Scottish children with mental health problems are to benefit from a new £3.5m fund, it has been announced.
Public Health Minister Shona Robison told Holyrood's Health Committee that about 180 specialist staff will be recruited over the next six years in a bid to address the "longstanding" underfunding of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in Scotland.
NHS boards have been given £2m of new money to develop specialist services, Ms Robison said.
The minister added: "I'm pleased to be able to tell you that we've identified a further investment of £1m this year – 2009/10 – rising to £3.5m by 2011/12 to support an increase in specialist CAMHS workforce.
"This means that over a three-year period – 2009 to 2012 – we will spend an additional £12.5m on CAMHS."
The cash will be directed at increasing the number of clinical and masters-trained psychologists through extra training places and posts. Ms Robison said the number of professionals engaged in that line of work is expected to rise by 80 by the end of 2012, while growth is expected at a similar level until 2015, resulting in an increase to the workforce of about 170 to 180 posts.
She said the staff will be able to support teachers and social workers in the work they do within their own services.