DESPERATE families are pleading for help to tackle the “urgent” mental health service delays amid fears their children won’t survive the wait.

Glasgow parents have warned their children are “on the brink” of death and have urged the Scottish Government to take urgent action to tackle the lengthy waiting list to key mental health services.

One mum, who asked not to be named, claimed she is “massively struggling” with two of her children’s tendencies to self-harm, while another spoke of his fear his child may take their own life before they are seen by professionals.

It comes after Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton described the situation as “torturous”.

The Scottish Government insists it is doing all it can to speed up waiting times with significant progress already made.

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The mum, who lives near the city’s West End with her two children under 15, said: “We’re in a situation no parent wants to be in.

“It’s hard enough having a child go through this and you just keep thinking ‘why can’t I make my child happy?’, but to have no help is excruciating.

“We thought it was a bit of a fluke with my eldest but now both the boys are self-harming and it’s just terrifying.”

She added: “We’re asking for help to save their lives and I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”

The families say the delays aren’t being taken seriously due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

They claim they’re being offered little advice as they await treatment.

Cole-Hamilton said: “It breaks my heart to know that children are being failed for so long by Scotland’s current mental health care system. “If your child breaks their arm, you would expect them to be seen the same day, but if they come forward with a mental health condition their wait can last for years.”

As previously reported, Scottish children and young people are facing months – or even years – waiting to gain access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAHMS) across the country. From last July to September, figures revealed 3792 children were seen by medical staff with 1021 youngsters hailing from the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s average waiting time for the quarter was around four weeks, while 75.5% were seen within 18 weeks of their initial referral date.

At the end of the quarter, 11,816 youngsters remained on the waiting list – compared with 11,722 at the end of the previous quarter and 9669 during the same period in 2020. However, it is unclear how many children and young people are still currently waiting to be seen or how many are based within the Glasgow area.

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The Scottish Government said it was “determined” to improve the situation.

Mental Health Minister Kevin Stewart said: “Long waits for child and adolescent mental health services are not acceptable.

“It is encouraging to see progress towards meeting the waiting times target, with eight out of 10 children and young people seen within 18 weeks of a referral. But we are determined to further improve things, particularly in those areas where there have been increases in the number of children and young people waiting for over a year for treatment.

“This is why dedicated support is being directed to those boards with the longest waits to clear all backlogs by March 2023.

“As part of this support, we have provided additional funding of £40 million to improve CAMHS this year, with £4.25m directly focused on offering treatment to those already on waiting lists.”