What is the difference between Mild/Moderate/Severe mental health conditions?
• Mild means that the condition has some impact on your daily life
• Moderate means that the conditions has a significant impact on your daily life
• Severe means that the condition makes it almost impossible to get through daily life
Will you tell my parents that I visit CAMHS?
Legally, if you are under 16, your parents are responsible for you and your welfare, so we will need to ask them before we can help you. Sometimes this can be really helpful having your parents/carers involved as we might be able to help them to support you and understand you better.
What if the medication has bad side-effects?
The doctors providing you with support will usually run some checks on you before prescribing any medications, but inform CAMHS straight away if you do experience any bad side-effects.
Visit HeadMeds for more information about medications
Can I ask for a second opinion on my diagnosis?
Everyone is entitled to question decisions made about the care and treatment being offered to them.
It may take some time for the help and therapy a child or young person is receiving to take effect. Sometimes their behaviour or problems may seem to get worse before getting better.
If you are concerned that the help and therapy is not working as well as you had hoped, you might want to talk to the people who are providing the therapy about your concerns. The therapist will normally welcome an opportunity to discuss your queries.
Can I access my medical notes?
You have a right to see or be given a copy of your health records, whether it is held on paper or electronically.
If a relative or a solicitor or someone else is requesting access on your behalf you must give your consent in writing. This should be sent to us when they make their formal written request.
If you want to see your records or be given a copy of your records, contact the manager where you received your care.
Please note there may be occasions when we are legally prevented from providing you with all the information you want to see.
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Do you protect my information and confidentiality
We know the information you give us may be sensitive and we respect your confidentiality.
We have a legal duty to keep information about you confidential. This means we store it securely and control access to it. When we use information to help us provide efficient and effective services we do not share information that personally identifies you.
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Why will your child or young person have been referred to CAMHS?
From work that we have done with children and young people, we know that about one in ten of all young people in the UK have mental health problems that may need the help of specially trained staff. While many children and young people have anxieties, worries or difficult feelings at some time while they are growing up, these are quite normal. With the support of their families and the people around them, these difficulties often pass with no lasting effect or need for specialist involvement.
But when your child or young person’s worries or problems do not go away or begin to seriously interfere with their everyday lives – for example, when they cannot eat or sleep; they can’t study; they stop talking to you and have no interest in their friends or school – that is when the CAMHS team can support them and give you professional help and advice.
There are many different types of mental health problems that children and young people can have. Some of the ones you may have heard of include:
- Eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia
- Emotional problems
What can you expect from CAMHS?
All CAMHS work with children and young people up to the age of 18. They will normally contact you the first time by letter to offer you an appointment. When the letter arrives it may be for just your child who is experiencing difficulties and you, their parents/carers, or it might ask for the whole family to attend.
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.
It is not unusual to have to wait a few weeks from the letter to the date of the appointment, since many CAMHS teams are very busy. If while you are waiting for the appointment you think that your child’s difficulties are getting more serious, please let the CAMHS team know – they may be able to offer some suggestions of what to do to help your child while they are waiting for the appointment date.
CAMHS teams work in lots of different places including their own clinics, or someone may come to meet you at home or at your child’s school, or at your doctor’s surgery. Most appointments are in the day-time during the week, but where possible you will be offered times after school or college or in the evening.
At the first appointment, you and your child will meet one or two people working in the CAMHS team. Depending on the age of your child, they may also ask to see them on their own.
People working in CAMHS are all trained in mental health and include:
- Family therapists
- Primary mental health workers
- Outreach workers
If you are unsure as to what the person you are meeting does, please make sure that you ask. They will be happy to answer your questions, and will want to get as much information as they can from you and your child at this first meeting so that they can plan with you and your child what help you might need. This is an important time to ask any questions and to make sure that you understand what is being said to you.
When they have spoken to you, they might suggest:
- Different forms of therapy
- Medication (though this is not common)
- The number of appointments your child will need. One or two might be enough – or sometimes your child will need weekly appointments for a few weeks
- The CAMHS team may suggest that your child needs to go in to hospital – but this is rare – in which case make sure you understand the reasons why and where you will need to go.
How to understand mental health problems and how can I help my child?
One of the difficulties with mental health problems is that they can affect children and young people, and their families, in different ways and can last for different lengths of time. Mental health problems can also be hard to recognize, because the person suffering does not look different, and may also find it very difficult to talk about what they are feeling.
