NICOLA Sturgeon has faced a grilling from teenagers over her record on children’s mental health.

One girl demanded to know why the SNP had abstained on a vote over putting a counsellor in every school, while another raised spiralling waiting times.

Ms Sturgeon was quizzed as she took part in a special First Minister’s Question Time Next Generation event, broadcast on STV last night.

A teenager called Ella said: “I came and had a meeting in your office in May and I gave you a very personal account on how mental health was affecting young people in Scotland.

“If you’re as passionate as you say you are about mental health, why did you and your party abstain in the vote for a mental health councillor in every school, after I gave you such an in-depth, personal account?”

In June, every opposition party in Holyrood backed calls for “access to a mental health counsellor in every school” as part of a wider motion criticising the SNP’s record.

Ms Sturgeon said she appreciated this was “difficult to understand”. She insisted her party did not support the move at the time because it was not ready to guarantee it could be delivered.

She said the Scottish Government had now committed to an “ambitious plan to increase the provision of counselling in schools”.

The First Minister said: “Voting for something in parliament can often be the easy part of what you do. And if you do that without knowing you can deliver something, you’re not doing anybody any favours, or treating people with proper respect.”

Ms Sturgeon said she didn’t want the teenager “to think that what you told me hasn’t had an impact on the work we’ve been doing”.

She added: “In fact it’s had a very direct impact on some of the most recent announcements that we’ve made around how we improve mental health care for young people.”

She also faced questions over waiting times for mental health services and the increasing number of young people who say they are struggling.

Elsewhere, Ms Sturgeon revealed she was bullied in primary school, with a teacher even stepping in at one stage.

She also told the audience of young people that she once dreamed of writing children’s books, adding: “Who knows, maybe in the future.”

It came as Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called on Ms Sturgeon to make a “sincere apology” after it was revealed 25,000 referrals for mental health treatment for young people have been rejected since she took office.

Speaking at First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood, he said: “Nicola Sturgeon has been too slow to act, and as a result has let these children and young people down for over a decade.”

Earlier this summer an inquiry heard young people with mental health problems were being turned away by the NHS because they did not appear suicidal.

Ms Sturgeon said she regretted and apologised to any patient who had not been seen as quickly as they should have been.

She said additional resources had been put into Scotland’s mental health provision.