CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. It’s the part of the NHS which helps children and young people who have problems with their thoughts or feelings. We can help people until they are 18.
CAHMS gave me a place to go when I felt I didn’t have anyone else to talk to. Katie, 19
How can I get help?
If you are aged between 12 and 18 years old and have a Nottinghamshire GP, you can self-refer to CAMHS. This means that you can directly approach our team to ask for help.
The telephone number is 0115 8542 299 and it is open from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You will speak to a specially trained professional who will ask you some questions and talk to you about how they can help. If you prefer, you can ask for help by completing an online self-referral form.
If you prefer you can speak to your GP, school health nurse or an adult in school who can get in touch with us by calling or writing to us. Any other professional who works with you like a social worker, counsellor or youth worker can also contact us to find out how we can help you.
Who works at CAMHS?
Most children who get help from CAMHS see one of our community teams. This normally means you will come to see us for weekly appointments at one of our bases, at a health centre or at your school.
We have lots of people working for us who can help you in different ways. These include:
- family therapists – who talk through problems with you and your family
- CAMHS social workers – who support children and families through difficult times
- family support workers – who can give advice to your parents or carers
- mental health practitioners – who support young people and their families to bring about positive change
- psychologists – experts in how people think and act
- psychiatrists – doctors who work on thoughts and feelings
- art psychotherapists – who can help you by using art and music
What happens next?
We will talk to you about what your problems are and together we will make some goals. This might be things you want to do or targets you want to reach. We will give you some treatment to help you. This might be talking through your problems, or taking medicine if you need it.
What else does CAMHS do?
As well as our community teams, we have some teams which work on other difficulties. These include:
- problems with eating
- problems with drugs or alcohol
- psychosis – when someone hears or sees things which aren’t there
- intellectual disability – when someone finds it difficult to communicate or understand things
I'm worried about how I'm feeling
We all feel worried sometimes, and that’s ok. Lots of people feel worried about exams, new experiences and things like speaking out loud in front of people.
It is also ok to feel low or sad every now and then - it is normal for our emotions to be up and down. If you feel sad or worried a lot and this doesn’t go away, so it is affecting your day to day life, you may want to speak to someone.
When to talk to someone
When worries or feeling down begins to stop you enjoying activities you usually enjoy, stop you going into school, or affect your eating and sleeping, you might find it helpful to speak with someone.
It can be hard to concentrate and remember things when you are busy and have a lot of things going on at once, but if your poor concentration and memory is affecting your life, it may be a sign you need support.
It is normal to get angry, upset, excited and really happy when different things happen. But, if you feel your behaviours and thinking is unusual or very different from your friends, speaking to someone about your feelings and thoughts may help you.
These problems are common
Lots of young people have problems with their thoughts or feelings – about 1 in 10. So there are probably people in your class who have similar problems. It happens to adults too – about 1 in 4 people have these problems every year.
Mental health is similar to physical health - there are different types of mental health and different treatments.
Here are some mental health difficulties:
- Low mood/depression – feeling sad or down most of the time
- Anxiety and phobias – feeling worried or scared a lot
- Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD – obsessive thoughts and behaviours
- Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD – problems caused by something bad which happened to you
- Eating disorders – problems with eating
- Psychosis - seeing or hearing things which aren’t there, or believing things which couldn’t be true
Abuse is someone doing something to you that harms you. There are different types of abuse – some abusers use words to hurt you, others hurt you in different ways. You can read more about different types of abuse on the Childline website. Whatever is happening, it is not your fault. It’s important to tell someone so that you can be kept safe.
The abuser can be a family member, someone you are close to, a friend, a teacher, a neighbour, or even someone online who you don’t really know. If someone is doing something to you that you feel is not right, tell someone.
You might be worried about telling someone in case they blame you or don’t believe you. But abuse is not your fault. Start by telling someone you feel safe with – like a friend, a family member, a teacher, or a religious person. You can also tell the police or you can contact the NSPCC or Childline. These are confidential services that will make sure that you are safe.
CAMHS quote 2
CAMHS helped me to make sense of the issues I was having and how to challenge the thoughts that I’d come to accept as normal.