Young people are having to wait for half a year before being offered mental health treatment.

The latest waiting times for the local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were presented in a document to members of the West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) board’s audit and performance committee last week.

They show that the average number of weeks for referral to treatment for specialist CAMHS input is 25 weeks which is seven more than the target time of 18 weeks.

It is however down on figures from the previous quarter showing young people were waiting for 27 weeks.

The latest stats run between October and December last year during which time there were 192 referrals to the service, an increase of seven percent on the same period in 2019.

The report read: “Significant work has been undertaken during this quarter to address waiting times for children and young people on the CAMHS waiting list and all new referrals received as from December 1, 2020 have been booked into a choice/partnership slot.

“All children and young people referred before December 2020 will have been offered an appointment by the second week in February 2021.

“The success of the waiting list initiative has been achievable by team work and team flexibility but also largely due to additional experienced senior nursing capacity that has greatly assisted in co-ordination.

“Additional hours from experienced clinicians has also been valuable.”

In December, Alexandria woman Lizzi Stuart who lost her teenage son Lee to suicide hit out at “atrocious” waiting times for young people who are desperately seeking mental health support.

She spoke to the Lennox Herald after it was revealed just 34 percent of struggling children in West Dunbartonshire were referred to specialist mental health services within the target of 18 weeks.

Lizzi told us: “The waiting times are atrocious. The support is needed more than ever. The situation is a total disgrace.”