Scotland’s mental health services for young people are beyond breaking point from the flood of autistic and ADHD children. The Scottish daily newspaper, The Herald, reports that nearly 7,000 young people were denied help from mental health services in 2015. Correspondent, Helen McArdle, writes:
Neil Findlay, convener of the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee called for an investigation after 6,931 referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) were rejected in 2015.
Evidence to the committee suggested that a surge in diagnoses for autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was putting pressure on services…
This is a figure of extraordinary magnitude in a country with a population of just 5.3 million at the census in 2011 – the number of children in Scottish schools in 2015 was just 680,000. In a single year above 1 in 100 children out of the entire school population had had an unsuccessful referrral to mental health services. This would be equivalent to more than 400 thousand children mapped on to the US population. Those are only the ones who did not get treated.
McArdle’s article does not report just how much autism has risen in Scotland in the last two decades. In 1998, the first year in which the Scottish Executive published on the numbers of autism cases in Scottish schools there were just 820 pupils (1 in 925) with a diagnosis and this had risen to 11,722 in 2015. By September 2016 the figure had risen yet again to 13,423 (1 in 51), a factor of more than 18 in just 18 years. The figures, however, will be incomplete because there are often delays in diagnosis, and indeed many children will presumably still be awaiting a diagnosis out of the 6,931 who had been turned away by the service in 2015. Also, given that this is a rolling 15 year cohort the rate will likely be much higher than 1 in 51 among younger children as the overall rate was a mere 1 in 129 in 2009.
The reality is that since Andrew Wakefield reported on the possibility that autism could in some cases
be caused by the MMR vaccine in 1998, and the scandal over other infant vaccines containing a mercury excipient (Thimerosal), which blew up in the USA the following year, government agencies across the world have been in denial about the rise in autism, fudging figures and inventing hidden hoards of adults. But it is no use citing missing adults when our children cannot now be diagnosed fast enough, and demands on the system are unprecedented. This report shows that the system in one small country - part of the United Kingdom - is now in complete and utter breakdown, and the masquerade cannot go on much longer.
Citizens in Scotland and across the globe have been betrayed by industry captured agencies, pusillanimous politicians together with the bought out, intimidated mainstream media. It is already too late but the nettle must be grasped.
Post Script: Baron-Cohen's Cambridgeshire survey published in 2009 provided a figure that for every three cases identified there were likely two which had not. If anything it looks now as if the speed of diagnosis has slowed down but if we followed that figure for 2016 the Scottish schools figure that would be 1 in 30.5. Also, if there are 4 boys to 1 girl that would yield a rate of about 1 in 31.5. That combined would yield a figure of 1 in 19 for boys. But, of course, the rate would be still higher among younger children.
John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.