A referral is a request from a doctor, school nurse or social worker, for CAMHS to see a child or young person and their family.

When might a child be referred?

If you have concerns about your child's mental health and emotional wellbeing, getting advice from a professional can help you to understand whether your child might need specialist support. Either your doctor, your child's school nurse, or their social worker if they have one, are all good places to start; they will ask you about the problems your child is having so that they can advise you on what sort of help is needed. If they think CAMHS are the best people to help, then they will ask for us to see you and your child.

It could also be that somebody else suggests that your child might need extra help, because they've noticed behaviours that cause them concern.

What happens after a child is referred?

When we receive a referral, we will contact you to let you know where your child's first appointment will be, when it is and who they will meet. The whole family are invited to the first appointment, so that we all have a chance to talk about what's happening and agree the best way forward. It’s important to us that when you see us at CAMHS you feel you are able to ask questions about anything that you are unsure of; this might be to better understand what we do as a service, who the different workers are, the treatments or therapies your child is receiving, or what’s going to happen next in your child’s care. We will always be happy to answer your questions; and if our answer isn’t clear to you, then we want you to ask us again.

It is important that you are aware that at the age of 16 your child has a legal right to access our services independently and confidentially. For under 16's there are also some rare situations where your child may access our services without your knowledge. Read more about confidentiality below.