Child and adolescent mental health services

Child aSite-Logond Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is a free specialist service for children and adolescents with serious emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. CAMHS services across Ireland are run by the HSE.

The service caters for young people up to 16-years-old, although some CAMHS services extend to 18 years for young people in full-time education.

What can CAMHS help with?

The range of mental health problems experienced by children and teenagers is broad and can include anxiety, eating disorders, depression, attempted suicide, psychosis, ADHD, complex bereavement, relationship difficulties and school related problems, all of which the CAMHS team has experience with dealing with.

How do you contact CAMHS?

You need to be referred to CAMHS by a health professional who is familiar with you. This will usually be your family GP. CAMHS also accept referrals from other senior health professionals such as public health nurses, social workers, speech and language therapists or educational psychologists.

To find your nearest CAMHS service, please visit the HSE service locator, phone the HSE infoline on Callsave 1850 24 1850 (open 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday) or email infoline1@hse.ie. Your family GP will also know where your nearest CAMHS service is located.

Who is on the CAMHS team?

The CAMHS team is made up of health professionals who are experienced in working with children and teenagers with mental health difficulties. The team consists of a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, registrar, clinical psychologist, clinical nurse specialist, social worker, speech and language therapist, occupational therapist and administrative staff.

What help is available from CAMHS?

Often the most important help that CAMHS offer is to talk with and listen to you. The health professional will listen and ask questions to understand what’s going on for you. We’re all different and so the support CAMHS offers each of us will be different, but some of the following approaches may be recommended:

What to expect

CAMHS usually invite both the you and your parents/guardians to attend the first appointment. Your family will meet one or more members of the CAMHS team. Sometimes CAMHS want to meet all your family together, other times they ask to meet you and your parents/guardians separately.

At the first meeting, a member of the CAMHS team will ask you questions to help them better understand what’s going on for you. They will ask questions about you and your family life, how you get on at school and your general health. In some situations CAMHS might want to visit you at home or seek permission from you and your parent/guardian to visit your school.  They try to keep you involved and informed at each step and you should make sure to ask any questions you have so that you know the next steps are.

After this initial meeting, the health professional will arrange a follow-up appointment with your parents/guardians to let them know their thoughts and to discuss what help and support you may need. Your family GP will be kept informed of your progress.

The team approach to CAMHS

All CAMHS work is team focused. All assessments are discussed with the team. All of the interventions are planned by the team in collaboration with young and your family. While the team’s approach is primarily child-centred they work closely with parents and carers.

How long with it take?

The waiting time for the service will depend on how urgently you need help and support.  Once you have your initial meeting, you may need some more meetings with the CAMHS team as most problems don’t disappear overnight. Some problems may resolve very quickly and require only two or three meetings. However, in other instances, regular meetings over a period of months may be needed.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality for both you and your family is an essential part of the CAMHS service. Generally the information you share with your psychiatrist or another member of  the CAMHS team is kept in confidence.

However, if concerns arise about your safety and welfare, then your parents or guardians and other services may be informed as necessary.

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  1. roisin says:

    Hi Brigitta,

    The best way to get a referral to CAMHS is though you local GP.

    I hope this helps,

    Roisin

  2. Birgitta says:

    Can I get referral please

  3. Fenella (Admin) says:

    Hi Mandy,

    Thanks for getting in touch. The age at which a child can be referred to CAMHS differs across Ireland. In some areas, CAMHS will require a child to be aged six or over before they are seen. This is usually because psychiatrists are generally unable to diagnose mental health problems in children under six years of age.

    Some areas do have infant mental health services run through community psychology services which will see very young children. To find out if your local area has an infant mental health service, I would recommend you ask your GP. If the GP isn't sure, you should ask them to look into it for you.

    TUSLA is the new Child and Family Agency and they might also have information about supports available for young children. Details of your local TUSLA office can be found here www.tusla.ie/get-in-touch/local-area-offices.

    I hope this helps Mandy. Please get back in touch if you have any further questions.

    Take care,
    Fenella

  4. mandy says:

    Hi im just wondering what is the youngest age a a child can be referred to CAMHS plz

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