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young people

Answers to some common questions about our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

What is CAMHS?
The term ‘CAMHS ‘ stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. The job of CAMHS is to promote positive emotional health and resilience in children, young people and families referred to us.
What is mental health?
Mental health, just like our physical health, can be good or bad. Having good mental health means that you can make the most of your potential; cope with life; and play a full part in your family, school or workplace, community, and among friends. Mental health doesn’t always stay the same. It changes as circumstances change, and as you move through the different stages of life.
Will people think I'm mad if I go to CAMHS?
Some young people feel uncomfortable seeing CAMHS because they’re worried that people might think they’re mad. The human mind is a unique, complex and sensitive thing that can sometimes need extra care and attention. This is when your feelings or behaviour have got in the way of day to day life. One in ten young people will go through problems with their mental health and wellbeing. You are not alone.
Do CAMHS see all children that have emotional issues?
CAMHS is a specialist service for children with mental illnesses or very complex emotional difficulties. Some children and young people, with less complex emotional problems, can be helped by other support services, such as the Multi-Agency Support Teams (MAST).
Do CAMHS see children that self-harm straight away?
If you are under 16 and have self-harmed, or feel that you can’t prevent yourself from self-harming, the Emergency Department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital is the place to go. Children and young people attending the Emergency Department under these circumstances will be admitted to a hospital ward, before being assessed by one or two CAMHS professionals. This is usually the same day or the next day, depending on when CAMHS is notified.

If you are 16 or over you need to go to Accident and Emergency at the Northern General Hospital.

The NHS Choices website has more information and links about self-harm.

How do I get an appointment to see CAMHS?
The first step is usually to speak to your GP. They’ll ask you to tell them a bit about the kind of problems you’re experiencing so that they can think about what sort of help you might need. This might involve them arranging for you to have an appointment with CAMHS. This is called being ‘referred’ to CAMHS.

Some people feel nervous about going to their GP. Visit Doc Ready for help and advice on preparing to see your GP.

Is there anything I can do while I wait?
There are lots of websites and helplines that offer information and support.
Who will come with me to my appointment?
It is often useful for your family or carers to be involved in the process. You can talk to CAMHS staff about who you would like to come to appointments with you and whether you would like to speak to staff on your own.
Who will I see?
There are lots of different professions in CAMHS. Each service is different, but staff might include: doctors, nurses, psychologists, family therapists, arts psychotherapists and primary mental health workers.
What sort of things will CAMHS do to help me?
CAMHS can offer a range of different treatments. These include different types of talking therapies or taking medicine. Which options are open to you will depend on what sort of problems you are experiencing. Your CAMHS clinician will discuss this fully with you and take your point of view into account when deciding a plan of action with you.
Will people find out I'm seeing CAMHS?
There are strict rules about sharing your information. CAMHS is a confidential service; people are only told what they need to know in order to help you, and usually your permission is needed to do this. Sometimes when CAMHS workers are worried about your safety, they may have to tell certain people certain things about you. Keeping you safe is extremely important, and sometimes the only way to do this is to involve other people – sometimes parents, sometimes professionals from other services.
How long will I be with CAMHS?
This depends on the kind of problems you’re experiencing. Some people only need to see CAMHS a couple of times, others will see CAMHS for several months and some may see CAMHS for a year or more.
Where are the CAMHS teams?
The CAMHS teams are based on two sites in Sheffield: the Beighton team is at the Becton Centre, near Crystal Peaks; and the Centenary team is at Centenary House, near Tesco on Infirmary Road in Upperthorpe. Where you are seen depends on which GP practice you attend.
Do I have to stay overnight?
It is only the most ill children and young people, meeting very strict criteria, that would be admitted to our inpatient service for overnight stays.
Are children placed on adult psychiatric wards?
No! Everyone under 16 can be seen at children’s services. We have The Becton Centre for Children & Young People, a residential unit for 10 to 18 year-olds.
What about children who are in care?
Children and young people in care are seen by a specialist team called MAPS (Multi-Agency Psychological Service) for Looked After Children, which is based at Centenary House.
Is CAMHS available out-of-hours?
Yes. There is a procedure in place that makes sure professionals working with CAMHS patients are able to access advice from psychiatrists outside of office hours.
Do children and young people have a say in CAMHS?
We’re very interested to hear what young people think about the service. We regularly ask people about their experiences of us using questionnaires, and we provide a suggestions box at both our community bases.

We are also working with Chilypep (Children and Young People’s Empowerment Charity) and a group they run called STAMP to make sure that young people can have a say in CAMHS and around mental health in general.

STAMP is a group for young people aged 14-25 who have been affected by mental health or used mental health services. Chilypep supports STAMP members to have a say around mental health, using their own experiences to improve mental health services, including CAMHS.

For more information about Chilypep and STAMP visit the Chilypep website or you can find them on Facebook and Twitter:

Chilypep Facebook page
STAMP Facebook page
Chilypep on Twitter
STAMP on Twitter

Can I still get CAMHS if I've been in trouble with the law?
Yes. There are CAMHS health workers who are based in Youth Offending teams who make sure there is a link between the services.

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