Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you need professional help, please see our mental health webguide
My 6 year old has been referred to CAMHS due to severe anxiety. We have been told our appointment will be in the next 2-4 weeks.
Has anyone any experience of CAMHS? What is likely to happen in first/subsequent appointments? Any advice gratefully appreciated.
Best advice... don't worry ( easier said than done I know, but there is nothing to fear in CAMHS), be glad you are getting a service and feel proud of yourself for acknowledging there is a problem and getting help for your son/daughter. Different workers may do their initial assessments differently, so no use in telling you this and that, but they are all there to help, not to judge or place blame. Be open and honest about the issues and work with them towards a solution. All the best with it.
My DS1 aged 10 is under CAMHS at the moment, for Post Traumatic Stress ( and anxiety) following a critical illness. CAMHS exists to help youngsters understand and manage their feelings. Tbh I don't know a lot about what he talks about in the sessions - he does tell me some of it, but then loses interest! - but he REALLY enjoys going. He likes the way the counsellor talks to him like an intelligent human being, and doesn't talk down to him because of his age. I don;t know that his symptoms are a lot better, yet, but he definitely enjoys it. Hope your experience is positive. Don't worry.
Thanks - trying not to worry. My biggest problem is I'm looking for a quick fix, and I know that isn't going to happen.
Nice to hear that your ds is finding it a positive experience minxthemanx.
I can't speak highly enough of Camhs. My son was in a terrible state with depression and suicidal feelings (and awful anxiety). His Camhs worker knew exactly how to help him and he is now a happy normal ten year old equipped with the tools to help him deal with the problems life throws in our path.
In our case the camhs worker came and spoke to us first and then arranged an appointment to see our son. She usually saw him at home but sometimes at school and everything was done in a way that he was comfortable. Our son became very fond of his Camhs worker and was very comfortable with her.
Good luck and I really hope your child benefits as much as ours has
Hi, just found this thread... I am thinking of getting a CAMHS referral for our DD but am wondering whether its one to one help that would be best or 'family therapy' as a whole - She does have early life experience which i'm sure has affected her but both me and her dad also have our own childhood baggage which we bring to parenting her and i feel like just sending her off with someone might make it seem like her problems are all down to her and she's alone in that IYSIM?
Also maybe I'm being overly protective but i don't like the idea of her going off and having sessions with a therapist, sharing her innermost feelings with a strange adult and us not knowing what happens in that room. Is that just my problem I need to get over for myself, is it normal to feel like that so strongly?
Can anyone reassure me?
Hi, I just found this thread. We are also being referred to CAMHS. My understanding was that they would see me first, and then me with her. I don't know if they are going to see DD on her own.
It is comforting to know that some people have found this service helpful. I have felt reluctant about it but considering our circumstances I think it's the only option left.
newfashioedmum, my understanding was that CAMHS deals with the whole family, go and see them your self. I haven't seen them yet but that was what I thought. We have things going on that are affecting our daughter. And yes, you can trace problems back generations. My parents were very affected by their parents etc.
For what it's worth, this is our experience of CAMHS:
We've just started on our CAMHS journey. My DD (11) has been struggling with a deep fear of being sick (emetophobia) and other anxieties for a few years. We saw the school nurse about it last year which helped a little bit. Recently though things have escalated and I felt we really needed more expert help. I saw our GP at beginning of Nov and our referal came through quite quickly. DD and I saw a woman from the CAMHS team last week and she recommended that DD has some one-to-one sessions with one of the team - but warned me there would probably be a wait for those. No mention of us seeing anyone as a family at this stage.
DD is VERY angry with me about all of this, especially since her teacher knows about it all. I feel terrible (both emotionally and physically - have had constant cold since Nov!), but DD is limiting her eating so don't feel we have any choice.
Just wanted to share this. First time I've posted. Would love to hear if anyone else has experience of a child with emetophobia and what has helped...
