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Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service



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Have you ever wondered what was meant by a term used by the CAMHS staff?  On this page we have done our best to explain the terms used within the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service


An adult who can speak and act on your behalf


Anxiety is the term used to describe experiences such as chronic fear, tension and panic attacks.  Some people have an overwhelming feeling of dread that prevents them getting on with everyday life.

Art Therapist

Someone who offers sessions with talking and art materials to help you express and explore your feelings. Art therapy may help you find out more about yourself, which can lead to positive changes.


The initial meeting with CAMHS where the team listen to you and decide the best way to help you.

BESD Schools

Schools for children and young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties.


Common Assessment Framework - a way for everyone involved to work together at the centre of decisions made about your care and treatment.


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

CAMHS Social Worker

Someone who is interested in how your family work and how this affects you growing up.  They work with you and your family to help you keep safe and to keep your family together.


A Carer is someone who looks after a person who is ill, frail, disabled or mentally ill, including parents of children with learning or physical disabilities.

Care Plans

An agreement between you and your health professional to help you manage your health day to day and to help you with your recovery.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) aims to help you to change the way you think, feel and behave.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

A doctor who is specially trained to work with children and young people with mental health problems.  They identify the problem and may prescribe medicines for you if necessary.


The building where a CAMHS consultation would usually take place.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

A trained nurse who has a special interest in your thoughts and feelings. They can also help cope with the physical effects of mental health problems.

Clinical Psychologist

People who are trained to help children and young people understand the links between their thoughts, feelings and behaviour.  They may suggest things for you to try to help you cope with difficult feelings.  They may use games and puzzles to help you find out what you are best at to help you at school.


This means not telling other people about what you tell them in private. There are rules about sharing information about you, people are only told what they need to know in order to help you.  Sometimes when staff are worried about your safety, they may have to tell certain people certain things about you, this is part of their job to keep you safe.


This means saying yes to something that affects you.  Informed consent means that you fully understand what you are agreeing to.


Professionals who help you to explore feelings about your life so that you can reflect about what is happening and find different ways of doing things.


Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy.  Its main goal is to teach you skills to cope with stress, regulate emotions and improve relationships with others.


Department for Children, Schools and Families (Central Government)


Depression is one of the most common mental health problems.  People who have been diagnosed with clinical depression have a constant feeling of despair and of being weighed down.  The person may find it difficult getting out of bed in the morning.


When you  officially leave CAMHS.

Dual Diagnosis

Dual diagnosis is the term used to describe a person with a diagnosis of mental illness who also misuses substances i.e. drugs or alcohol.

Eating Disorders

People who have an eating disorder find their life becomes centred on food.  Anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating are all examples of eating disorders.


Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a form of psychotherapy to resolve the development of trauma-related disorders caused by exposure to distressing, traumatising or negative life events.

Family Therapist

A professional who works with the whole family.  They help families to think about changes they can make so everyone gets on better.

Family Solutions

Teams provided by Children’s Services in order to reduce likelihood of family breakdown.


Another word for treatment.  It means that you and the staff at CAMHS are working together to help you manage your difficulties.  Intervening is like standing in the way of something and stopping it going any further.

Key Worker

This is a named individual who is designated as your main contact and support worker within the service.


Medicine (usually tablets) given to you by a doctor (usually a Psychiatrist at first, maybe your family doctor later) to help you feel better or more in control of your feelings.  There should be careful discussion with you and your parents / carers before medication is prescribed (given) and you should ask if you do not understand the pros and cons of taking the medication.

Mental Health Act 1983

The Mental Health Act 1983 is the main Act of Parliament setting out the rights of people receiving mental health services.  It allows the hospital to either compel you to be admitted to hospital or prevent you from leaving hospital. Health workers use the law when they believe it will be a risk to you or others if you are not in hospital.

Mental Health Practitioner

Professionally qualified and trained in mental health, these practitioners provide various types of therapy for children, young people and families.


National Youth Advocacy Service.

Play Therapy

Helps children understand muddled feelings and upsetting events that they haven’t had the chance to sort out properly.  Rather than having to explain what is troubling them, children use play to communicate.

Primary Mental Health Specialists

Professionals who mostly work by offering advice and support to people you already know, like teachers.  They can visit you at home or go to meetings at your school.


Pupil Referral Unit.


Professionals who offer longer and more in-depth therapy to work through your feelings and what may be behind them.


This describes the process of someone you know contacting CAMHS as they are worried about you and setting up an appointment for you to see us.