NHS Tayside Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

A guide for young people and their families.

You can download a PDF of CAMHS new information leaflet here

The term, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, covers a whole range of services and supports available to you as a young person. They are there for you if you are having a difficult time with how you are feeling, how you are coping emotionally or if you are behaving in a way that is unusual for you.

CAMHS, is the name often used to refer to the more specialist part of these services. They are referred to as a specialist service because they would usually be the service to support young people with more severe or concerning emotional, behavioural or functional difficulties, such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Young people who attend to the service age between 6 and 18 and must still be on a school roll.

(If this sounds like something you need but have already left school, please contact us at The Corner). 

How are children and young people referred to CAMHS?

The first step to getting help from CAMHS is usually through a referral for assessment. The referral can come from any professional: GP, teacher, social worker.

How to prepare for your appointment?

The most important thing for any child, young person or family to know before attending an appointment at CAMHS, is that whoever you see at CAMHS wants to help you.

It’s their job to find out as much as they about you, your life, and what’s been happening recently so that they can think about where is best, who is best or what approach would be best to support you. Sometimes that might mean helping you get support from a different service.

Remember – whether you’re a young person, child, parent or carer, no one is judging you, no matter what you tell us, no matter what’s been happening.

6 Simple Steps to help you prepare for your CAMHS Appointment:

1. Write down any questions you would like to ask about CAMHS. These can be anything at all. Will you tell my parents what I say? How many appointments will I have? Will you have to contact my school? Will you have to tell anyone else about anything I say?

You might want to check out our frequently asked questions page on their website, as some of the questions you have may be answered there. 

2. Write down as much as you can about what’s been happening recently. How have you been feeling or behaving? Focus on the things that make you think you need to be seen by CAMHS. Important things for them to know include; how you’ve been sleeping, how has your mood been, how is your eating, whether or not you are still able to do the things you usually enjoy doing like seeing friends or hobbies and activities you enjoy?

3. Write down anything else you feel it would be important for them to know. Even things that happened to you a while ago or when you were little because these can have an impact on how you are doing now. This could include things like your parent separating, moving house of schools, bullying, a bereavement or loss of someone you care about.

4. Think about what might help you get the most out of your appointment with CAMHS. If talking is difficult, write things down. If the first appointment feels too difficult to do face to face, would this feel better over a video appointment or by having a chat over the phone first? Whatever you think would make it easier for you to engage with them.

5. Spend a few days before the appointment thinking about and checking in with how you are doing. We can all feel different on different days. Is everyday the same? Are some days better than others? Are some situations better/more difficult than others? Are things better at home or at school? Why do you think that is?

6. Bring something that helps you to feel comfortable. A toy, a teddy a photo, something to fidget with, a book or magazine to read whilst you wait to distract yourself. Appointments can be difficult but the main thing is for you to feel comfortable.

To find out more information about NHS Tayside Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), please visit their website here