What is CAMHS?

CAMHS offers assessment and help to children, young people and their families with emotional, behavioral and mental health difficulties.

We assess, and where possible find ways of working with, the child or young person and those who look after them. We attempt to understand and deal with problems with the intention to achieve change.

We aim to provide a service that respects the beliefs of those who use the service and is sensitive to their culture and faith. We can also provide an interpreter if this will help you to feel more comfortable during sessions.

 

Who are we?

All CAMHS clinicians have a relevant professional qualification and experience in working with children, young people and their families. Members of the team include: psychiatrists, psychotherapists, psychiatric social workers, psychologists, specialist community mental health nurses and family & systemic psychotherapists.

Our Glossary Page will explain the job role for our team members.

The Assessment Process

The aim of an assessment is for the clinician to gather information to build a detailed picture of the presenting difficulties and to think with you in order to decide what help or treatment is required. The first assessment meeting is usually 60-90 minutes long which is often enough to decide what should happen next but if needed, there can be up to 3 meetings. The clinician will then meet with their multi-disciplinary team to jointly decide on what should happen next and communicate this decision back to the young person and family.

Components of the Assessment

In order to understand the young person we ask quite detailed questions around their birth and early childhood and also about the larger family structure and any history in the family of medical or psychological difficulties.

The structure of the sessions can vary according to what would be most helpful. The clinician will listen to the concerns of the family and may also take time to speak to the young person in private.

Confidentiality

The information disclosed to the clinician is confidential which means it will only be shared with members of the team who are directly involved in the care of the young person. In order to disclose information to professionals in the wider network such as teachers or general practitioners, we will need your written permission via the ‘Permission to Share’ form. The exception to this is when the clinician believes there is significant risk to the young person by others or of the young person harming themselves or others.

Accessing Help between Assessment Appointments

Following your first assessment you can contact the clinic at any time between the hours of 09.00 to 17.00, Monday to Friday and ask to speak with your assessing clinician or the duty clinician about any questions or concerns.

For urgent matters occurring outside of office hours, regarding the care of the young person, you are advised to contact your GP services in the first instance and in an emergency you are advised to attend your local Accident and Emergency Department.

Following Completion of Assessment

Where possible the person conducting the assessment will also be the person to offer treatment, but depending on the outcome of the assessment the recommended treatment may need to be delivered by a different member of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT). Every child or young person will have an allocated CAMHS worker known as their care coordinator. 

Alternatively the findings of the assessment may suggest further assessment is needed or that CAMHS is not the most appropriate service to offer the child, young person or family the help that they need. In this case the CAMHS clinician would signpost the family to a more relevant service.

Questionnaires in CAMHS

At the first CAMHS appointment we will ask you and your child to fill out some questionnaires. The information you give us on these forms helps us understand more about someone’s specific difficulties and what they need support with. With your permission we also use the information you provide on questionnaires to understand how to provide the best support as a service. The clinician you see will be able to help you with any questions you might have about questionnaires.

Help us get it right

If you have any complaints, concerns, comments or compliments please let us know. We learn from all comments we receive and use the information to improve our services. This could include letting us know about something that went well, changing your worker, withdrawing your consent to treatment or that you would like a second opinion.

If you have a concern, please speak to a member of staff or you can speak to a senior clinician or the service manager.

You can contact our confidential PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) on 0800 783 4839.

If you wish to make a complaint or a suggestion, you can also call 0800 085 8354 free of charge or see the Trust website: www.elft.nhs.uk for other ways to communicate with us.

Getting Involved

If you are interested in getting more involved in the service then please speak with our People Participation Team about Young People’s or Parent’s User groups or being on an interview panel to recruit new staff.

You can also speak to your CAMHS worker in more detail about how you can be involved.

Translation and Interpretation

Information about our services is available in Braille, large print, audio or other languages.

We can also provide interpreters for languages or signing at your appointment. Please contact us to find out more.