The number of children and teenagers waiting for specialist mental health care in Scotland has risen sharply in the last 12 months, NHS figures show.

By the end of June, 584 young Scots were waiting for specialist care, up from 156 in June 2018 – a rise of 274 per cent.

Fewer patients waiting for help from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (Camhs) were seen within the Government's target time of 18 weeks with 69.7 per cent children and young people of people seen within that target in the three months covering April to – a fall from 73.6 per cent in the first three months of 2019.

At the end of June this year, 10,419 children and young people were still waiting for a Camhs appointment. and

the number waiting for treatment increased from 8,510 in June 2018 to 10,419 at the end June 2019.

A spokesman for the Scottish Children's Services Coalition (SCSC) – an umbrella group of independent and voluntary sector organisations working with children and young people – demanded more action from ministers to deal with the pressure on mental health services.

He said: "These latest waiting time figures highlight the fact that in this mental health crisis we are continuing to fail thousands of children and young people with mental health problems.

"The great efforts the Scottish Government is making is to be welcomed but more clearly needs to be done to address this epidemic."

The figures highlight some of the worst performing health boards. In NHS Grampian, just 51.2% of youngsters who started treatment with CAMHS had been seen within the 18-week target, the figures showed, while in NHS Lothian the total was 58.6%.

The SCSC spokesman said research suggested half of all mental health problems in begin before the age of 14: "There must be a radical transformation of our mental health services, with a focus on preventing such problems arising in the first place," he said. "This includes embedding mental health within education from an early age as well as providing training for all staff involved in education.

"With mental health and the issues associated with it representing one of the greatest public health challenges of our time, we must ensure that children and young people are able to get the care and support they need, when they need it."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said the government had its 'fingers in its ears' over the isuse.: "It breaks my heart to think of the hundreds of young people facing excruciating long waits for mental health support," he said. "When you have a Government with its fingers in its ears, there is no wonder that waiting time performance is on the slide. No-one should have to wait over a year for mental health care."

Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said far too many young people were being failed.

She added: "Our young people are facing a crisis in mental health and no-one knows this better than the desperate families who want Scottish ministers to keep their promises.

"Despite endless pledges from this SNP Government, progress on mental health services for young people remains too slow."