on the use of services that support the health and wellbeing of children and young people’.

The committee also highlighted the importance of investment in child and adolescent mental health services, the impact of poverty – which they say has ‘worsened considerably’ since the inquiry took evidence earlier this year. Proactive, targeted and preventative health and wellbeing support for care-experienced children was advised.  

- Read the full report and recommendations.