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Can anyone talk to me about/share their experiences with CAMHS?

(18 Posts)
kitsnicket Fri 20-Nov-15 04:05:02

Thank Christ not for me or my child. But. Yes. Things are starting to kick off with the child of a friend of mine and I would like to know...stuff. I do have experience with adult mental health services in all their complacency, incompetence, and bureaucracy, but I would rather hope it was different for children. Something tells me it's not, though, and I want to know anything and everything you wonderful MNers can share with me (sorry for the vagueness, but it's not me and I don't feel right going into masses of detail, y'know?)

Please help: what's likely to happen? What do they do with 15/16-year-old girls that are dangers to themselves or need to be 'involuntarily' committed? If you can (and I completely understand if you can't), please tell me your worst stories. This is a very close friend of mine and I want to be ready for the kind of things that could happen so I can be ready for worse-case scenario.


Sugarsugar123 Fri 20-Nov-15 14:47:19

They are hit or miss dependent on area/doctor. First time round for us was diagnosis then they were fairly helpful in terms of contact advice but the second DD had a "good" week they were keen to get her off the books. The good week didn't continue so we were referred back (another 10 month wait same as first time) this time was crap. DD was pretty uncooperative (as always) so they were a bit woolly suggested meditation and skipping DD hated it. Anyhow she had another good week and was back off their books.

insan1tyscartching Fri 20-Nov-15 16:14:22

Our CAMHs are in the main hopeless. Ds's paed referred him directly to the "man at the top" (called in a favour) as he said the others wouldn't be of any use. The consultant psychiatrist was indeed a very knowledgeable and useful referral however it is common practise here to work your way up to see him which isn't helpful when your child is in crisis and the people below him are useless. He did offer a course of CBT with one of his "most experienced" people, we went to one appointment, it was obvious within minutes she hadn't bothered to read ds's file which the psych had assured us she would and what she was advising was very basic ASD handling strategies which might have been appropriate to a parent of a newly diagnosed child but ds had been diagnosed 15 years and we were long past warnings and routines hmm

Peebles1 Fri 20-Nov-15 16:47:08

My DD was 15 when she developed anxiety disorder and could barely leave the house - had panic attacks etc.. GP referred to CAMHS, waited 8 weeks for assessment appointment. After that, another 8 week wait. All this time she was at home, unable to attend school (GCSE year, November onwards). We were at a loss, had never come across this before. Her second appointment was the start of her 'treatment'. By then I'd downloaded a self help booklet that she'd worked through at home (CBT, basically) and had lots of talks and discussions with her, allowing her to open up etc.. She didn't warm to the CAMHS staff member, felt she didn't say anything she hadn't already read in the booklet and on the internet. Then she was given her next appointment - 8 weeks time!! Terrible. I'd told her she'd get weekly therapy, so felt I'd really let her down. She threw up her hands in disgust and refused to return. Said she would 'get myself back to school without their help' (which she did by end Feb - on a part time basis). I think they must be over-worked and under-staffed, and my daughter wasn't at such a crisis point as your friend's daughter sounds (though mine had self harmed once). However, what use is an appointment every 8 weeks?!
The other issue (not CAMHS' fault) is that my DD, which I'm sure is true of many teenagers, isn't going to open up and talk about extremely sensitive issues to someone she doesn't connect with. She told me she talked to me, and a little to her best friend and boyfriend, but no one else. And she didn't feel comfortable talking to a stranger. I think our downfall was putting all our faith in CAMHS to be the answer, but in the end I think it was support from those around her who love her, and a lot of Googling!
I do hope your friend's DD has a better experience.

GnomeDePlume Sat 21-Nov-15 20:05:40

DD(15) was referred to crisis team as a result of taking an overdose of paracetamol. As a result DD has received CBT, has been referred to (and seen) a psychiatrist. She is now being assessed for ASD.

All referrals have been handled very quickly.

All things considered I would say that our experience has been good.

FiveGoMadInDorset Sat 21-Nov-15 20:08:42

We managed to get a referral which was accepted and had three appointments before DD was signed of, but they didn't do the report that the Paediatrician asked for to assess DD for Aspergers. I work for the same NHS trust that runs our CAMHS and they have come out really badly in the latest inspection

pestilence13610 Sat 21-Nov-15 20:18:36

'Involuntarily' committal is unusual, as resources don't run to it except in extreme circumstances. Usually direct referral from hospital after suicide attempt. For a child with a parent requesting this they will look at private arrangements to care for the child and counselling of various types.
Usually they have to damage themselves to get help. However, it does vary from place to place.
Has your friend been to GP?

