If you have been referred to CAMHS, you will be put on a waiting list for your first appointment, this appointment is sometimes called a ‘Choice Appointment’ (which often is the beginning of your ‘assessment’). There is no need to worry, it is normally just a chat so the team can get to know you & the best way they can help.
The key change is that this appointment, may now happen virtually or in some cases over the phone, but only if you are happy with this and have the right technology at home to access the virtual system. If your appointment cannot be completed virtually or via the phone you may be offered a face to face appointment. However, this depends on your individual circumstances and local team. This appointment will generally take place at a CAMHS clinic. But in some circumstances, they may meet with you at your school, but not usually at home at this time. When you attend your appointment, you will be asked to wear a mask, wash or sanitise your hands and remain 2 metres away from the nearest person.
It is important to note that some CAMHS Services will have longer waiting times as a result of the current pandemic. If you are on the waiting list, your local CAMHS Team will be in touch as soon as there is an available appointment. If you begin to feel worse during this time, you can still contact the team for help and advice or get in touch with some of the support organisations listed above. Your GP may also be able to help and make an urgent referral. If you feel in crisis you can contact 101 for advice, your local police force or attend A & E for urgent care. Please only do so in an emergency.
During your first appoint you will normally meet one or two members of the CAMHS team. If you’re under 16, your parent(s), guardian (s) or carer(s) can be invited to join for part of this meeting.
When you meet the team, you will be asked some questions. This is to help the team understand what you are struggling with and to get a better idea of what support you need.
Towards the end of the session, the team will talk to you about what happens next and what support they think you might need. Please remember you can also ask any questions you have. If you do not feel confident to ask question it can help to write these down before you go in or speak to a parent/guardian/carer about what you want to know before you attend.
You may also feel you need support from an advocate (An advocate is a trusted person, sometimes a professional who can support you to be heard and to help you communicate what you think and feel). There will be professional advocacy services available in your area and your CAMHS Team should have information on these and be able to make a referral on your behalf for support. If Welsh is your preferred language than you should be offered your assessment and support in this language.
During your appointment, the team may talk about ‘treatment’ or a follow up ‘Partnership Appointment’ to discuss your treatment – This just means you will be putting a plan in place about the work you’ll do together to help you feel better. The Team will talk about when you may need to see them again or whether they will be completing any further parts of your assessment.
Following your assessment, you will receive a letter, which will tell you about what your assessment has shown and what support you may need, this can include therapy and/or medication. If you require further support the team will write you with a follow up appointment, describing what will happen next.
Follow up appointments could again be held virtually, by phone or face to face depending on your circumstances and the type of treatment you need.