FAQ's

  1. How can my child get referred to CAMHS?
  2. What will happen in the first appointment?
  3. Do all the family need to attend the first appointment?
  4. What can I do if my child does not want to attend an appointment?
  5. Are there any self help books I can read?
  6. My child is suicidal. What do I do and who do I call?
  7. Who else can I talk to?
  8. Can I ask more questions?
  9. Before you see us
  10. Who works in CAMHS?

1. How can my child get referred to CAMHS?

Referrals are accepted from a range of professionals including primary health care workers, social services, educational welfare officers, school doctors, school nurses, behavioural support workers, and educational psychologists, paediatrics and adult mental health teams. If you are concerned that your child may need to be referred to CAMHS, talk to one of the professionals in the list above about your concerns.

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2. What will happen in the first appointment?

The first appointment will last for about one hour. The aim is to get to know you and understand your problems and work out with you ways of dealing with them. Various questions will be asked to get to know you and this will include looking for strengths that can help you with your situation.

Sometimes one appointment is sufficient to resolve difficulties, although usually people can plan on attending more than once. Depending on the nature of the problem various approaches may be suggested, such as individual therapy for a child or young person, family therapy, individual work with a parent, and sometimes medication. The aim is to tailor a package of help appropriate to your needs. We may put you in touch with other agencies.

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3. Do all the family need to attend the first appointment?

The whole family (everyone in the household) are asked to attend the first appointment. This helps us gain an understanding of your situation and it enables us to carry out a thorough assessment. Staff are happy to meet with young people, children or parents on their own during part of the first appointment or at a later date if this seems appropriate.

If parents feel strongly that they do not want the whole family to attend or a young person wishes to be seen on their own for the first appointment, please contact one of the professionals named in the appointment letter to discuss this.

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4. What can I do if my child does not want to attend an appointment?

It is not unusual for a young person or their family members to be worried about attending a CAMHS appointment. They might be worried about what will happen at the meeting and whether they might be blamed for problems.

Contact CAMHS and ask for an information leaflet about the service and use this to reassure the young person about what will happen at the first appointment. If the young person continues to refuse to attend, contact the service and explain the situation. It may be possible for a home visit to be organised. Please see answer to ‘What will happen at my first appointment’ for further information.

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5. Are there any self help books I can read?

Within Poole and Dorset libraries there is a Child and Family book scheme, where you can borrow self help books which contain useful information and advice that should encourage you to use and develop skills you already have. The books also provide suggestions about new ideas you may want to try to help manage your situation.

If you are interested, either ask at your local library or any local professional who works with children and families for details.

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6. My child is suicidal. What do I do and who do I call?

You will need to contact your child's G.P. as soon as possible to arrange for a full assessment of your/the young persons’ mental health needs.  Their G.P. will contact the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service on your behalf should this be deemed appropriate.  

If you feel that you/the young person is at immediate risk of harming themselves, and this is outside of the G.P’s normal working hours, then please contact the out of hours G.P. service or the Accident and Emergency Department as necessary.

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7. Who else can I talk to?

There are lots of other people outside of CAMHS, your home, school or college you can talk too. Use the local services finder at the top of each page to find other people/organisations that might be able to help.

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8. Can I ask more questions?

Don’t worry about asking questions.  We will do our best to answer them.

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9. Before you see us

Once an appointment is made for your child they will receive a confirmation letter. Attached to this will be a form called the 'Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire' which asks you questions about the difficulties your child is experiencing. There is a seperate form for both you and your child to complete.

What would be really helpful before you and your child come to the appointment, would be for you to complete the questionnaire as best you can. Don't worry if you don't know the answers any information you provide will be helpful.

Please bring the questionnaire with you on your first appointment and give it to the receptionist.

You might also find it helpful to write down things you want to say and things you want to ask before you come to your first appointment. Write your thoughts and questions down and bring them with you.

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10. Who works in CAMHS?

CAMHS is a team of professionals with a range of training and skills working with children, young people and their families. Teams are based locally and include:

  • Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
  • Nurse Therapists
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Family Therapists
  • Child and Adolescent Psychotherapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Social workers (employed by social services)

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