Noeuf Sat 21-Nov-15 20:51:07

I don't really understand your question op before I reveal any personal experiences.
Your op reads a bit weirdly - if you are worried about your friends dd wouldn't you just ask for experiences rather than worst case scenarios? It sounds a teeny bit journalist maybe?

kitsnicket Sat 21-Nov-15 21:21:56

@pestilence13160 - no, she hasn't. Her mum doesn't really believe she needs it and she's technically in a sort of voluntary group therapy but I don't think it's been giving her the one-to-one help she needs as, as far as I can TELL, her condition is worsening and listening to other people's problems has sort of just compounded her other issues. I just fear that it will get so bad that eventually an involuntary move will be the only thing to do. I just don't know much about it and I wish I could do more for her.

@Noeuf - sorry, I was being a bit dramatic (!). Or, well, maybe dramatic is the wrong word. I read the OP back and it does sound odd. It's not that I WANT bad experiences, I sincerely hope you have all had good experiences, but because this is my friend's DD, she, as in the mum, wants to believe the best, and I fear she is being somewhat 'delusional' as in overly hopeful, but I don't have a good opinion of the NHS, esp. not mental health services. So I kind of wrote that in anger because I want the 'real story' so one of us can at least be prepared for what her poor DD is in for. I want perspective because I'm so used to this girl's mother telling me that there's nothing all that serious wrong, obviously just growing pains and there'll absolutely be help available, etc etc...

I honestly do just want people's experiences - and I can't edit my previous post - but I want to know people's real experiences and the nuts and bolts of it, not what I could get off Google or hear from what they "should" do because we all know that in practical terms, it works differently. So what I actually mean is unvarnished. Sorry if you think I'm being ghoulish; I wrote that while I was pretty freaked out and I'm just so worried.

Thanks for all the help so far. It's been so comforting just to know that other people have 'been there, done that.' (What a terrible thing to have to think about...)

Noeuf Sat 21-Nov-15 21:48:28

Ok well thank you for your explanation. In my experience camhs have not provided any therapy and 'urgent' referrals are seen within about six weeks. I am now on month nine following an assessment waiting for the outcome.

GnomeDePlume Sun 22-Nov-15 08:24:23

For us the good things have been that DD's problems are being taken seriously and addressed quickly.

The less good things are that there seems to be a 'one size fits all' attitude to self harm. There is a lot of focus on bullying, social media problems etc. If these arent the problems then they are a bit stumped.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Nov-15 21:21:18

Pros: Each individual practitioner has been helpful and is trying their best.

Cons: Communication has been inconsistent. Case has been 'lost' twice, once during a period of acute ill health. One particularly difficult period when the situation was too severe for CAMHS but not severe enough for CCAT, so fell in the gaps between the two.

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Nov-15 21:23:46

CCAT = Crisis Care Assessment Team (or something like that)

TheSecondOfHerName Sun 22-Nov-15 21:27:53

More cons: due to staff turnover and referrals to different services, the child / young person sometimes has to explain the whole thing (from the beginning) to half a dozen different people or more, at a time when they are already feeling distressed and vulnerable

Another pro: when CAMHS are concerned, they are capable of moving fairly quickly (appointment with psychiatrist suddenly became available within 48h)

Ripeningapples Fri 27-Nov-15 22:05:04

Where I live NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE. I don't know if this is a resources issue or a can't be arsed embedded cultural issue. I am very lucky that we had enough money to pay for private care but disgusted that there was no support or advice at any level to help with the engagement of this.

I think it's a mixture of attitude and resources. I am not letting the matter drop. Have seen my local MP who has been supportive if non committal. Have made a formal complaint which has met with a half way response. The local trust is now offering to arrange a meeting with me and some of their staff.

The situation is, as far as I can see, wholly unacceptable and nothing is being done to prevent young people from escalating from the point where they are just about coping to the point where they have to drop out due to the lack of help.

overall I am pretty shocked at the standards I have seen and the lack of joined up thinking. I has all seemed a bit "Brian" and "Dylan" in real terms too slow and too spaced out in their own world with very little grounding in reality and about what young people actually need. The service here seems designed to meet the needs of staff rather than the needs of young people.

The bit that shocks me most is that DH and I are both professionals and have been unable to navigate what is available or ensure our DD receives the care she deserves and the care that might help her get better via the NHS. If we can't get help for our much loved dd, it sends shivers down my spine about what is available out there for those who can't be effective advocates, who don't have the skills to parent properly and who don't have the money to pay for what the NHS seems incapable of providing.

Noeuf Fri 27-Nov-15 22:41:30

Agree with Apple's. Written complaint at least four weeks ago - no acknowledgement at all. Next step will be my mp.

smileyforest Fri 27-Nov-15 22:47:30

I agree, spent 2.5 days on phone constantly to get urgent referral for my son, Only got the help as I had contacts and I'm in the Profession myself ( not Mental Health) Usual, not enough money or resources.....and most Gp's have no understanding of Mental Health

Nepotism Fri 27-Nov-15 22:50:11

Agree with the negative as stated by TheSecond.... Four years on, three suicide attempts, three different ADs, God knows how many different people and she's now too old for CAMHS and adult services are even worse....told to refer herself for counselling after an overdose. I'm on permanent suicide watch and at the end of my tether.

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