FAQ's

  1. How can I refer a child or young person to CAMHS?
  2. Who works in CAMHS?
  3. What will happen at the first appointment?
  4. What if the child or young person does not want to attend the appointment?
  5. Are there any self help books I can suggest the young person and their family read?
  6. If a child or young person I am working with is suicidal what do I do and who do I call?

1. How can I refer a child or young person to CAMHS?

Referrals are accepted from a range of professionals including colleagues in primary health care, social services, educational welfare officers, school doctors, school nurses, behavioural support workers, and educational psychologists, paediatrics and adult mental health teams. For more details go to Referrals for CAMHS page.

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2. 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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3. What will happen at the first appointment?

The first appointment will last for about one hour. The aim is to get to know the young person and their family and understand their problems.  Various questions will be asked to get to know the family and this will include looking for strengths that can help them with their 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 the families needs. We may put the family in touch with other agencies.

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4. What if the child or young person does not want to attend the 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 meeting.

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 the first appointment’ for further information.

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5. Are there any self help books I can suggest the young person and their family read?

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

If you are interested, ask at your local library for details.

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6. If a child or young person I am working with is suicidal what do I do and who do I call?

You will need to contact the child's G.P. as soon as possible to arrange for a full assessment of the young persons’ mental health needs.  The 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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