CAMHS stands for child and adolescent mental health services.
In the UK around 1 in 10 children and young people have problems with their mental health or emotional well-being at some stage. This means that you are not alone, and many of these young people will have appointments with CAMHS.
If you think you need to see someone from CAMHS the first step is to talk to someone. This could be your teacher, school nurse, social worker or your GP. They will ask you how you are feeling and then decide whether you should speak to CAMHS, they can help you with this. You or your parent/carer can also refer you into CAMHS.
Because we have the word 'mental' in our name, lots of people get worried when they find out they have been referred. There is a lot of stigma about the word 'mental' and it can mean lots of different things. We use the word as term to describe all the things that go in your mind, not to label you in anyway. To us, mental health means the same as physical health – we want you look after your mind as you would the rest of your body.
This can vary, but we will always try to see you within 4-6 weeks. We know that it can be stressful waiting for your appointment so that's why we have built this website, to help you in the meantime and to tell you not to worry – you are not alone. If things have changed since you were referred and you are feeling much more upset or distressed you should speak to your parents or carers or the person who referred you and ask them to contact the CAMHS clinic to explain that things are getting more difficult for you.
There are loads of organisations who can offer you advice and support on almost any issue, we have included links of all of those in this site. Also, don't be afraid to speak to the person who referred you, or a friend, they will be able to help you in the meantime. If things have changed since you were referred, ask someone to telephone the CAMHS clinic for you if you do not want to do it yourself. There will be a CAMHS clinician who will be able to speak to you / call you back to give you / your parents / your carers advice about how to support you while you wait.
Most of the time it's really important that your family or carers come with you to your appointments, but sometimes we can arrange for you to have an appointment with a teacher, social worker or family support worker.
You don't need to do anything before your appointment – just remember that we are here to help you, so try not to get stressed about it. You can wear anything that you feel comfortable in – our staff aren't dressed in suits so we wouldn't expect you to be!