General CAMHS Info

CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services which are specialist services that provide assessment, treatment and support to young people with emotional, behavioural and mental heath difficulties. Solent CAMHS covers our sites in Portsmouth and Southampton.

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We realise that opening up to a new person can be quite a scary thought. You might not want to tell your CAMHS worker what you are thinking or how you are feeling because you think it sounds stupid, or you are worried how other people will think about you because of it. Everyone at CAMHS has had lots of experience working with children and young people, and there isn't much you could say that will shock them!

It is important to be open and honest, because this makes your relationship with your worker much more trusting and it helps them to know you better and give you the best help they can.

At your first meeting, you will be told about confidentiality. This means that whatever you say will be kept between you and your CAMHS worker, unless you give permission for it to be shared. Even then, you can say if you want your family, school or other people to know. We won't tell your parents if you say they nag you all the time!

In some circumstances, when we feel that your safety might be at risk, we will have to break our confidentiality and tell someone, usually your parent or carer, so that we can make sure you stay safe. If this happens we will talk it through with you first, and you can decide if you want to be there, or if you would prefer us to speak to them separately.

Concerned about a child?

If you have noticed that a child or young person in your care is experiencing difficulties, there are several things we would suggest you do:

  • Talk to them and find out what is going on. It might be to do with home, school, friends or something completely different.
  • Talk to other people who are involved with your child, this might be nursery, school, college, GP or health visitor. These are the people who can refer to us, so you will need to discuss the issues with them so they can make a referral.
  • If you need immediate help, you may need to go to A & E.
  • YoungMinds is a national mental health charity which provides information for parents about mental health issues. It also has a dedicated parents helpline which you can call to talk through any of your worries. Tel: 0808 802 5544

Useful Links

This page contains links to some national support and information services offering assistance for child mental health issues.

Childline - A confidential service provided by the NSPCC, offering free support for children and young people up to the age of nineteen on a wide variety of problems.

Counselling MindEd - is an online resourse within MindEd that provides free evidence-based, e-learning to support the training of school and youth counsellors and supervisors working in a whide variety of settings.

Education Endowment Foundation - The Sutton Trust EEF Teaching and Learning Toolkit is an accessible summary of educational research which provides guidance for teachers and schools on how to use their resources to improve the attainment of all pupils and especially disadvantaged pupils.

HeadMeds - website developed by the charity YoungMinds providing general information about common medications that may be prescribed for children and young people with diagnosed mental health conditions.

MindEd - provides free e-learning to help adults to identify and understand children and young people with mental health issues. It provides simple, clear guidance on mental health to adults who work with children and young people, to help them support the development of young healthy minds.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) - NICE's role is to improve outcomes for people using the NHS and other public health and social care services, including by producing evidence-based guidance and advice. This can be useful in understanding social, emotional and mental health conditions and their recommended treatments.

Place2Be - is a charity working in schools providing early intervention mental health support to children aged 4-14 in England, Scotland and Wales.

Relate - offers advice, relationship counselling, sex therapy, workshops, mediation, consultations and support face-to-face, by phone and through their website. This includes children and young people's counselling for any young person who is having problems.

Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPSYCH) - provides specifically tailored information for young people, parents, teachers and carers about mental health through their Parents and Youth Info A-Z