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MNHQ here: parents with experience of CAMHS in Merton, Kingston, Wandsworth, Richmond and Sutton - this way please(50 Posts)
MNHQ have commented on this thread.
We've been contacted by the CAMHS service at South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust; they're interested in gathering the opinions and feedback of parents who've come into contact with CAMHS services in Merton, Kingston, Wandsworth, Sutton and Richmond.
Here's what they say:
'[We] have seen a number of discussions on Mumsnet about CAMHS and a lack of thoughtfulness of the service in working with both young people and parents. We would really value the opportunity to see how we could work with Mumsnet in the local areas we cover to improve our services.'
They're interested particularly in your thoughts on things like punctuality, responsiveness, quality, respectfulness, and the standard of care and facilities on offer.
Our lovely Local Editors in Merton and Sutton (Kate) and Kingston and Surrey (Cherry) will be cross-hosting this thread on their Local discussion boards, and we're hoping other Local Editors will be able to get involved too.
So please do use this thread to post up any experiences, thoughts and feedback you may have. Matthew Willoughby, who is the CAMHS Operations Manager at the trust, will be keeping an eye on the thread and has said he's happy to come on and respond to points that are made - probably at a specific time (webchat stylee) a bit further down the line once we've got a sense of how much feedback there is for him to take on. In the longer term, he's interested in perhaps setting up parents' feedback groups to offer regular input, and would like to include Mumsnetters in that.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts (and do remember - if you live in Merton, Kingston, Richmond, Sutton or Wandsworth and you're not already signed up to your Mumsnet Local site, do please check them out.)
I have had limited experience to date but it wasn't promising. We were refered by GP for a tier 3 assessment (to be fair maybe GP didn't state this) - got a general "choices appt letter. Fair enough we'll take what we can get.
Rang to make appt - answerphone, left message e
DS is under Sutton CAMHS for ADHD monitoring. Had a few hiccups at the beginning of the process leading up to diagnosis (diagnosis was at Springfield hospital, so under Wandsworth CAMHS I believe) then there was some sort of mix up so we waited almost a year to start medication. I take some of the blame for that though as I guess I was so used to being on waiting lists that I just presumed I'd hear something soon!
Since we've been going to Sutton CAMHS it has been a generally positive experience. Waiting times for appointments are short and the staff are very friendly. Whilst at the appointments the Dr is very thorough, takes his time and I've never felt rushed.
The only criticism I would have, and it's a small one really, is that one the two occasions I've called in between appointments with concerns it's been quite difficult to speak to anybody.
It's probably not helpful to say this, but I live in Richmond and have considered approaching CAMHS. I didn't in the end because (a) so many people have told me it's ridiculously difficult to get help from them (I don't know if this is true), and (b) I've managed to unlock some help with the adoption support fund. But it would be really useful to know the range of help on offer, and how to access - is it just through GP? I have never seen any poster or leaflet or anything setting out what is available.
Rachel my DS was referred to camhs through the behavioural support team at school. My GP was clueless when I approached them about a referral. In fact, when I took DS there with concerns when he was 3 the GP looked at him and said "he seems OK to me". I've since changed my Dr but you're right, there doesn't seem to be much information out there on how to access the service. If the school hadn't referred him in the end (this was after a lot of other professionals had been involved) then I'm not sure we'd be where we are now.
Are professionals allowed to chime in?
Sorry I mean private professionals who have worked privately with CAMHS cases. I've seen some awful things out of Merton.
We moved from Wandsworth last year just as dd needed support. I haven't heard great things about Wandsworth on here but our old GP felt they would have seen dd relatively urgently.
It would be good to get some involvement from Surrey and Borders which neighbours this area because they have provided zero helpful support and in my opinion are completely unfit for purpose, ill managed and totally disengaged from the needs of young people and their families. We had no option but to seek private care.
If you break a tiny bone you are followed up routinely with senior reg or consultant appointments. If a young person has a mental health issue they are lucky to be seen by a nurse of variable quality and experience who reports their findings, not necessarily accurately, to a multi-disciplinary team. It is a disaster for young people and is robbing them of the opportunity to get well, succeed and play full and healthy roles in society.
We have experience of Kingston and I was completely patronised by a leading person there. I still have the letter she wrote implying that I was the reason my DD had severe OCD and anxieties.
The actual practicioner we saw was lovely but only there short term...DD built up a real rapport but hated the replacement. We then went private.
Sorry hadn't meant to post that!
