Who are CAMHS?
CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). We support young people aged 0-18 (or up to 24 if you have been in the care system) who are experiencing mental health difficulties and are finding it hard to cope with everyday life
Our teams are made up of a variety of professionals. Many are called CAMHS practitioners and have a nursing, social work, or support worker background. There are also Clinical Psychologists, CAMHS Psychiatrists and Peer Support Workers in each team. Peer Support Workers are people with lived experience of mental health challenges and accessing CAMHS themselves.
CAMHS Core Team
Core CAMHS is a team of trained Mental Health Practitioners and Assistant Practitioners from various clinical backgrounds including Mental Health Nurses, Social Workers, Psychologists and Psychiatrists.
This is the team you would usually see on your first visit to CAMHS.This team works with children, young people, parents & carers to assess the mental health of children and adolescents who have been identified as potentially having moderate to severe mental health needs.
To learn more about what to expect from your first appointment at CAMHS with this team click HERE.
CAMHS Crisis & Home Treatment Team
This team offers support for children and young people experiencing a mental health crisis. This includes those experiencing intense thoughts of suicide and are at risk of acting on these thoughts.
CAMHS Eating Disorder Team
This team works with children and young people presenting with an eating disorder such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia.
CAMHS Learning Disability Service
This team works with children and young people who are diagnosed with moderate to severe learning disabilities.
What we help with
Usually when we are sad, angry, stressed or worried these feelings gradually pass with time and with support from people around us e.g. family, friends, school, support workers. However, if these feelings go on for a long time and start to really affect your everyday life, then CAMHS may be able to help you.
At CAMHS we see young people with many different types of mental health difficulties such as:
- Low mood and Depression
- Anxiety, including phobia’s and obsessive thoughts and behaviours
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Self-harm and thoughts of suicide
- Eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia
How we can help
Here at CAMHS we offer what are called “care pathways”. This means that if you are experiencing a mental health difficulty and need our support, we will recommend the therapy that is likely to give you the best outcome, based on medical evidence and guidelines.
However we also recognise that everybody is different, so if you came to CAMHS it is really important that we work together with you to decide what kind of help and treatment is right for you.
These are some (but not all!) of the types of treatments offered at CAMHS.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
- Group work (DBT & CBT) delivered in a group setting with other young people.
- Eye Movement Desensitisation And Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Family work
It can be quite scary being invited to group therapy but we aim for all of our groups to be fun and engaging at CAMHS. If you are worried about coming to a group there are lots of things we can do to support you. Although the groups are a therapeutic process, it is not like coming to school and having an extra lesson! We do lots of activities and worksheets, with plenty of opportunity to practice new skills. We think of the groups as a collective process between us and you; we wouldn’t expect you to do anything that we wouldn’t be prepared to do ourselves. Also, we always welcome feedback from young people on how we can improve, so don’t be afraid to let us know.
Top 4 benefits of group therapy
- It helps you to realise you are not alone. You can meet like-minded people and make new friends
- it helps develop communication skills and social skills
- Less “pressure” than individual therapy. Some people find individual therapy too intense with the focus solely on them, however we do try to keep our groups small
- You have a safe place to learn and practice new skills, with help from other peers and the group facilitators
“I promise it's going to be ok, It's totally worth it, you're going to be so scared at the start (It's going to be expected) but if you never came you wouldn't get the benefit of the group!”- Young Person
“I felt accepted and not alone…It helped me meet new people. It was also good to learn ways to help myself in the future"- Young Person
"The techniques and ways to cope are helpful in real situations”- Young Person
"Just do it. Its extremely rewarding :) The group facilitators are good listeners and you can say anything”- Young person
If you have more questions about our service, check out our CAMHS Frequently Asked Question page to see whether they are answered here.
“Before I came to CAMHS I had been suffering with OCD and Anxiety. Dealing with upsetting OCD thoughts made me very tired, and sometimes my anxiety made it hard for me to go out and do what I wanted.
I was worried I wouldn’t be understood at CAMHS, and that the experience would be very upsetting. But the staff I met were very supportive, and I never felt judged. I was helped to understand and manage my difficulties. CAMHS helped me to develop strategies for dealing with situations that I found difficult, and I was able to build up to them with smaller, more managable goals.
The techniques I learnt at CAMHS helped me to manage situations that made me anxious, and move past unwanted thoughts.
Now I’ve been able to do what I want, and even volunteer to help others recovering from mental illness.”