What is Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)?

Child in uniform sat on wall looking down at the ground

What is CAMHS? Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) refer to the support offered by the government, volunteer organisations or schools in local areas of the UK. Any children and young people who are struggling with their wellbeing, whether emotional or behavioural, can be referred to their local CAMHS.

Examples of CAMHS include an NHS trust, local authority, school or charitable organisation. In addition to providing support for children, CAMHS can also help parents and carers who need help and advice to deal with behavioural or other problems their child is experiencing.


What conditions can CAMHS support?

Common mental health disorders in children include conduct disorders, anxiety, depression, ADHD, PTSD and OCD. Children with Autism can also be referred to CAMHS, though Autism is regarded as a neurodevelopmental condition, rather than a mental health disorder. It’s important to note that 70% of people with autism also suffer from a mental health disorder that can at times be more challenging than the Autism itself.


How to access CAMHS online

You can access your local CAHMS by searching for CAMHS on Google and including the name of your local area. You should see a result featuring your CAMHS in the suburb, borough, town or city where you live. Here you’ll get support, advice and information about how to seek a referral to a specialist.

There are other ways to find support in addition to visiting your local CAMHS website. For example, you can speak to your GP, a school teacher or SENCO, school nurse or local children’s centre. There is no reason to be concerned or nervous about seeking help for a child in your care. Healthcare professionals and education providers are trained to be able to identify mental health issues in young people. They will support parents and carers in finding the right level of assistance and treatment for the child based on their unique circumstances.

If you or your child is supported by social services or the youth offending team, your key worker can refer your child to CAMHS on your behalf.

To find out more about CAMHS, visit the NHS website.

Or, to learn more about common child mental health conditions, click here.