We have had mixed experiences of cahms - referral for dd from school for poor self esteem and number of other issues to cahms. We had 6 sessions where issues were never broached until I went in alone on penultimate session to be told we had been referred to wrong arm of cahms and that it sounded as though dd had OCD and they recommended a book and said shOuld reapply for another set of 6 individual sssi
Oops exited last message too early ... Should have added that this year another referral was made and we went to next level and are getting excellent weekly support where diagnosis of aspergers and anorexia, body dysmorphia and obsessive behaviour are all being addressed. Still relatively early days but feel confident that my dd is being looked after by the right level of support (at long last ) I hope my experiences help you ...good luck
I think it depends on your local authority. I heartened to hear some positive experience of CAMHS. Our experience was crap in the extreme. Ds was badly bullied and ended up self harming and suicidal. After one appointment, they said he was fine - it was the wrong kind of self harm and he didn't really mean he wanted to die. A year later we were still really struggling to cope, got referred again and this time saw a nurse who told us the problem was we were enabling the behaviour - "Children only kick holes in walls and hurt themselves if you let them" was her best statement and she was a specialist children's mental health nurse. I was so incandescent I couldn't speak. Anything I said would been seen as proof of our bad parenting. I walked out of the building and stuck my finger up at it. I've since spoken to our school nurse who wasn't surprised. She said they had less than zero funding and they (the school nurses) can't even get CAMHS to give help to families where children attack their parents.
This was 3 years ago now, Ds is getting there, he rarely harms himself but we've had to do a lot of the work ourselves, a couple of supportive and understanding teachers have been our lifeline at times which is not how it should be. I can honestly say his year 5 teacher saved our family.
I sincerely hope you get some help from CAMHS.
hi, can i join in re camhs please? Just had a referral form from dd 8 school to fill in, thought they would fill some in but they have left it all to me! It was heartbreaking to fill in. dd has severe depression, has made no friends at school, suffers school phobia so i find that a daily nightmare too.
Her dad has left and wants nothing to do with her at all, she cries her self to sleep over this every night.
Feel ashamed to show school form now as had to put in very private info re my own mental health and info over my other 2 older dc who are not coping with family life cos of dd 8 situation.
So worried they wont take on our case, where would i go next .....so intered to hear positive and negative stories of folks experience but its a long wait yes??
Hi Dd11 was referred to CAHMS around 6 months ago the initial appointment came through quite quick but think that was based on the fact dd's behaviour had become quite threatening and was having suicidal thoughts
We were then seen at home as a family then it took around 3 months for dd to get the 1-1 support they wanted her to have she now sees a lovely worker on a weekly bases however it has not been a magical cure and sometimes after the appointment dd comes back in a really bad mood as she just can't seem to understand the concept of all the issues discussed.
She has also been to see a pead who has suggested some form of Asd so we are just playing a waiting game.
Dd has a very complicated case she has also got medical condition requiring aggressive treatment in hospital including very high doses of IV steroids these make her very difficult to control x x
hi again, well we have been given our initial appointment for 14th Feb but realise still to be officially accepted and then long waiting list?
Really scared bout this app as dd8 so low what if they offer no help? She has zero friends and is so depressed school can do no more.
She is down to see a consultant so hope he can help guide us?
Hope everyone doing ok?????
Amberjane - not really got any answers, but wanted to send message of support to you & everyone else . I did find it helpful to write down what I wanted to say in the assessment meeting so I didn't forget anything. Tried to encourage DD1 to think of things she wanted to say too ("nothing!").
Good luck for 14th
hi mumtutu, thanks for the support and tips, thats a really good idea to write things down and dd too. will do that, thankyou, will keep you posted after app.
Wow this has been really intresting to read, we have just been referred to Cahms..... its been a nightmare of a journey to get there, and still waiting to get our appointment,
We saw our GP back in November, who referred us to hospital as my son was struggling with school and other things, Eventually got seen in April, after they lost 3 referrals!!!! Peadtrician said traits of aspergers, reffered to Cahms, a month later, again nothing has been done, losing alot of faith in the system, meanwhile, things at home are getting really difficult, need help and advice, school are not being helpful and i feel like I am losing my mind..... Just hope Cahms can make a difference to my boy and to us as a family, in any way they can. Any one had any similar experiences??? Would love some advice or help!!!
Run away fast now! Camhs are sinister, irresponsible and morally reprehensible. They do not take parents wishes or concerns in consideration and will bully the parents into submission and manipulate your child's thoughts and feelings. Don't go there!
hi there had to join in on this one.. im really glad for the people who have recieved great help from CAMHS . But honestly i will never go again.. heres my story .
I begged my doctor numerous times to let my 8 year old daughter see someone. she has huge symtoms of ocd.. screaming if somethinsg out of place etc. i read up about it and it says comes with anger , which is obviously apparent. so went off to camhs.
