Welcome to our service

What is CAMHS?

CAMHS is Gloucestershire's Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service. We are specialist NHS services offering support for children and young people with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties. 

Children can have a variety of different emotional and behavioural problems. Some of these will be short-lived, and others will be disorders that will need treatment. If a problem is easy to sort out, then most parents are able to do so without our help. Sometimes, you may need help to deal with problems, but we understand it is not always easy to ask for help. Going to see any health professional about a child’s emotional or behavioural difficulties can be a very daunting experience. Parents often feel anxious and worried. Our teams are here to work with you, in partnership, to help sort out your difficulties.

Our aim is to help your child to understand common mental health conditions and allow them to make choices that will affect their own mental and physical wellbeing. It is also about understanding that the way we feel, whether we are happy or sad, is all part of our mental health.

What should I do if I am worried about my child?

  • Talk to your child and try and find out what is worrying or upsetting them. Often there may be support you can offer and you can find out more about this by clicking here.
  • If you think your child could benefit from specialist support from a mental health service, you should discuss this with a professional who knows your child well. This could be a doctor, teacher or youth worker. We do not accept referrals directly from families, but any professional who works with your child is able to refer them to us.
  • We are not an emergency service. If you need urgent support contact the child’s GP or take them to the nearest emergency department. For more information see the 'Need Help Now' button in the top right hand corner of the page.

My child or teenager has been referred to CAMHS - what happens next?

Once we receive a referral, our referral screening team decides whether we are best placed to work with your child and family, or whether you would be better supported by another agency. If we decide that you would be best supported by another agency, we will always write to you explaining why. If you and your family can best be supported by us, we will send you a letter inviting you to a CHOICE appointment.

What is a CHOICE appointment?

A CHOICE appointment is a chance for your child and you to discuss worries and concerns. We will listen carefully and help you and your family make an informed choice about what service may best meet your needs. It may be that we can help, or perhaps another local service will offer the most appropriate support. It may help you and your child to write down what you want to say before the meeting.

At CHOICE, we work towards a joint agreement about what the current issues are, what changes are needed and then agree how best to achieve these goals within a partnership approach. Sometimes this CHOICE appointment is all that you and your family need to move on and manage the current difficulties.

If further support is needed, you will be offered a PARTNERSHIP appointment. At a PARTNERSHIP appointment we will discuss and jointly agree your child’s own care plan. A care plan details what services are being offered to your child and you and the reasons why. Next steps may involve your child meeting a team member on an individual basis, working within a group setting with other young people with similar difficulties or there may be the need for further specialist assessment sessions to work out what type of support will be best for your child.

CAMHS Learning Disability Team

Find out more about the support for children and young people with a learning disability.

What if I need help myself?

Caring for a child with emotional or mental health difficulties can be very hard and put you under strain. Tell us if you are finding things difficult. You can also seek support from your GP or contact our Let’s Talk service, which offers support if you are feeling depressed, anxious or stressed.

Find out more about Let's Talk by visiting www.letstalkglos.nhs.uk

Young Minds offer a parents helpline - https://youngminds.org.uk

Thoughts from parents

Here are some poems written by parents and carers who have experience of children and young people's mental health services.