What can I expect?
CAMHS stands for children and adolescent mental health service, they are part of the NHS and help young people with their mental health and emotional difficulties. It can be quite daunting to go through the formal assessment. It is likely you and your parents or guardian will be invited to come along to the office, staff may come to your house, or it may occur online.
You will get a choice to speak alone with the staff or have your parents or guardian with you. It can be helpful to take a note of things you want them to know especially if you are nervous. Your parents and guardian will also have a chance to add if they have any worries about how you are.
An assessment can last different time frames but if you are feeling upset, don’t be frightened to ask for a break. The staff will understand if you feel tearful or upset. They will want to understand how you feel to give you the best advice they can.
In the assessment they may ask:
- What do you feel the problems are?
- How has your mood been lately ?
- What does it stop you doing?
- How does it make you feel?
- They will ask about sleep, your diet, your health, your family and friends, your hobbies and the things you enjoy.
- They will also ask about thoughts of not wanting to live or self harm. (This can feel really worrying but the staff will understand this is a symptom of how you feel and they might help you make a plan to feel as safe as you can. A lot of young people feel like this. )
- They will also ask your parents or guardian to share their thoughts, about how you developed growing up until the age you are now.
Following this, they may be able to give you a plan of what may help or they might want to speak to other professionals. The help you can get might be in the NHS with CAMHS or from another service. Remember the people at CAMHS are there to help in the best way they can .