MORE than 220 young people have been waiting more than one year for mental health help, figures reveal.

As many as 221 children and young people have waited 12 months or more, with 197 youngsters treated on adult wards in 2017-18.

Calling for more money for specialist services, the Scottish Children’s Services Coalition (SCCS) said the data shows that “we are continuing to fail” young Scots with mental health problems.

Child and adolescent mental health services currently account for than 0.5% of the NHS budget.

SCCS said: “No longer can mental health be viewed as a ‘Cinderella service’ and we must put money behind the rhetoric if we are to just keep pace with investment south of the border.”

The figures – classed as “management information only” as they have not been assessed by statistical regulators – were compiled by Information Services Division (ISD Scotland), part of the NHS.

Data shows staffing levels in the sector are up.

However, just four of the country’s 14 health boards met the 18-week treatment target in the three months ending in September.

They include those in Ayrshire & Arran, Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles

In contrast, just 35% of those referred had begun receiving help with the time frame at lowest placed NHS Tayside.

Of those who started treatment between July and September, 93 had waited more than a year to be seen.

Meanwhile of the 7860 children still waiting, 221 had been on the list for 53 weeks or more.

LibDem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton called this a “disgrace”, adding: “Mental ill health among this age group is at crisis levels. Waiting so long for a substantive intervention can have a devastating impact on them and their families.”

The Scottish Government said: “We must continue to build services in the community to meet significantly rising demand and take pressure off specialist services.

“We’re investing an additional £250 million into mental health to support measures such as counsellors in every secondary school, improved training for teachers, and more nurses in schools and counsellors in universities and colleges.

“While new waits for specialist treatment still fall well short of our expectations, half of children and young people are starting treatment within 12 weeks.

“Any young person referred to mental health services should be assessed in the period prior to treatment starting, and we expect health boards to provide appropriate support during that period.”