What happens at CAMHS?

CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. We are a specialist NHS service offering assessment and treatment when children and young people have emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. Your child might be referred to CAMHS if they are finding it hard to cope with family life, school or the wider world.
 
Types of problems CAMHS can help with include;
  • violent or angry behaviour
  • depression
  • eating difficulties
  • low self-esteem
  • anxiety
  • obsessions or compulsions
  • sleep problems
  • self-harming and the effects of abuse or traumatic events

We have been referred – what happens next?
 
Once your child has been referred to CAMHS, they will receive an appointment letter from one of our professionals. You may also get a telephone call to see if you have received the letter and to check if you are able to attend the appointment. We will usually invite you to come along to the appointment with your child.
 
How long will we have to wait for the first appointment?
 
You might need to wait a few weeks for your child’s appointment. If you are concerned that you may have to wait too long because your child’s problem is very serious or getting worse, you should discuss it with the person making the referral. If necessary they will be able to contact CAMHS and ask for the referral to be treated more urgently.
 
What if my child’s problems get worse whilst we are on the waiting list?
 
If your child’s problem is very serious or getting worse, you should discuss it with the person making the referral. If necessary they will be able to contact CAMHS and ask for the referral to be treated with more urgency.
 
If your concerns continue to escalate you should contact your GP or ring NHS Direct on 111. If there is an emergency and you don’t think that your child is able to keep themselves safe please get them to A&E.
 
The first appointment
 
At the first appointment you and your child will meet one or two people working in the CAMHS team. We will speak to your child, ask questions about how they are feeling, and what might be causing them to feel this way. We will also ask for your input throughout the assessment. Depending on the age of your child, we may ask to see them on their own for some of the appointment.
 
You will probably have questions of your own and we can answer these at the appointment. You may want to sit down before you come to see us and think of any questions you want to ask so you can bring these along with you.
 
Once we have met with you all, we will then be able to consider the best course of treatment.
 
What happens next?
 
After the first meeting, we will send a letter to you to explain what we discussed and planned together, and what will happen next.
 
Depending on the age of your child and the difficulty that they are experiencing we may agree to see them on their own and write to them only. These decisions will be based on what we know about the young person from the person who has referred them and what we have agreed in the assessment appointment.
 
We aim to make your child feel as comfortable as possible. Please try not to worry as we are here to help.
Working on it!