CAMHS stands for child and adolescent mental health services. We help children and young people aged 0-18 years, and in some cases up to the age of 25, with emotional and behavioural difficulties or when they are finding it hard to cope with family life, school, college or the wider world.

We also offer a variety of workshops, drop-ins and other support for all local parents and carers, regardless of whether their child is using our services – see below.

Around 1 in 10 young people in the UK has a mental health problem that needs specialist help. Many children and young people have anxieties, worries or difficult feelings at some time while they are growing up and these are quite normal. With the support of their families and the people around them, they pass with no lasting effect or need for specialist involvement.

But when their worries or problems do not go away or begin to interfere with their everyday lives – for example, when they cannot eat or sleep, can’t study, can’t cope or lose interest in friends or school – that’s when we can provide specialist help and advice.

We also work within our service and the community to help promote positive mental wellbeing and build emotional resilience, better empowering young people to withstand the inevitable ups and downs of life.

What we do

We are a team of specialist professionals from the NHS and other local organisations trained to support children and their families with a wide range of issues. These include:

  • Anxiety, worry, exam stress and sleeping problems
  • Depression, low mood, self-harm or suicidal thoughts
  • Relationships difficulties with family members or at school
  • Attachment and bonding issues
  • Coping with change
  • Eating problems
  • Challenging behaviours, drugs and alcohol
  • Hearing voices
  • Toilet training and temper tantrums

We work with children with mild to moderate emotional and behavioural difficulties as well as more severe mental health issues. We provide a wide range of evidence-based NHS-approved services – from counselling and talking therapies, through to more intensive treatments and medication where appropriate – so that we can make sure your child is getting the right support for their needs.

We also have teams of experts who help children with eating disorders, learning disabilities or additional needs such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). And we help their families too, for example providing support on understanding autism, coming to terms with a diagnosis and special groups for siblings.

Whichever service you use, we’ll make sure your child and you get the best help.

See what parents of children and young people who used our First Steps service found helpful.

Groups for parents and carers

Parenting is immensely rewarding but can be challenging too. We run a range of groups offering advice and support around a variety of parenting issues, covering all ages from 0-18 years. Many of these are open to all local parents and carers, even if your child is not using our services. Recent examples include:

  • Your baby and you
  • Understanding your child’s development
  • Developing strong relationships
  • Encouraging positive choices and behaviours
  • Dealing with teenagers’ emotions
  • Dealing with risky behaviours
  • Taking care of yourself as a caregiver
  • Positive parenting for children with learning disabilities
  • Dealing with a diagnosis, such as autism spectrum disorder
  • The teenage years and learning disabilities

Lots of parents say that, as well as learning new ideas, they enjoy meeting others, sharing experiences, and supporting one another.

For more information on upcoming workshops, group sessions and drop-ins, see our events calendar or talk to the CAMHS Alliance professional providing your care.

Watch parents from ParentChannelTV talking about parents’ groups.

Listen to children and young people talk about our siblings’ group.

How we help