What is CAMHS?
Lichfield CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) is for young people under the age of 18 in the Lichfield and Burntwood area. We help young people who are having problems with their mental health such as with emotional, social or behavioural problems which are having a significant impact on their daily life. We support young people who may be feeling very sad, very worried, be affected by unpleasant past experiences or struggling with their relationships at home or at school. We look to work with young people to understand their problems and try and find a way to help. Its important to us that young people feel happy and safe when they come to see us, that we are compassionate and understanding of your needs and do what we can to make things better for you.
What is Mental Health?
"Mental health is a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community." (World Health Organization)
Mental health is about how we think, feel and act. It affects how we cope with stress, relate to others and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of your life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood. If you experience problems with your mental health it may affect your thinking, mood and behaviour. It can be normal to feel down at times or to worries but sometimes these become more significant and have a big impact on a young persons life. Mental health problems are common and can happen to anyone but help is available such as through CAMHS as well as other services locally. People with mental health problems can get better and many make a full recovery.
There can still be a lot of misunderstanding of mental health problems but fortunately this stigma is being addressed by campaigns such as Time to Change and a number of celebrities have spoken about their own difficulties with their mental health such as Demi Lovato, Johnny Wilkinson, Stephen Fry, Lady Gaga, Tom from McFly, Johnny Depp, David Beckham and JK Rowling.
How do I get an appointment with CAMHS?
To access support from CAMHS you will need a referral from a professional that know you. For example this can be your GP, a counsellor, a teacher or social worker. We look at all referrals as at a team and decide what we think would be the best service to support based on the information provided. This may be with CAMHS and an assessment appointment will be offered to you although we do also work with other teams locally who help with emotional and behavioural problems in young people and we may advise that they provide input before CAMHS are involved.
How Long Is The Waiting Time For CAMHS?
At Lichfield CAMHS we do not having any waiting lists however we are only a small team relative to the number of referrals we receive and demand placed on us. We see referrals that are deemed as urgent within one week. We aim to see all new patients within 8 weeks and have averaged a 4 week waiting time for the past 3 years.
Will You Talk About Me With Other People?
Most of the things we talk about will be private and your confidentiality is important to us. There may be occasions where we do have to share with others information that you have given us, for example to make sure you are safe. We will tell you first if this may happen.
What Will Happen At My First Appointment?
Once a referral has been accepted by CAMHS a "Choice" appointment will be offered to you. We will try to give options with the date and time of this appointment. Appointments usually take place at our base which is at Holly Lodge but we will occasionally see young people at home or at school if it is not possible to come to our clinic. You will meet a member of our team who will spend time finding out about you, your interests, family and the problems which have led to you coming to CAMHS. You may be worried talking on your own and can bring family or an adult you trust to support you with the appointment.
You can ask us as many questions as you like and if you don't understand something said please ask us to explain this to you. If you require an interpreter then this can be arranged. At the end of the appointment you're CAMHS worker will talk about what happens next. Ultimately we want to work with you to find ways to feel better. You may be asked to complete some questionnaires before attending the appointment or after. These are called ROMs (Routine Outcome Measures) and help us to understand your difficulties better and monitor progress with treatment.
How Do CAMHS Help?
At CAMHS we will work together with you to try and find the best kind of help to meet your needs. The first visit to us will help us to learn what kind of support might help. There are several types on intervention that we offer within our CAMHS Service;
Art Therapy helps young people to express and explore how they feel and what they think through art. This can help young people understand themselves better and lead to positive changes. You don't need to be good at art to benefit from art therapy.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a talking therapy that looks at the link between thoughts, feelings and behaviours. It looks to change unhelpful ways of thinking and acting that may lead to young people feeling low in mood or worried. There is a helpful video explaining CBT in the video part of our resources section.
Understanding a young person as part of the wider family is important in making sense of problems a young person can experience. Family therapy involves working with you and the people that are important to you. In family therapy sessions, you and the people who come with you are encouraged to consider each other’s points of view, experiences and beliefs and find ways to make positive changes that work for everyone involved.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
DBT is a therapeutic approach for young people who experience trouble managing their emotions, thoughts and behaviours. It involves using mindfulness, managing difficult emotions and distress, developing more positive relationships with those around us as well as better problem solving skills.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
When we have an experience that is particularly frightening or distressing this is called a trauma and can lead to unpleasant memories or emotions in a young person. EMDR is a technique we use to help deal with traumatic experiences. it involves reliving traumatic or triggering experiences in brief doses while the therapist directs your eye movements. EMDR is effective because recalling distressing events is often less emotionally upsetting when your attention is diverted. This allows you to be exposed to the memories or thoughts without having a strong psychological response. Over time, this technique is believed to lessen the impact that the memories or thoughts have on you.
Music Therapy Group
Within our CAMHS group we have a weekly music therapy group in which young people come together and use music to help manage stress and difficult emotions.
Forest Skills Group
We run a forest skills group for young people which is designed to help boost self-esteem.
We run 2 groups for parents within CAMHS. The first is the Incredible Years Programme for parents of young people aged 3-8. We also run an Emotion Coaching group for parents of adolescents.
There are times when a young person may need medication to help with how they are feeling. We have 2 doctors in our team, a consultant and a GP who will discuss with you options available and support you to decide on what you wish to do with treatment. Information about medication is available at the HeadMeds site.
Can I change my CAMHS worker?
If you would like to change your CAMHS worker, for whatever reason, you can speak to your current CAMHS worker or another member of staff. We want to hear what you think about coming to CAMHS and speaking about this won’t negatively affect the way you are treated. It will just help us think about how to work best with you.
Moving On From CAMHS
Through the work with CAMHS it is our hope that a young person will get better and no longer need mental health services. There are times when further care is needed into adulthood, past the age of 18 requiring a transition to adult services. When this is the case we will look to support this change with a period of overlap between the 2 services to help ease the change from one to another. The Royal College of Psychiatrists web page has useful information about transitions for young people which can be found here.
Taking Care of Myself