If I am referred to CAMHS....does that mean I’m crazy?
Because we have the word ‘mental’ in our name, lots of people get worried about coming to CAMHS because of the stigma attached to the word “mental”.
But to us, mental health means the same as physical health – and we want you to look after your mind as you would the rest of your body.
We use the word mental to describe all the things that go on in the mind and to describe feelings.
It may help you to watch this video, which we co-produced with some of our young people.
It would help me to hear from someone with CAMHS experience...
One of our Peer Support Workers, Becky, helped us make a video to describe how she found her time at CAMHS and what happened during those initial stages. Peer Support Workers are paid members of CAMHS staff, who share their lived experience of mental health challenges with service users. They are an integral part of our team.
How do I get referred to CAMHS?
The first step is usually to speak to your doctor, teacher or any other professional in your life.
They’ll ask you to tell them a bit about the kind of problems you’re experiencing so they can think about what sort of help you might need. If they think you need CAMHS, they will make a referral on your behalf.
If we think we are the right place to help, we will offer what is called an “assessment” appointment. This appointment is usually around six weeks after we have been asked to see you – unless there were reasons to believe you couldn’t wait this long and you need to be seen straight away.
Where will my appointments be?
We have a number of CAMHS bases in the county.
These are in Lincoln, Grantham, Boston and Louth.
Details and pictures of our CAMHS bases are on THIS PAGE of the website.
How long will my appointments be?
First appointments with CAMHS are usually around 90 minutes.
Any other appointments will depend on the person you see, and the type of support you need.
What sort of things will you ask me at my first appointment?
Remember, this first appointment is a chance to meet a CAMHS practitioner and for you to as ask us questions about what we do and how we can help.
Some of the things we ask you might include
- Who you live with, and how things are in your family
- What life was like when you were younger
- What School or College is like for you
- How you would describe some of your difficulties, and when you believe they started
- What you would like to change by coming to CAMHS
- What activities or interests you have and enjoy
- Who are the supportive people in your life
We understand that speaking about your thoughts and feelings can feel really scary at first – we will try and help you as much as we can.
It is also important to let you know you will never be forced to share everything with us that you don’t want to.
In your first appointment, you will be asked to complete some forms or questionnaires. These can help you and the CAMHS practitioner make sense of what is going on, and the best way to support you. When you start to feel better, we can look back at them to see how you are improving and the excellent progress you are making.
Will my family / carer come to my appointments?
If you’re under 16, it’s often really helpful for your family or carers to be involved in the process as they sometimes know you the best and can support your outside of appointments.
However, we also understand that there are some things you may not feel comfortable sharing with them, so we will always give you the opportunity to be seen alone.
If you’re 16+, you can talk to CAMHS staff about who you would like to come to the appointments with you.
Will you share everything I say with my family / carers?
We will not automatically share everything with your parents/ carer, if this is something you do not want.
The only exception to this would be if we were really concerned about your safety, or the safety of another person.
In this instance we would have to tell other people in order to keep you safe!
Who else will know I am seeing CAMHS?
When we first meet with you, we will go through something called “confidentiality form” together.
This is where you tell us if there are any other professionals in your life (e.g. school, support worker) you think it would be helpful for us to speak to.
We would always ask you first, and would not do this without your permission. The only time we would do so without this was if we were worried about your safety, or the safety of another person.
A lot of people worry that their friends will find out they are seeing someone from CAMHS.
Your friends won’t know unless you want them to!
Will I see the same person each time?
After your assessment appointment, your CAMHS team gets together and thinks about who is their best clinician to support you.
It is important you are matched with the right person, with the right training and qualities to help you.
All appointments after your initial assessment would usually be with the same worker, as we recognise it is really important you build a relationship.
This will only change if your care plan changes and we would always discuss this with you.
How often will you need to see me?
The frequency of your appointments varies on the type of problem you are having and will depend on what you agree with your CAMHS Practitioner.
Often appointments may be fortnightly or weekly, but as things start to improve the frequency of your appointments will become less and less until you no longer feel the need to come to CAMHS.
If at any time you feel that you need to see CAMHS more often, we would talk and agree this together.
Will my future (Jobs and Career) be affected if I get help from CAMHS?
Did you know that around 1 in 10 young people experience mental health difficulties?
This does not make you abnormal and will not stop you from getting a job or career in the future.
Just like school and College, it is your choice whether you tell an employer about your current or past mental health difficulties. There are also lots of employment laws that protect you from being unfairly treated or discriminated in the workplace if you choose to tell them.
Please bear in mind that the only employer that will directly ask for details of your mental health history, and take this into account if you apply for a job with them, would be the Armed Forces.
If I come to CAMHS will I be diagnosed?
When you visit your GP or doctor about a physical health problem they will talk to you about your symptoms, how long you have had them and what effect this is having on your life. Similarly CAMHS practitioners will talk to you and your family in order to better understand your difficulties and the effect this is having on your life. Some CAMHS practitioner may also refer to these problems as “symptoms.”
If you came to CAMHS you may talk about diagnosis, which simply describes a set of symptoms or problems that often occur together. However, it is important to remember that not everyone’s problems fit neatly into one diagnosis and that things can change in your life quite quickly. It is also important to remember that having a diagnosis wouldn’t affect or change any treatment agreed here at CAMHS; CAMHS are there to help you work through problems and difficulties, regardless of how they are labelled.
Young people have lots of different thoughts about diagnosis. Some young people don’t like being labelled and/or feel that a diagnosis makes them feel quite hopeless, whereas others feel like having a name for something helps.
If you’ve got any questions about diagnosis, please talk about this with your CAMHS worker