Referral to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services)
What is camhs?
CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. CAMHS are the NHS services that assess and treat young people with moderate to severe mental health difficulties.
The CAMHS support mainly focus on depression and anxiety, but may look at underlying health conditions to support problems with food, self-harm, abuse, violence or anger, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia to name but a few. Regarding abuse, there may be more specialist services who can help and CAMHS will direct you towards these.
There are local NHS CAMHS services around the UK, with teams made up of nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, support workers and social workers, as well as other professionals.
To find your nearest CAMHS service click here
How do I get help from CAMHS?
Your GP can refer you for an assessment to CAMHS to see what help you can get. You should also check your local CAMHS service as they may have other options for you to make a referral.
If you're being supported by social care, a youth offending team, or a service at your school, they might also be able to refer you.
It's important to tell the person referring you as much as you can so that you can get the help you need.
These are your local CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) services if you are looking for help:
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) :: West London NHS Trust
Does CAMHS help parents and carers too?
Most CAMHS services work with the whole family to support a young person's health.
This might include coming along to assessment and treatment appointments, depending on the child's age and what level of involvement they want.
How do young people move from CAMHS to adult services?
Young people will need to move from CAMHS to adult mental health services when they reach a certain age. When it happens depends on where you live, but you should be told at least 6 months in advance.
Transition to adult services is a big change, so it's important to get as much information and support as you can from friends and family. Your CAMHS case worker or care coordinator should create a care plan for you and arrange your transition.
You'll have an assessment with both CAMHS and adult services present to decide what kind of help you can get from the NHS. It's possible that you won't be eligible for the level of care adult services provide, but either way you'll develop a plan for what happens next.
Make sure you also ask about non-NHS support like local youth counselling, charities or school programmes.