What is CAMHS?

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service or CAMHS for short, is a service which supports children and young people when they are experiencing mental health problems.

What services do CAMHS provide?

CAMHS services are made up of different health care professionals.

Psychiatrists – doctors who have trained to help people with mental health problems.

Clinical Psychologists – trained to help people with mental health problems. Psychology is the study of the human mind and behaviours.

Mental health nurses and children’s nurses, therapists, social workers, support workers.

All team members have received training in mental health at different levels and have experience of working with children and young people.

There are several different teams at CAMHS across Lincolnshire. Most people are seen by the core team. There is also a crisis team, eating disorder team and a children’s and young person’s mental health hospital called Ash Villa.

Who is it for?

It is for children and young people who experience mental health problems. Mental health problems can be common with as many as one in three children in the classroom experiencing a mental health problem. There are lots of different types of mental health problems including:

Eating disorders – are very serious mental health conditions.

Anorexia – this is where people try and keep their body weight low because they are very unhappy with how they feel and look.

Bulimia – this is where people lose control over their eating. They often eat large amounts of food and then vomit or take tablets to go to the toilet to try and lose weight.

Self harm – this is where people hurt themselves because they are very unhappy.

Psychosis – where people experience, believe or view things differently to other people.

Managing feelings – looking at ways to cope better to manage their feelings.

What sort of treatments are there?

If you are going to see CAMHS for the first time they will do an assessment with you and your parent or carer. This will involve lots of questions to find out what kind of treatment would be suitable for you.

Most of the treatments involve talking therapies where you would work with a member of staff or in a small group to look at how you can feel better and stay feeling better. Sometimes medication is used to help treat mental health problems often at the same time as talking therapies.

How do I get help/who do I speak to?

If you are worried about a mental health problem, it is important you talk to someone about how you are feeling. You may think that no one will understand how you feel, but most people have experienced mental health problems at some point in their lives. Can you speak to a parent, relative, teacher, school nurse or social worker? They will be able to help you to refer to the CAMHS team if this is the type of support you need.

If you are unsure what to say there is an online check list called CAMHS ready which will help you to make a list of all the things that you are experiencing so that it will be easier to explain to someone else. The list can be printed or sent using e-mail or phone.

If you would like support from CAMHS you need a professional to refer on your behalf. Speak to your parents/ or carer about making a GP appointment or talk to your teacher or social worker for advice and they will contact CAMHS.

If you feel that you cannot speak to anyone right now, there are young peoples groups that are available just to listen to you. Some of these organisations offer on-line support as well as phone support.

Don’t suffer in silence!

www.kooth.com – offer young people support and counselling on-line.

ChildLine – freephone 0800 1111 (24 hours a day) www.childline.org.uk (offers confidential telephone counselling service for any child with a problem.

Get Connected – freephone 0800 8084994 ( 7 days 1pm-11pm) www.getconnected.org.uk (free confidential telephone and email helpline to find young people the best help whatever the problem).

B-EAT Youth helpline 0845 6347650 (Monday to Friday evening from 4:30pm to 8:30pm and Saturdays 1:00-4:30) Email fyp@b-eat.co.uk online community www.b-eat.co.uk (confidential advice for young people with an eating disorder).

What happens if a referral is made?

  • A referral is a letter from a professional such as your GP explaining why you need help from CAMHS.
  • Once your referral has been accepted someone will contact you, your parent/carer to make an appointment for your initial assessment.  This assessment can usually take up to an hour and half.
  • At this assessment you will meet a CAMHS practitioner who will complete the assessment with you. They will talk to you about why you have been referred and ask you about your current difficulties and what you would like support with.
  • They will also ask for some background history about you.  Try using the online checklist prior to your appointment so that you have some of this information ready.
  • Once the assessment has been completed the practitioner will speak to you about whether they think CAMHS is the right service for you or not. If not, they may signpost you to other services that may be able to help.
  • If CAMHS can support you, they will discuss the type of support that is available and will agree with you what the main issue is that you need support with.
  • A care plan will then be written with you which will identify the main issues/concerns and risks. The plan will show how you will be supported by CAMHS. You will be able to decide what goes on in your care plan by discussing what options are available with the practitioner. It will acknowledge yours, your parent or carer’s and the clinician’s responsibilities. You will get a copy of this care plan.
  • The practitioner will go through a confidentiality form which will tell us who you would like us to speak to whilst you’re involved in the service.
  • You will be asked if you would like to receive text reminders for your future appointments.
  • Following this appointment you will be placed on our waiting list and will be contacted when a worker is available to see you.

Where is the CAMHS service?

In Lincolnshire there are services in Lincoln, Louth, Boston, Grimsby and Grantham. If you are referred to the CAMHS service you will be seen at the service that is easiest for you to get to.