Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
CAMHS - Information for Parents and Carers
What is CAMHS?
CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. We are a team of doctors, nurses, psychologists, therapists and social workers who help young people up to the age of 18 with mental health problems.
Many of these young people do not have mental illnesses but may have serious problems with their emotions, behavior, relationships with other people or coping with stress or trauma. We aim to offer the most up to date and best researched treatments and will discuss the options with the young person and their parents/guardians.
Why are the family involved?
It is possible for older teenagers to be seen separately, even without their parents’ knowledge or consent, but we do not encourage this.
You will be an important source of information about your child and your understanding of what is wrong and what is needed is as important as theirs.
We respect your responsibility for your child and would want to involve you as much as possible in decisions about your child’s treatment. You may be vital as a ‘co-therapist’ in your child’s treatment, as you have the most important relationship and influence on them.
Often working at CAMHS involves sharing sensitive and private information. We can assure you that this will be treated as confidential and only shared with CAMHS staff involved in your child’s care.
Your child may wish to keep information confidential from you and we would respect this, as long as it does not indicate that your child is in danger.
Other professionals may be involved with your child’s care or treatment and it is good practice to work with them and share certain information. In this case we would ask for your permission before doing this.
All people who work with children and young people have a responsibility to ensure that they are safe. If we discover that your child is at risk of serious harm we have a duty to share this with social services or the police so they can be protected if necessary.
At a first appointment you may meet with one, or two CAMHS professionals. There is a lot of information to find out and you should allow up to an hour and a half for this first meeting. Often much of the meeting will involve all the members of the family who have come along but usually there will be a chance for your child to speak to one of the CAMHS workers on their own. If you want to share some information away from your child please say that you would like some time to talk privately.
If you are receiving income support, income based job seekers allowance, working tax credits or child tax credits please bring a letter indicating that you receive benefits, and your ticket with you and we can refund your travel costs. Please let us know in advance if you have mobility problems which would make it difficult for you, or your child to climb stairs.