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Mental Health and Wellbeing

Children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing should be a National Priority.

Positive attachments between parents and children are the building blocks of good mental health and wellbeing. It is vital for children that they are raised in a nurturing environment, that they can play, be cuddled, be spoken and responded to and dealt with in a relaxed way.

We recognise and work with the impact of trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). These are traumatic experiences that occur before the age of 18 and are remembered throughout adulthood, ranging from suffering verbal, mental, sexual and physical abuse, to being raised in a household where domestic violence, alcohol abuse, parental separation or drug abuse is present.

We want to see a whole system approach to improving mental health and wellbeing so that support for children and young people is readily available and easily accessible.

Our work

In November 2016, a review of 2736 of our service users in Scotland was undertaken to understand the mental health and wellbeing of the children and young people we work with. We found that around half have a formal diagnosis of mental ill health or are presenting with mental health issues. Of these, 20% are currently attending Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for assessment or treatment, while support to the other 80% is provided by our services.

More information


Barnardo's Scotland briefing for Health and Sport Committee Debate on the Inquiry into the Preventative Health Agenda (PDF) April 2017


Briefing for Members Debate on Barnardo's Scotland Nurture Week (PDF) February 2017


Barnardo's Scotland response to the Health and Sport Committee's Inquiry into the Preventative Agenda (PDF) February 2017


Barnardo’s Scotland response to ‘Mental Health in Scotland – a 10 year vision’ (PDF) September 2016


Barnardo's Scotland briefing for Members debate on Mental Health Education (PDF) September 2016


Barnardo's Scotland response to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee Inquiry into mental health (PDF) August 2016


Barnardo's Scotland briefing on the Scottish Parliament debate on 'The Best Start in Life for Scotland's Children' (PDF) June 2016


Responses and briefings prior to 2015 can be found here.

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