"Rang to make appt - answerphone, left message" no-one rang back for weeks and we were away when the message was left (acknowledging that we'd rung). When I did call back to make another appointment I was told that as I hadn't contacted them within 2 weeks the case had been closed and we would have to get another referral. I pointed out that I had contacted them, and that I had a message on my answerphone to prove it, the lady on the phone sounded very confused (she had already accepted that we had been called and I had the name of the person who called us) but said "the computer" had closed the case so there was no ay around it.
When you have a child in need of mental health services, your life is often difficult and can be chaotic - I am a single parent who runs their own business and having a child who requires extra support is tiring and I found this approach of "two weeks and you're out" unhelpful in the extreme. (Lets ignore for the moment the fact that I had in fact called within the two weeks window)
Getting the first referral required a visit to the GP and the thought of trying to find a window to slot in another one made me want to cry.
As it happens the school SEN manager agreed to make the referral so I'm just waiting for a second attempt at booking an appointment. Despite my son really needing a tier 3 appt (as advised by the school EP) there doesn't seem any way of getting one so we'll waste someones time having a "choices" appt despite the fact that a professional has recommended tier 3 appt.
I'm sure the two week cut off is there to make your waiting times look better but in fact they can just make already difficult lives more difficult.
Spookyrachel - how did you access the adoption fund? Thats our other option but I can 't find a way into it... was it just by going through the adoption team (they were supportive but offered no practical support last time I contacted them). DS had drama therapy for 9 weeks and her strong recommendation is that we stick with one therapist for a long while (we all think he needs long term therapy) as he doesn't trust easily and changing therapists to whatever is on offer every 6 months could end up with him trusting less and reinforcing his problems.
RichmondDame, yes you have to go through the post adoption service (achieving for children if you're in my area). They are massively under-resourced and it is hard to get them to respond to you (I'll give you an email address if you PN me) but I understand that once they have referred for ASF funding they nearly always get it. On my initial approach I got a few warm words and a reading list, but then the ASF was set up and now a lot more is possible - as the ASF is being expanded for the life time of this parliament it's a good time to push for that.
What they don't do nearly well enough, IME, is help you navigate the different therapies on offer, and decide which is best. It's also an issue that there is little local on offer, though the establishment of the ASF will no doubt stimulate lots of new provision (of varying quality).
The other route of advice is an Ed Psych via the school SENCO, though in many schools that may be more theoretical than real.
I think this is my main concern about CAMHS services - that they should be the starting point for diagnosis and identifying what kinds of support would help the child (and the family). But they seem to rarely function in that way - most parents I've talked to think that your child has to be very, very seriously unwell before they can get access to CAMHS. It would be nice to hear
sorry, posted too soon.
It would be nice to hear from Matthew Willoughby if that's right. I would love to hear that I've got it all wrong, and CAMHS is accessible to all!
Thanks for all your thoughts so far
Sorry I mean private professionals who have worked privately with CAMHS cases. I've seen some awful things out of Merton.
Would be interesting to have your insights!
Sutton (wallington) CAMHS I find very hit and miss. And what's with the big push for CBT therapy, it's not a miracle cure and my child didn't take to it and found it all rather negative and counter productive.
I can't say I find the reception staff there very welcoming, a particular lady was very rude and judgemental about my child.
The building is also so very drab and a dark corridor leads into more drab rooms. No wonder the staff seem so fed up too
Not being a sock puppet but ave changed name to my usual mother of a vulnerable teen one. I never thought I would be in this position. Had we stayed in Wa dsworth I suspect support would have been better than in Surrey.
Had we been unable to fund private care - the bill is about £5k now I am certain dd would be in a very bad place. She'd be on CAMHS books now but wouldn't be at school a d would have significantly reduced life chances.
CAMHS refused a preventative interven tion due to resources. She has escalated since but hey I've been offered pills and counselling to keep me well enough to cope. Wouldn't it be more sensible to provide our you g people with help and support before they escalate. My dd didn't meet the threshhold for care but after she toom a,self harming overdose I did while she waited. It is gobsmackingly awful. We have the awful situation too where it is so poor but because she's 17 I can't even formally complain because of confidentiality unless I give her a other stressor.
Something I am aware of is that the little family with three disabled infants who lived in Wandsworth just about had enough support before they moved to New Malden and came under Kingston. A perfect indictment of the variability and unacceptable standards.
I do don't think this is just about a local area although I welcome the initiative. It is actually a national scandal that needs to be dealt with. Our young, vulnerable people deserve so much more
Apologies for typos - on phone.
Dear Head of CAMHS,
I am I child using my mums account to express how I feel.
I have been a patient at CAMHS Sutton for almost 2 years. And I have now finally found the type of therapy that is helpful for me. It has taken 1 1/2 years to finally find it.
