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CAMHS waiting times - go private instead?

(7 Posts)
NotJanine Tue 01-Mar-16 12:29:18

Having read all the reports in the news about how poor mental health services are for children and young people, I now understand what they mean. The difference between services for youngsters compared to adults is staggering.

It is looking like the waiting time for DS to see a psychiatrist at CAMHS is at least 3 months. In the meantime they offer nothing. So I am wondering about finding someone for him to see privately. There isn't a psychiatrist he could see but there are a few psychologists and CBT therapists locally who deal with young people.

Has anyone else gone down this route and if so, how has it worked out?

I have spoken to a psychologist who was extremely helpful. His fees are very high (over £100/hr) and as we don't have insurance he did point out that seeing a therapist would be cheaper for us. Obviously he is not equipped to make any diagnosis, DS would still need to see the psychiatrist for that

blimppy Tue 01-Mar-16 20:21:16

Hi. DD1 has been seeing a private counsellor since last summer. This has included elements of CBT but we hope this will increase now we finally have a report from CAMHS setting out the detailed diagnoses and providing the basis for more structured CBT intervention. DD1 has found it helpful, but clearly not a quick fix. It costs £45 for a one hour session, but I expect costs varies according to levels of qualification.

Runningtokeepstill Tue 01-Mar-16 20:31:16

My ds, 16, sees a child/adolescent psychologist privately but that's because local CAMHS don't want to deal with MH problems that are linked to physical health problems, which leaves him in limbo until he is old enough for adult services (not that I'm expecting much then!).

It's too hard to say really. You know what's going on and if your ds needs to see a psychiatrist (presumably he's been assessed as needing this support) then do you think seeing another therapist would help or not? Would your ds cope with seeing one therapist and then transferring to a psychiatrist? Would you plan to see both? Is your ds prepared to see someone else or anyone at all, for that matter, including a psychiatrist?

I'm not looking for answers to these questions, just thinking of some of the things you'd need to take into account. The fees for the psychologist seem very high, certainly more than I pay. It might be worth keeping ringing back CAMHS to see if there is any leeway with the 3 month wait. Some posters on these boards have gone back to CAMHS when their dc have been in crisis and asked for more urgent appointments or just taken dc who are suicidal, or exhibiting certain types of behaviour, straight to A & E.

Good luck with whatever you and your ds decide to do. Make sure you also look after yourself.

ButEmilylovedhim Tue 01-Mar-16 20:43:21

We had very similar concerns with DS. We looked into a private adolescent psychiatrist a distance away (none nearer) and the fees were eyewatering, £350 an appointment, although the gp was happy to prescribe on the NHS afterwards. Thankfully, CAMHS came through for us after DS deteriorated and he saw their psychiatrist who is fantastic.

We did arrange for him to see a private counsellor who was qualified and experienced in work with young people as well, who has seen him in parallel with CAMHS. We didn't tell CAMHS though She was more manageable cost-wise, but a session a week mounts up. She has been fantastic and a real help in his recovery. It's also completely private, just him and the counsellor, whereas I sit in on the psych sessions, which has been quite helpful I think. He can moan about us with impunity!

DS did see a nurse practitioner at CAMHS while we waiting to see the psychiatrist but unfortunately DS was too ill to benefit very much. He needed the medication.

The thing with CAMHS is that you need to keep pushing them. If your DS is worryingly ill or deteriorates, ring them and speak to the duty clinician. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, unfortunately.

NotJanine Wed 02-Mar-16 11:04:48

Thank you for your replies and sharing your experiences. There is a lot to think about.

I did call CAMHS this week to tell them that DS was getting worse (although nothing critical) but they really didn't seem interested.

ButEmilylovedhim Wed 02-Mar-16 17:21:47

Sorry to hear that OP. CAMHS departments do vary such a lot. I think we got quite lucky despite the initial delay. At one point, I was advised (by someone who had been through it before) to phone every day. It's very hard to do that though (as if the whole thing wasn't bad enough) and goes against doing what we're brought up to do, to be patient and wait quietly in line.

It is hard when you know if they were a few years older, the GP would just go, yeah, here have some tablets and they'd be on their way to feeling a bit better. I know they have to be more cautious because of their tender years but my ds did get worse because of the delay. Hard days.

What moved CAMHS I think were the more physical, objective symptoms. Not sleeping til 5am, changes in appetite, changes in movement, things like that. If your ds has any of those, make sure CAMHS know and labour those points. I hope they see him soon. flowers

DraughtyWindow Thu 03-Mar-16 17:25:43

CAMHS are pretty useless. DD awaiting full ASD Assessment - now confirmed for mid April (originally went to Docs May 2014), previously been trying for 6 years to get some help but pushed from pillar to post. CAMHS told me to wait, that going privately wouldn't help as we haven't yet got a diagnosis/label. She mentions suicide, is violent towards me, (threatens me with knives on occasions), Social Workers cannot help, (involved as DD was s.abused by another pupil a year ago in school). Lone parent, no family. God, it's just awful :-(
Good luck - yes, phone every day. Keep a diary of events. Are there any help groups you can join in the interim?

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