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Appointment and Assessment



Information about Out Patient Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service often shortened to “CAMHS”    

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Teams (CAMHs) are based at clinics within the North, South, and East & West of Glasgow & in East Renfrew, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde & West Dunbartonshire. You can be referred to your local CAMH Team by your GP, Hospital Doctors, School, School Nurse, Educational Psychologists, or Social Worker. You would normally know that you’re Child or Young Person is being referred to the service as referrers are required to discuss this with you first to get your agreement.   Child & Adolescent Mental Health teams (CAMHS) are made up of highly qualified staff from a variety of professional backgrounds, who have different skills & training. They all have experience of working with children & young people who have mental health difficulties.

Staff Roles in CAMHS

Individual teams may vary, but the types of people you would see in CAMHS include:

  • Psychiatrist:  A child & adolescent Psychiatrist specialises in working with children & young people who are experiencing emotional, behavioural & psychiatric problems. They are doctors and are the only members of the team that can prescribe medicine or use the mental health act. All CAMHS teams have a Consultant Psychiatrist (the most senior grade of Doctor) and other grades of Doctors working with them.
  • Nurse Therapists: Mental Health Nurses are registered nurses who also have specialist child mental health training. Nurses will also often have additional training in various psychological therapies.  
  • Clinical Psychologist:  A Clinical Psychologist has a psychology degree with additional training in understanding & treating emotional & behavioural problems. Clinicians are trained in different types of therapies, including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
  • Psychotherapists: Use detailed observation and understanding of child behaviour, development & communication to help children & young people to understand why they feel the way they do and look at what lies behind their thoughts, feelings & behaviours.  
  • Family Therapists: Family Therapists work with families focusing on their strengths and successes and helping family members find constructive ways to help each other, by  understanding the interaction between the child or young person , their family or carers and their community
  • Occupational Therapist: Occupational Therapists use age appropriate activities to facilitate emotional growth & positive mental health. Their role is to help children/young people build up the confidence and skills needed to live a normal & fulfilling life.  
  • Dietitians: Dietitian translate the science of nutrition into practical information about food. Working with people to promote nutritional well-being, prevent food-related problems and treat disease. In NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde CAMHS teams have Dietitians that specialise in child and young people with eating disorders.

Each clinician brings to the team his/her own therapeutic knowledge, skills, abilities and interests and together the team provides case management, mental health assessments, therapeutic treatment & interventions.        

Assessment or “Choice” appointment 

When your referral is received you will be contacted by letter or phone call inviting your child/young person and their family to attend for an initial assessment, also called a 'Choice' appointment. As your referral is likely to be considered urgent your  appointment will be carried out at your local CAMH team and will normally last 1-1 1/2 hours. This will be your chance to meet members of the team and to discuss the current concerns/difficulties your child/young person is experiencing. Any of the multidisciplinary team can carry out this choice assessment, but it is most likely to be a nurse therapist. The assessment may include your child/young person being seen on their own, parents/carers being seen on their own & the whole family being seen together to:

  • identify symptoms & signs of disorder & diagnosis
  • evaluate strengths & vulnerabilities in the child/young  person & their family

The assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning phase usually takes 2-3 appointments. As part of a comprehensive assessment you may also be offered an appointment with other members of the team such as Psychiatrist and dietician and may include important physical health checks. Information may also be sought from others such as GP's, school, and paediatricians.       

Formulation and diagnosis

Assessment may result in a number of outcomes:

  • a clear diagnosis and formulation of the young person’s difficulties is made
  • the child/young person is accepted for treatment and mental health case coordination within the Child & Adolescent Mental Health Team
  • the child/young person and their family are given information and advice about their problems or are referred to another organisation
  • the referrer is provided with consultation & support

Case coordination: Each child/young person involved in CAMHS will be assigned a case coordinator, who could be from a variety of professional disciplines as listed above. The role of the case coordinator is to coordinate all aspects of the child/young person’s care in collaboration with the child/young person & their family or carers.

The role of the Connect-eating disorder team in assessment and treatment planning

The Connect-eating disorder (Connect-ed) team is a specialist eating disorder team which works with children and young people within all CAMHS teams in Greater Glasgow and Clyde. Connect-eating disorder clinicians work closely with all the CAMHS teams and should be viewed as part of the CAMHS team that you are being see in. All CAMHS staff regularly communicate about their patients to ensure the best care for them.   A Connect-eating disorder clinician, most often the Dietitian, will have a role with your CAMHS team and case coordinator in discussing treatment options with you & you will decide together what treatment is best and a plan will be made for commencing treatment. The case coordinator will be your central point of contact throughout you/ your Childs care in CAMHS.    

Last Updated: 25 September 2020