When I was first introduced to CAMHS I was passed from pillar to post and I saw lots of people. I found it very hard to open up and for the constant string of new people difficult to cope with. Having to tell the same story again and again and again really frustrating. I found that each session brought my mood down really low, this would sometimes mean my school would have to take me to A&E for assessment.
Constantly being in the 'assessment' stage stressed me out and the constant appointments meant I missed a lot of school.
CBT was constantly offered but I found it difficult to talk so I didn't find it helpful. I tried it 3 times and did the recommended 6 weeks trial and each time came out feeling lower and lower. It was suggested I try alternative therapy such as art therapy. I think I would have found this helpful if I was actually given it. After months and months it was finally decided that I needed medication due to the constant trips to A&E. I cannot fault my Doctor at CAMHS. I find her very personable and she speaks the truth. She understands really well how I feel and she never reacts negatively. We have found a medication that works and I'm now feeling considerably better and I feel more human. I have also been doing family therapy with an amazing woman who is working really well with my family and I. I think that now I am stable I could cope with CBT better.
CAMHS is a good service once you've finally found the right thing/person to work with. But the constant assessments and being forced into CBT were a waste of time. I also wish staff were more positive and that the place was brightened up a bit to reflect that positivity.
Thank you for reading this and I hope this post will be of some use to you.
A finally better teenager
I hope "professionals" out there are listening.
Mark, if I may, how respectful would you find it if I, as a stranger referred constantly to you as "manager" or "dad" (if you are one) rather than having the basic good manners to call you Mr Willoughby or Mark (with permission). The nurse we are dealing with at CAMHS at present refers to our GP as Dr x and the CAMHS psych as Dr x. Yet addressing me with the same degree of respect appears to be a step too far fr her. At leat she doesn't constantly chew gum like the last one when speaking to me and dd. Perhaps I'll start calling her "nurse" or do you think that might be ever so slightly disrespectful?
My dd didn't get help last year because she was,assessed as tier two (I think but this can't be disclosed because she's over 16 - not without her permission) but they were happy to let her escalate to tier three because she didn't merit preventative intervention a year ago - so now it's more expensive for them. A tually she might be tier 4 now except that we are quite rich and she's been under the care of a private consultant psychiatrist. Thankfully she's still at school and we are bolstering her self esteem as best we can
I am very very ANGRY at the institutionalised incompetence. It isn't all about resources.
Could you pass this on to West Sussex CAMHS and get them involved? I have lots to say about our current horrendous situation. Dd is 16 and we've had to fight tooth and nail to get help. I'd love to address someone senior to find out why we've been left in the cold. Sorry for blatant hijack!
Have read your posts Thornrose. Hope you are OK(ish)
I'd love to say things are fine Ripening but they're really not. Thanks for asking though that means a lot.
We are in Merton but have a Kingston GP (although the GP is geographically situated in Merton ..... I've never really understood this!)
Kingston CAMHS we awful. We have a child with SEN and LD, but the team totally failed to take this on board. (I'm not taking minor SEN, my dd1 attends a special school)
Thanks to the neuro-disability consultant at dd's hospital she was referred to Wandsworth LD CAMHS. They are woefully understaffed and we waited a long time to get to the introduction phase, but the staff are wonderful.
Sadly we have already seen two staff members leave due to pressure of work.
The system is not working - not only are young people being let down, so are the overworked NHS staff members.
Weak. We were referred but after an acknowledgment letter saying we'd get an appointment, we heard nothing else. We went private for therapy. This is for a depressed teenager.
Ha. We were ill enough to get an apt after three months. They then offered a teenager who'd been unhappy at school and,stressed about her GCSE's (was self poisoning as well as self harming) five weeks of group therapy in the middle of the school day, cutting out the introductory module for a new subject. Must really have listened . When it was declined told to get a therapist off the internet and case was then closed - no collaboration. The heads up that they would offer nada, zilch, nothing would have been helpful from the get go.
Were assured by Wandsworth GP she'd be seen in two weeks, sadly we moved to Epsom.
She has subsequently escalated. Epsom A&E were unspeakably disingenuous. CAMHS second assessment was by a nurse practitioner. It is a good job we can pay for a consultant psychiatrist because the quality and standard of NHS care is dismal. If CAMHS wish to see her again I shall insist she is seen by a psychiatrist/fully qualified doctor. I am not satisfied with the quality of clinical care offered. She has now been referred for some counselling with a charity. There's a chance she might connect and it's local. First assessment four weeks after CAMHS assessment and after presentation at A&E. It's a good job we can find a private psychiatrist isn't it. If we couldn't she would likely be in an irretrievable place now.
We will never know if the care in Wandsworth would really have been better than here but I desperately regret moving here. Hate it in fact when local services are so unfit for purpose.
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