Children and Young People's Services




What does CAMHS mean?

CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services. Our approach is to work "with" families rather than "on" them. Our aim is to help you find the solutions that work best for you and your family. We have five CAMHS teams working in Halton, St Helens, Knowsley, Warrington and Wigan.

On this page we aim to give you as much information as possible, to explain what we can do to help you or your child.


So what is this CAMHS thing?

CAMHS is a team of people from different professional backgrounds who have training and skills in working with children, young people and families. We have five teams, in Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Warrington and Wigan. Although the size of our teams varies in each borough, the types of people you would see in each team are:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Nurses
  • Occupational therapists
  • Clinical psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Family therapists
  • Arts therapists
  • Mental health practitioners

What does the team do?

Our CAMHS teams can support young people who are experiencing diffi culties with behaviour or emotions and their families. They can help if you are finding it difficult to cope with family life, school or life in general.

These may be concerns such as:

  • Psychosis
  • Depressive disorders
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Severe learning disability
  • Tourette's syndrome and complex tic disorders
  • Self-harm and suicide attempts
  • Eating disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias and anxiety disorder
  • Mental health disorders associated with physical health problems 
Of course, having ADHD, being autistic or being anxious doesn’t mean someone needs to come to CAMHS. It’s when these things are persistent and have a severe impact upon your daily living and your ability to cope that CAMHS becomes an option.

We deliver specialist assessment, consultation, diagnosis and treatment in a range of settings, which meet children and young people’s needs for timely and efficient service delivery.

Click here for more information on CAMHS.

The five-star guide to our service


1. The start...


CAMHS is a specialist service which means that you can’t ring up and ask for an appointment. Referrals can be made by other people who have already met you and think that CAMHS might be able to help. Those people include:

  • Your GP (family doctor)

  • Health visitor

  • Social worker

  • Paediatrician (specialist children’s doctor)

  • Education psychologist or welfare officer

  • School health advisor

Once we receive your referral, we get in touch as soon as possible to let you know whether we think we can help and to offer a choice of appointments.

2. Your first appointment...

Depending on your age, you are usually seen with your parents or carers, when you first come but sometimes we will need to see you alone. Sometimes we also need to see your parents alone so don’t be too worried if this happens. It is important that everyone feels comfortable and able to talk openly about what worries they have.

All appointments are in private rooms. The first one, your CHOICE appointment, usually takes about 45 -60 minutes. If you are offered more appointments, they usually don’t take any longer than 45 - 60 minutes too, and we will do our best to agree a convenient time for you.

3. Your assessment...

When you have had your first appointment, we may need more information to help us decide what we can do to support you. This may mean speaking to teachers at school or other people who are known to you. We would always discuss this with you first. Sometimes we need to carry out further assessments and may have to ask another member of the CAMHS team to help. Don’t worry if this happens, it just gives you and us a better understanding of what is happening to you.

When we have all the information we need, we will talk to you about it and decide together whether we can help. If we decide CAMHS is the best service to help you, we will work together on a plan. This is your Care Plan that you have a copy of.

4. Treatment and therapy...

We offer lots of different types of treatments which include mostly talking, but sometimes also art, and sometimes medication. Your family or carers will usually be part of the treatment plan and you will need to work together in between visits to CAMHS.

We will have reviews every few months to see that we are all still agreed on how things are going.

5. Moving on from CAMHS...

When you are getting ready to move on from CAMHS, we will work with you to make sure you feel comfortable about your next steps. If you are going to another service, we will work closely with that service for a while to make sure the change is smooth and you feel supported.

And in a nutshell, that’s CAMHS

Feeling depressed, alone, worried, angry or feeling that nobody gets you and that you can’t cope are pretty common and understandable feelings.

CAMHS works with children, young people and families to understand more and to learn how to manage those feelings, thoughts, and behaviours so they don’t seem to be in control of your life.

You can view CAMHS coping which was designed by one of our service users by clicking here.



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