The role of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services

A while ago I was writing here about my concerns regarding depression in children. As a sufferer(since I was a child)  I am always on the look out for any signs in my two little girls. My youngest is too little but every now and then I am scared that my eldest will go on the same path with me. She seems to worry a lot about everything and she has moments when she just wants to be alone way too often. While researching about depression I came across CAMHS and I was happy to see how it helps parents and children through this bad illness that is depression.


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) offer assistance to children and young people who are displaying behavioural, emotional or mental health problems.

Part of the National Health Service (NHS), CAMHS operates across the UK and is made up of a wide network of professionals, from nurses and social workers, to clinical psychologists and those working in substance misuse worker jobs. People are usually given an appointment through their family doctor but may also be referred through a school teacher, health visitor or social worker.

What does CAMHS do?

Behavioural, emotional or mental health difficulties cover a wide spectrum of conditions and illnesses, and include depression, self-harming, eating disorders, violent behaviour and self-esteem issues, to name but a few. In serious cases, isolated young people can be driven to suicide. A young person may be or have already been diagnosed with serious mental health issues, such as schizophrenia, or developmental disorders, such as autism.

Suffering from conditions such as those listed above can be distressing not only for the child or young person, but also for family members who can find the situation confusing, frustrating or upsetting.

Therefore, CAMHS offers comprehensive services which involve family members where appropriate.

Waiting times and access to assessment appointments and treatment varies, depending on where in the UK you live. There are also geographical variations regarding the transition from CAMHS to adult services; in some parts of the UK this happens at the age of 16, in others it is at 18 (and can be dependent on whether the young person is in full-time education).

Supporting adolescents through this potentially scary and unsettling transition period is another objective of CAMHS, which works with young people and their family to guide them through the process towards using adult services.

What happens at the first appointment?

When a child or young person is first seen by a CAMHS professional, they are assessed, diagnosed (if their condition was previously unknown) and, if required, referred for treatment. This might involve counselling or medical support within the NHS.

CAMHS is supported through various services and organisations, such as YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity that works to highlight and improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. It also campaigns for CAMHS to receive adequate NHS funding, to allow the services to continue.

I think that the service they provide is incredible! There are so many other countries where depression is not treated with such importance and because of it kids withdraw themselves away from the world and kids their or  even worse.

What is your opinion about the service they provide? Would you get in touch with CAMHS if you had concerns about your children?



Disclosure: This post has been written in collaboration with CAHMS.

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