Because mental health problems are not as obvious as physical problems, it is really important that when you first meet someone from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service that you:
Ask them any questions you might have about why your child has been asked to meet with the CAMHS team.
Ask them to explain about the mental health problem your child may have and how this might affect them.
Tell them anything – that you might have noticed about your child and for how long – this will help the CAMHS team to understand what is happening and what help your child might need.
Tell them about the things that you are most concerned about.
Do not feel worried or embarrassed or even silly that some of the things bothering you seem small – staff in CAMHS are trained to listen and consider everything and will not think you are being silly.
What are my and my child’s rights?
There are some important things that you can expect:
- Confidentiality – the person seeing you and your child should explain how and with whom any information you give might be shared
- Consent – the person seeing you should make sure that you and your child agree with the help they are suggesting and explain the possible choices if you do not agree
- Your needs – for example, if you or your family need help from an interpreter, or want to bring a trusted friend with you to appointments, or want information to be shared with you in a certain way, (e.g., written to take away with you) you should let the CAMHS staff know and they should try and organise this
- Complaints – if you are not happy with the help you have received, you should tell the CAMHS staff. All CAMHS have complaints procedures and you should be told what these are if you ask for them.
- Access to Information -all clients have a right to know what information is held about them, except for a few very restricted reasons. You may informally ask your worker to show you your own records. Or you will find information about the formal procedure available at the Centre.
What is a CAMHS General Manager?
A CAMHS general manager is responsible, with the Lead Clinician, for maintaining the standard of the service, for implementing the Trust’s policies and procedures, for performance management, for planning and developing new services and for managing budgets.
What is a Counsellor?
Counselling is basically a chance for you to talk through your problems/ anxieties/ emotions with a trained counsellor, who plays a supportive role, and may sometimes provide practical advice on problem solving.
This way of working may be useful for Low self-esteem issues, bereavement, relationship issues, work and study worries, anger, stress, and mild to moderate depression and anxiety.
What is a Primary Mental Health Worker?
Primary Mental Health Workers may come from a variety of backgrounds e.g. social work, nursing, counselling. They work with children and young people who are experiencing emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. The idea being that these workers will work with children and young people at the early stages of their difficulties. A large part of their work is providing consultation to professionals who are already working with a child e.g. a teacher.
What is a Family Therapist?
Family therapists help family members find constructive ways to help each other. They work in ways that acknowledge the contexts of people’s families and other relationships, sharing and respecting individuals’ different perspectives, beliefs, views and stories, and exploring possible ways forward.
What is a Clinical Psychologist?
Psychologists are trained to understand behaviour, relationships and emotions and assess these using psychometric tests if they feel this would be useful. Psychologists are able to offer a range of therapies for difficulties such as phobias, eating disorders, depression, anxieties and relationship difficulties. They can also offer parenting advice and family therapy.
What is a Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist?
Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists spend a large part of their training understanding infant behaviour and early relationships, and recognising the impact of early experiences on later life and relationships. They work mainly with children and teenagers in 1:1 therapy, and see parents / carers to support the individual therapy the young person is having. Psychotherapists usually provide once-weekly, long-term work with young people, and in addition, liase with schools, do detailed assessments, case reviews and some joint work with social services. In therapy, the psychotherapist aims to provide an environment in which the child or young person can play and enquire, and through the therapist-young person relationship, the young person can begin to make sense of their experiences.
What is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist?
A child and adolescent psychiatrist is a medically qualified doctor who specialises in understanding and working with mental health difficulties that children and young people experience. A large part of their work involves identifying what the difficulties are, understanding what may have caused them to develop, and giving advice about what may help. Psychiatrists are also able to recommend and prescribe medication.
What is a CAMHS Nurse?
A CAMHS nurse is a qualified nurse who has specialised in the area of child and adolescent mental health. Some nurses may have additional training in particular therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Nursing is about helping people back to health. We aim to increase mental health and general resilience, either with a short term adjustment problem or more enduring difficulties. This involves working with the child or young person and their family, which relies on good engagement and communication skills. We will also work with, where appropriate, other agencies central to the child, for example school or Children’s Social Care (CSC). CAMHS nurses have been trained to recognise and identify signs which may be connected to mental health difficulties and they are able to offer a wide range of therapies / interventions to families whose child(ren) are experiencing emotional or behavioural difficulties. CAMHS nurses work closely with their colleagues in the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) and can offer joint working with these CAMHS professionals where necessary.