They got what was like a check list out asked about personal questions about everybody in the family home. Promising that all was confidential and that no personal info would be shared unless they had huge concerns for anyones safety. They asked if my self and my husband ever had depression .how much we drank if we smoked all stuff like that. i felt they put words into mine and my daughters mouth . "does your dad drink a little too much?" They then asked to see her on her own. where they asked very specific questions like "are you afraid of mum and dad when your naughty?" which she replied yes i go to my room if im really bad . And another was "has mum ever left a mark or cut on you ?" which she replied yes mum caught me with her ring 2 days ago.. they had no follow up questions like how ? as if they actually cared to ask they would of got " yeh she accidently caught me while she tickled me". at the end they pulled me back in and said that my daughter is at MEDIUM risk. I was LIVID but you cant argue as they want to hold everything they can against you..
i walked out and cried for days straight. i told the school and they were shocked! i recieved a letter which they sent out to me , the school and my doctors saying all the twisted ways they interpreted our chat and even my private medical history on show to all to see. AND GUESS WHAT??!! NOT ONE MENTION OF HER OCD TESTS THAT WE WENT IN FOR. child services were genuine and completely struck me off their list instantly they said i dont need their help.. I WILL NEVER TRY AND GET HELP EVER AGAIN... completely put all the blame on the parents . the girl didnt even look old enough to have a kid herself.. heartbroken... HUMILIATING DISGUSTING, TRAUMATIC.. never again. we will just have to work as a family and get through it together.
carebear, so sorry about your experiences. Camhs is a real lottery and I remember walking out of a camhs session when my DD was much younger, we went in about tics and were asked similar questions. I'm so glad everyone else who knows you saw sense. I have made a number of complaints to camhs, as I didnt want other people to go though things we did so I dont know if you feel you can do this and it means you have evidence of their misinterprations on file. (you can always ask to go to a different Camhs department later if necessary - I did).
If you are worried about your DD and her OCD, maybe try an educational psychologist route . I'm not sure if she is too young but WISC4 tests can help reveal patterns of thinking and signal to school she needs some support. Please please, don't think everyone is like this although our stories are more common than they should be. If your daughter is struggling, it may get worse as she gets older and she may need professional support to learn coping strategies, especially in early teens.
So sorry for all the people who have a had a negative experience with CAHMS..I suppose like any organisation, like a school even, it depends on the staff and management so it will be a lottery. They have been good to us although initially turned my daughter down because they said she was too old (15 at the time I think!) which left us in a black hole. I contacted numberous mental health organisations and we got accepted by one local to our area (Trent) who helped a little . (funnily enought AFTER we were attending we got a letter from our doctor saying my daughter was too young to go to Trent...well sucks to you doctor cos we filled the on line form in and we were accepted..as they agreed there was a need for it and we were in a black hole for mental health care due to her age)
They helped a little but not permanently and we went back to the doctor and saw a different one who referred her again and THIS time we did get accepted by CAHMS (at 16..so god knows why she was too old at 15....someone can't do their maths!) She has been helped by them, and in particular by the pyschiatrist (altho a 3 month wait to see her!) and the drugs she is taking , prescribed by them. Her counseller is lovely, but I do wonder how much help she is as my daughter doesn't like to talk about things...part of the problem I think.
I would try different paths re what you should do, there is help out there, but sometimes you do feel you are banging your head against a brick wall. I also tried various child/parent help lines and they were pretty helpful too with suggestions of where to go.
I suppose also with CAHMS...it depends on what you are going to see them about. ..symptoms/diagnosis/help and with what?
I'm so glad I came across this thread. We have had a terrible experience with CAMHS. The appointments are so difficult with the 2 individuals, my daughter won't look at them let alone speak. Since involving them, my daughter has made 2 attempts to kill herself and their response is to pretty much ignore it because she didn't try hard enough i.e. no major treatment required although both warranted A&E trips. These attempts were followed up with an appointment to see them in 2 weeks time. In the meantime, I've had to supervise 24hrs a day and have been unable to get back to work. We asked to see another psych and have been told that nobody has room on their patient lists to see us. I worry that my daughter will be third time lucky.
Dibba1968, don't give up, keep asking for a change of psychiatrist, it can make all the difference. My dd saw several different camhs nurses and several different psychiatrists, we were getting nowhere. DD was in the same situation as yours, wouldn't even look at them, and did take 3 overdoses. To be fair the changes of staff were mainly because of staff leaving - and sometimes not being replaced due to cutbacks.... Anyway, we were eventually seen by a psychiatrist who my dd felt able to work with - and the difference has been amazing. DD is now on low dose meds and seems like a different person. Her appointments are now few and far between. Keep pushing for a change. I wish u lots of luck x
Avoid Camhs at all costs - they will indoctrinate your child, drug them up to the hilt, not include you as a parent and will dismiss and overrrule you. My family and child were destroyed by Camhs.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.