Who can make a referral?
Mostly prrofessionals involved with children and young people, including GPs, teachers, youth workers, educational psychologists, school nurses and social workers can make a referral to CAMHS.
How to make a referral
If you have concerns about a child or young person’s mental health, contact your local CAMHS. It is useful to have certain key information when making a referral, including:
- The full name(s) of the child or young person being referred
- The surname of their parent/carer if different from the child or young person
- Date of birth and address, including postcode
- Telephone numbers; for young people aged over 16 this should include a mobile phone number (if they have one) so that CAMHS can contact them directly (if appropriate)
- Names and ages of family members
- Name of school
- Name of registered GP
- Other agencies known to be involved (e.g. Connexions, education, social services)
- Significant medical problems/medication
- A brief history of presenting problems, with your opinion of the effect these have on the child and their mental health and his/her family members
- An indication of your opinion of the degree of risk to self or others and to what degree the problem is affecting everyday life for the individual and family
Even if a referral is not appropriate, they may be able to point you in the direction of useful support services for the young person/ family.
It is not possible to give absolute definitions about which children or young people should be referred to CAMHS. CAMHS supports children, young people and families whose social, emotional and behavioural needs are not met by universal services, such as those in the community and primary care.
What happens after the referral has been made?
New referrals are discussed by CAMHS teams at their weekly referrals meetings. Each referral is prioritised according to the information given in the referral.
The family and referrer are then contacted with information, either about an appointment or alternative next steps. A CAMHS worker may contact you for further information, or to think with you about the best way of engaging the family in an assessment.
If a family or young person’s problems worsen whilst you are waiting to hear the outcome from a referral, contact the CAMHS team and provide them with an update. In cases where someone’s safety may be at risk, either as a result of self-harm, potential harm to others or child protection issues, please contact the relevant agency immediately and directly (for example, accident and emergency (A&E), police, social care).
Once a referral has been accepted at CAMHS, we sometimes ask professionals involved in families lives to fill out Routine Outcome Measures. These questionnaires will help us understand families from the professionals’ perspective.