What’s CAMHS Like?

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  • People often get worried about coming to their first session at CAMHS: it’s normal to be anxious about meeting new people and not knowing what to expect.  We hope we can make a good first impression with you.  We promise not to judge you and we will aim to take things at a pace that is comfortable for you.

  • At the moment we don’t take referrals directly from young people (sorry, it is something we are working towards though).  If you want to access CAMHS you will need to ask a professional to refer you.  This might be your GP, your Social Worker, a teacher or School Nurse.

  • When you are sent an appointment we will send you information on where you need to come and how to get there.

  • Most children find that CAMHS helps by a mixture of talking listening and trying out different ideas about what helps.  Talking can help you to make sense of what is going on for you and CAMHS can give you and your family some practical advice on how to move forwards.  Some people also need medication to help them to feel better.

    Very occasionally, we might think that more intense support is needed and then we might arrange for a stay in hospital.

  • National research tells us that the average number of sessions that people have at CAMHS is 11.  Of course some have much less (e.g. one session) and some have many more.  Sessions may be weekly, fortnightly or may be more spaced out.  When you and your CAMHS worker have a good, shared understanding of what the difficulties are, they will be able to tell you about how many sessions are likely to be needed to help you to feel better.

  • Session usually last between 50 minutes and one hour.  Some sessions are longer depending on the therapy approach being used.  Of course, you can use as much or as little of your session as you want to.

  • The short answer is ‘no’.  Mental health is about how you think and feel and how you manage life.  Mental health is as important as your physical health.  Being emotionally and mentally healthy will help you to make the most of your potential and make the most out of your life.

  • At CAMHS we are all committed to listening to children, young people and families without judging.  We hope that we will find you a good match of worker.  However, sometimes young people and families decide that they would like to work with someone different.  If this is the case for you, feel free to talk to your worker about a change of therapist.  We won’t take it personally and it won’t affect your care: we want to provide a service that is best for you.

    If you don’t feel like you can talk to your worker directly then there are a few options:

    • Call to speak with one of our Clinical Leads
      • Jo Potier – 0151 293 3662
      • Vicky Killen (Sefton) – 0151 285 4023
    • Ask someone you trust to speak with your worker or one of our Clinical Leads
    • Contact our Patient & Family Support Team on 0151 252 5374, 0151 252 5161 or email them

    The Patient & Family Support Team are also the people to contact if you ever have a complaint or compliment about the service that you have received.

  • If you are under 16, your parents are legally responsible for you and so we need to ask them before we can help you.  In fact, sometimes it can be really helpful for parents/carers to be involved as we might be able to help them to understand you and support you better.

    There are some rare situations where your parent/carers might not need to be told: your worker will discuss this with you.

    If you are 16 or over then your legal rights change and you have the final decisions about your healthcare.  Ultimately, it is your decision about who to tell.  Again, we often find it is helpful to involve parents/carers.

  • If you are under 16 we would like to meet with your parents/cares and you to start with.  It may be that after that then we will see you on your own.  Often, young people find it helpful to have someone waiting for them in the waiting room when their session is over.

    If you are over 16 it is your choice about who you involve in your CAMHS journey.

“1 in 4 of everyone in the UK suffers from mental health difficulties at some point”