CAMHS Support Advice for Parents & Carers


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CAMHS Support Advice for Parents

A good first step is to talk to a professional who knows your child well. This might be a teacher, social worker or GP. They will be able to advise (and can get further specialist advice if necessary) about the support that is available and will often be able to refer your child direct to CAMHS should that prove necessary.

In many cases a referral to CAMHS might not be necessary and the professional will be able to offer advice, treatment or tell you about other services that may be able to help you.

If you think that you or a child or young person that you care for needs help with their emotional or mental health needs, please seek help as soon as possible. 

In an emergency, you should contact your GP for further advice and support

What happens after a referral is made?

All referrals are checked by a CAMHS worker who will decide whether the referral is:

  • Accepted: You will be contacted by the service so you can tell us more about the young person and your family.  We will be able to make a decision as to whether we are the best service to meet the young person’s needs.
  • If we need further information we may ask the person who referred you for this.
  • Not accepted: If the referral is not accepted we will write to the person who made the referral.  We will explain why the referral has not been accepted.  We will offer suggestions of other services that may be able to help.  We are only able to offer suggestions from the information that has been given to us.  We will send you a copy of that letter.
  • Urgent appointment: If we need to offer you an urgent appointment we will contact you by telephone (where possible).  The appointment will usually take place within two weeks.
  • Occasionally we receive referrals that need immediate attention.  When this happens we will contact you and the referrer.  We may ask that the child or young person is taken for an immediate assessment with the CAMHS team or other services.
Most of our appointments take place at the main CAMHS bases. We also operate clinics at a variety of venues including health centres, children’s centres and GP surgeries. When we are allocating appointments we will bear in mind where you live as well as the information sent to us by referrers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do whilst my child is on the waiting list?

It can be helpful to talk to a professional who either knows your child well or knows the environment in which your child is having difficulties; for example, a school nurse for a child who is experiencing anxiety in school.

There is also a range of websites offering good ideas and advice, both directly for young people and for their parents and carers.

What can I do if my child doesn't want to attend an appointment?

Discussing the referral and your concerns openly with your child or young person and trying to answer their questions as sympathetically as you can will help reduce tension and reassure them that you are concerned for their wellbeing.

What if my child's problems get worse whilst we are on the waiting list?

If you are concerned that you may have to wait too long because your child's problem is very serious or getting worse, you should contact the CAMHS team and let us know about the change in circumstances. Alternatively you may wish to discuss your concerns with the person making the referral. If necessary they will be able to contact CAMHS and ask for the referral to be treated with more urgency.

What is Children & Young People's IAPT?

Children and Young People’s IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) is an exciting national initiative that we are  part of which aims to improve children and young people’s access to specialist mental health care. Lancashire Care Trust joined the programme since in 2013 and we are part of the Northern Collaborative. Our CAMHS staff have received enhanced training to develop our services and provide the best possible care to children and young people. All teams are engaging children, young people and families in meaningful participation.

Your views or Complaints

In order to make sure that we give you the best service possible, we are always interested to know what you feel is good or bad about the treatment and support that you receive whist at CAMHS, so that we can make the improvements you suggest. Listening to what you, your family and carers say about us is therefore very important so we will ask you to fill-out questionnaires to make sure that the service is working for you and that you’re happy with the service that we provide.

If you have any concerns or complaints you can also tell a member of staff so that we can discuss the issue with you and address the problems you have. You can also contact the Trust’s Complaints Department.