CAMHS is a specialist community NHS service that provides support to children and young people (and their families) who have moderate to severe emotional and mental health problems.
Services for children and young people’s emotional and mental health are often described using a tiered model to reflect an increasing level of need.
The CAMHS team is made up of different professionals including Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, Clinical Psychologists, Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists, Community Mental Health Nurses, Family Therapists and Therapeutic Social Workers.
CAMHS is for children and young people up to the age of 17 ½ who are experiencing difficulties such as the following:
If you are a parent or carer and are worried about a child or young person, speak to a doctor, school nurse, teacher or school counsellor in the first instance. They can then make a referral to CAMHS if necessary.
If you are a child or young person, your parent or carer or an adult you trust could help you with your problem, but if this is not enough or isn't possible, have a chat to your doctor or someone at school or college such as a teacher, your school nurse, your college tutor, Time 4U staff or the school or college counsellor. If this is still not enough and you, or they, think you need more specialist help, then they can make a referral to CAMHS.
If you are a professional you can contact the CAMHS single point of access. You can get there by visiting the Umbrella Pathway (Neuro-Developmental Assessment and Care) website.
If you are concerned that a child or young person may be affected by a neurodevelopmental problem such as ADHD, Tics or Autism you can ask their GP, school nurse, health visitor, specialist teacher or educational psychologist to consider a referral to the Umbrella Pathway.
Once a child or young person has been referred to CAMHS they will be offered an initial appointment to enable CAMHS staff to determine the level of support required. The first appointment will last for up to an hour and a half. The aim is to get to know the young person and their family and understand their problems. They will then be offered the most appropriate support or therapy.
Sometimes one appointment is sufficient to resolve difficulties; however, people generally attend more than once. Depending on the presenting problem various approaches may be offered including; individual therapy for a child or young person, family therapy, work with parents or carers, and sometimes medication. Where appropriate CAMHS will signpost families to other agencies.
Self-help resources for young people and parents/carers are available via the useful links page.
CAMHS use ‘experience of service’ tools to allow children, young people and parents to express how they feel about the service. Comments are analysed to look for opportunities for service improvement across the CAMHS teams.