The number of children being seen for specialist mental health care within a target time of 18 weeks from referral has increased.
For the quarter ending March 22, 73.2% were seen within 18 weeks of referral – an increase from 70.5% the previous quarter.
The Public Health Scotland (PHS) data also shows a slight increase from March 2021 when 72.7% were starting treatment within the target time period.
However the Scottish Government standard says 90% of children and young people should start treatment within 18 weeks of referral to the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (Camhs).
The Scottish Government says it remains committed to reaching the 90% target.
More children and young people are seeking support from Camhs for a range of mental health concerns.
Some 5,016 children have started treatment at Camhs since December, compared with 4,659 in the previous quarter, and a 20.5% increase from March 2021 when 4,162 were starting treatment.
One in two of the children and young people seen started their treatment within an average of nine weeks – an increase from seven weeks in the previous quarter. This is the same as the previous year.
The figures show that 9,672 children and young people were referred for specialist treatment in the quarter ending March 2022, compared with 10,021 the previous quarter.
In March 2021, 7,902 children were referred for treatment.
Mental Wellbeing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “This latest quarter has seen an all-time high number of children and young people beginning treatment.
“It is also the highest number of children beginning treatment within 18 weeks under this measure since quarter ending June 2016.
“This reflects the effects of Scottish Government improvement work with health boards and the additional investment in Camhs, which is growing the workforce and reducing backlogs.
“Long waits for treatment are unacceptable and it is encouraging to see a decrease in the these figures. We remain committed to meet the standard that 90% of patients begin treatment within 18 weeks of referral.
“We have invested £40 million to improve Camhs and to clear all backlogs by March 2023. We are also continuing to work directly with health boards with the poorest performance to ensure the 18-week waiting time standard is met.
“We have also provided an additional £15 million to local authorities to deliver locally based mental health and wellbeing support for five to 24-year olds in their communities, providing alternative support options and ensured access to counselling support services in all secondary schools.
“We have started work to implement the National Camhs Service Specification, which sets out the levels of service that children, young people and families can expect from Camhs across Scotland, and will publish a new long-term Mental Health Workforce Plan in the first half of this parliament.
“Under this government Camhs staffing has nearly doubled by 95.6% and we continue to create new posts.
“This package of commitments is designed to help ensure the right help is available, in the right place, at the right time.”
Figures from PHS showed that of the 19,977 people who started psychological therapies in the quarter ending in March, more than 83.1% began treatment within 18 weeks.
This is a fall from 84.8% in the previous quarter.
The number of referrals for psychological treatment is now similar to pre-Covid levels, with 40,331 people being referred for treatment in Scotland.