CAMHS

CAMHS stands for Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services. It is the name to describe the NHS services that assess and treat young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.

CAMHS supports young people with difficulties, such as depression, self-harm, violence or anger, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, problems with food and anxiety, among many others.

The CAMHS team is made up of many specialists such as child and adolescent psychiatrists (doctors specialising in mental health), nurses, therapists, psychologists, support workers as well as other professionals.


Covid update for Swansea Bay University Health Board CAMHS Service:

COVID 19 has resulted in changes to the way the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) deliver mental health services across Swansea Bay for children and young people. They are now working with children, young people and their families via a combination of video calls (via the platform Attend Anywhere), telephone calls and face-to-face appointments, to meet individual need.

Whilst they are restricted in how they deliver the service during this time, they have made changes to ensure that children, young people and their families get the advice and support they need. They have established a Single Point of Contact to ensure that all young people, families and professionals across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot can access advice from CAMHS. All contact with the service should be made via this telephone line.


Available Services

Swansea Bay CAMHS Telephone Single Point of Contact / Referral Line

  • Open access ‘front door’ to Swansea Bay CAMHS
  • For all children / young people & their families, and for all professionals
  • Provides telephone advice, support and referral triage for all
  • Provides access to the CAMHS Crisis Team for urgent referrals
  • Provides Duty Clinician support for those already open to CAMHS
  • 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. Please contact 01639 862744

Swansea Bay CAMHS Crisis Team

  • Operates 9am – 9:30pm seven days per week
  • Provides direct assessment and short-term follow-up for urgent referrals
  • Referrals should be made via the CAMHS Telephone Single Point of Contact / Referral Line (01639 862744) Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and via Morrison Hospital Switchboard (for hospital and GP referrals only) outside of these hours.

Early Intervention in Psychosis Service

A service for young people aged 14 – 25, who may be experiencing early symptoms of psychosis.

9am – 5pm Monday to Friday

Telephone: 01639 862957 (Heidi McGregor)

Email: SBU.EIPService@wales.nhs.uk


About CAMHS

CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

We are a team made of Doctors (Psychiatrists) Nurses, a range of therapists, Psychologists and support workers.

We use a range of therapies to help young people identify and reduce or manage difficulties.

CAMHS accept referrals for children and young people (up until they are 17 years and 9months) who have a mental health problem which fulfils one or more of the following criteria:

  • When emotional health services (e.g. school counselling) have not resolved the problem and specialist CAMHS input is required
  • Where mental health issues have a major impact on activities of daily life over an extended period (your performance in school may have deteriorated or you no longer meet with friends)
  • Where the problem is more serious than a “normal reaction” to an “everyday adverse life event”
  • Where there is a high risk/ severity (e.g. serious self-harm/attempted suicide, low weight for height, psychosis)
  • Moderate/severe emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive patterns of behaviour an emerging borderline personality disorder
  • An eating disorder
  • A psychotic illness
  • ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

CAMHS is a service made up of several teams including

Primary CAMHS

Specialist CAMHS

Crisis Team

Eating Disorder Service

Inpatient Services

Community Intensive Therapy Team

Early Psychosis Team

The first two can be accessed via your GP. If you are then seen by PCAMHS of SCAMHS and they feel you need a more specialised service they will refer you to the relevant team.

ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder assessments are no longer carried out by CAMHS. There is now a specialist Neuro Developmental team in place who provide this service. In order to be consider for an assessment you will need to speak to your school SENCo. If they feel that you fit the presentation for either of ADHD, ASD or both they will refer you to the ND team. Your school and GP will have more information on this process.

What to expect from your first appointment with CAMHS

You will need to be referred by a professional (e.g. GP, Social worker, School SENCo). Once we have received and accepted the referral you will receive a phone call or a letter in the post notifying you of your appointment date and time.

On the day of the appointment you will meet with one of our Nurses, Therapists or Doctors.   You will have the option of being seen alone or with your parent or carer. Some people like to have someone in with them for their first appointment, others like to be seen alone, either is fine, we want you to feel as relaxed as possible.

If you have been to hospital or other clinics before you will probably find our clinic a little different. We like to think that our rooms are friendly and welcoming (like our staff) with comfy chairs.

We call the first appointment Choice and it will last between one and two hours. The purpose of the appointment is to find out as much as possible about you and your life, the difficulties and the good stuff. This will mean that the person you meet will be asking lots of questions, but it’s ok. It’s about you, so you will know all the right answers as you are the expert on you.

You are in control of what you tell us and we will not pressure you if there are things you are uncomfortable talking about. However the more you tell us, the more helpful it will be for you as it means that we will be more able to understand your situation and what support you need. Your CAMHS person will do their best to make it as easy as possible for you. A lot of people are very nervous before but leave feeling much calmer. Remember we are here to help you.

It is also helpful for us to hear from parents or carers, so if you do choose to be seen alone we may ask them to join at the end of the session. It is up to you if you would like to stay in the room for this.

We use the information gathered from that session to decide with you, if you are needing support, and if you are, who the best service to help is and the best way of helping. You will have a say in this, sometimes it will be CAMHS, other times we may suggest an alternative and direct you to a more appropriate service for your needs

After the session your CAMHS worker will write you a letter summarising the Choice appointment and they will include a plan of what happens next, which will usually have been made with you at the end of the session.

We regard Confidentiality as very important and we only share information about our session with you if you give us permission.   The only time we have to break this rule if we have concerns regarding yours or another person safety.


Useful Links

A beginner's guide to CAMHS

YoungMinds provide a beginner’s guide to the NHS’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) for young people and parents.

YoungMinds Guide to CAMHS

CAMHS, 'Speaking the same language'

YoungMinds have put together a list of helpful words (along with an explanation of their meaning), to help children and young people understand CAMHS and their rights when receiving care from mental health services.

YoungMinds Glossary and Posters

Free PDF download guide

A booklet from Young Minds with helpful information about CAMHS and how to prepare for your first visit.

Download for free (pdf).

Download YoungMinds CAMHS Booklet