Children and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are made up of specialist teams offering assessment and treatment to children and young people up to age 18 who have emotional, behavioural or mental health problems.
We know that being told that you or someone close to you has a mental health condition can be difficult. That's why we've produced a simple guide to our services which explains who we are and what we do. It will also tell you how to access our services and what to expect when you come to us for your first appointment. Further information is also available on the page below.
We are part of the National Health Service (NHS) and provide services across the South East. We help children and young people and their families and carers when someone is experiencing emotional wellbeing or mental health difficulties.
We are asked to see people when someone is worried that they are finding things more difficult than usual.
The person who is worried about you may be a parent or carer, teacher, doctor, or someone else who knows you well. Being asked to help you is often called a referral. Don’t worry if you’ve been referred, it just means we are offering you extra support.
All of us are specially trained to help you with things like the thoughts inside your head, the way you are feeling and the way you are behaving. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours affect each other and we will help you understand how and why.
Some of our teams focus on working with particular groups of young people including those with learning disabilities or who are looked after.
You can talk to a GP, teacher or social worker about getting an appointment with us - known as making a referral - if you think you need specialist support.
You can also approach us yourself by giving us a call on 0300 304 0050, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Our trained mental health staff will talk to you about the issues you are having and how we, or one of our partner organisations, may be able to help.
Alternatively, you can fill out a simple referral forrm and send it back to us. The form asks some questions about you, or the person you are worried about, to help us find out a bit about you and the difficulties you are experiencing. Once we receive this information someone will be in touch to discuss how we may be able to help you.
Because there are lots of people who need our help you may have to wait a short time before you are offered an appointment. We try to see people within four weeks of receiving the referral. How long you have to wait will depend on how many people we’re seeing in your area.
If we can help you we will contact you and ask you to come to see us at one of our clinics for what we call a Choice appointment. If you would prefer to see us somewhere else, like at school, doctor’s surgery, or location that’s easy for you to get to, we can arrange this.