We help children and young people, their families and carers when someone is experiencing emotional wellbeing or mental health difficulties.

Help for Parents and Carers

We know that it can be really tough to support a young person with a mental health difficulty, and to know what to do to help them. We want to help make this easier for you, so we have put together a list of some of the life issues or difficulties that they might be experiencing, and the top tips we would recommend to help to manage these difficulties together as a family.

To make a referral to Hampshire Specialist CAMHS, please complete the following referral form.

What can I do next?

Have you have looked at the relevant information and advice for the information you are looking for? Have you tried any of the self-help options? Have you accessed support from the suggested apps, websites and organisations that are listed?

If you are still not able to find the information or support you are seeking, then it might be helpful to speak to a CAMHS clinician. Please contact our Single Point of Access (SPA) number on 0300 304 0050.

Zero Tolerance Approach

We understand that this is a stressful and frustrating time in everyone’s lives, and that parents and carers very much want the best for their families. Sometimes however, this can lead to some of our staff being subjected to threatening behaviour or abuse from a small number of people.

We ask you to be mindful of the impact this can have on individuals working within our service.


What is Hampshire CAMHS and what can it help with?

Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service is an NHS specialist service, provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for young people aged 5-18 years and their families who are experiencing difficulties with their mental and emotional health. Many young people experience difficulties with their mental health such as anxiety, low mood, trauma, eating difficulties plus many others which can impact on all aspects of life such as education, home life, hobbies and interests, socialising and having fun.

It is important to know that everyone has mental health and that we can all experience tough times and this can cause our mental health to suffer. CAMHS work with young people, their families and other important organisations (such as schools) to achieve the following:

• Assess and diagnose mental health and neurodevelopmental difficulties
• Identify realistic goals or changes
• Identify and build on strengths
• Improve self-esteem and confidence to cope with difficulties
• Learn emotional coping techniques to help manage difficult or upsetting thoughts, feelings, urges or experiences
• Empower the young person to identify, express and communicate their needs, take responsibility for their health and wellbeing and feel confident in knowing where and how to get additional support if necessary

Hampshire CAMHS Thresholds

What CAMHS don’t do

We cannot “cure” mental health difficulties or prevent difficulties ever coming back. Lots of things can impact on our mental health, some of which are beyond anyone’s control. Instead we work with you to help you learn how to manage your difficulties and in many cases overcoming them is absolutely possible. There may also be some difficulties or experiences which CAMHS are not able to provide support for. In these cases we will help you access appropriate help from other organisations and services such as drug and alcohol services and bereavement services plus many others.

What will CAMHS expect from me?

You will need to be willing and committed to attending sessions that are offered as well as trying and practising techniques until you find what works well for you. You will need to be prepared to work with us in this way so that you have the best chance of achieving your goals/recovery.

Overcoming difficulties also depends on how much an individual would like to change. Often change can be scary and many young people feel they don’t have the energy or the motivation to change or try different things. If you have made the step of asking for help and attending an assessment and are committed to making changes, we will work with you to help you achieve your goals/recovery.

How do I get an appointment at CAMHS and how long will it take to get one?

Anyone can help you get an appointment at Hampshire Specialist CAMHS; you, your parents or carers, your teachers, a health professional (such as a school nurse or GP) or a social worker, using our online referral form which you can complete and submit online. You can also call Hampshire CAMHS on 0300 304 0050 (Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm).

If you are experiencing difficulties, it is really important to talk to those around you so that they can support you with these and with getting the right help and support.

We would recommend talking to CAMHS before making a referral so that we can offer advice and guidance and to decide whether CAMHS is the right service to meet your needs. CAMHS may also be able to offer recommendations about other services, organisations and things that may be helpful.

If after receiving a referral it is agreed that it would be helpful for CAMHS to offer an appointment, you will be given a date as soon as possible. Please be aware that there may be a wait for an appointment. If you feel that things are becoming more difficult or more urgent whilst you are waiting for appointment, please contact the Single Point of Access for CAMHS on 0300 304 0050 to let us know.

What can I expect at my first appointment?

• At your first appointment we’ll start with introductions and outline what will happen during the appointment. Your first appointment may be by telephone or face to face
• We’ll ask you to fill in some questionnaires. These help us to understand your strengths and any difficulties you might be experiencing
• Your clinician will also talk to you about confidentiality and consent to share information
• The aim of your first appointment is to find out what your goals are and what you would like to be different
• By the end of the appointment we will decide together the best way forward in order to help you reach your goals/recovery
• If you have any questions, worries or concerns please speak to your clinician – we’re all here to listen and to help, your initial appointment is a chance to discuss what is currently going on for you.

I/we have difficulties getting to appointments what should I do?

We have a leaflet entitled ‘About your CAMHS appointment’ which you can download here.

This leaflet clearly explains what to do if you have difficulties getting to appointments, it may address other questions you may have and also explains our appointment policy.

Will you tell the school?

We understand that there are lots of reasons why you might not want information shared with your young person’s school. We will want to understand those reasons so that we can make sure you still receive the help and support you might need.

There are some situations when we will need to share information with others. If your young person or someone they know are being harmed or are at risk of harm, we have a duty to protect anyone from harm so we will find a way together to share information in an appropriate way. We will include you in all discussions as much as possible when sharing information is involved.

If you are worried about information being shared please speak to your clinician about this so you can agree a way forward together.

What happens next?

• Following your first appointment, if it is agreed that CAMHS can help you a number of things may happen
• You may be offered a group to attend. We know that for some that groups with other people experiencing similar difficulties are the best support. These will be run by our experienced clinicians
• You may be offered a further period of assessment and intervention by one of our clinicians. They will contact you to arrange this.

How long will I have to come to CAMHS for?

This will depend on many factors including the type of difficulties you are experiencing and your goals. There will be regular reviews of how things are progressing and discussions with you and your family about the care we provide. At CAMHS we aim to empower young people to learn and develop skills to help themselves cope and work towards their goals.

How long do sessions last?

Sessions usually last between 50 minutes and one hour. Some sessions are longer depending on the therapy approach being used. You can use as much or as little of your session time as you want.

Will I have to take medication?

No, not everyone that comes to CAMHS is prescribed medication. Medication can be helpful for some young people depending on what difficulties they are experiencing. If you have any questions or worries about medication, you can ask your clinician.

You might also find useful information and guidance about psychiatric medication on this website:

It’s the weekend or evening and CAMHS is closed - what do I do?

If there is an emergency and you or someone else is at risk of serious harm, call 999 immediately and tell anyone else who may be near you so they can help.

If your young person is in crisis and you do not know what to do, click here.

If it is not an emergency, encourage your young person to find someone to talk to; a parent/ carer or family member, friend or partner, or call the helpline. If you already see someone at CAMHS, you can call after the weekend or the next day to speak with them or someone else in the team.

What happens if I have stopped coming to CAMHS but need more help?

We know that when people finish their work with us and are discharged (closed) from our service, people can worry that they might not cope. It is important that if you are working with CAMHS that you complete a relapse prevention plan before you finish. It is important to keep this and follow the plan if you are struggling.

You can use the self-help pages of this website to remind yourself of the top tips to help you cope and access extra self-help information and advice. The most important thing to do is to let a parent/carer, teacher or trusted adult know that you are struggling so that they can support you.

Young people can sometimes be re-referred to CAMHS if this is agreed this would be the most helpful thing to do.

Do CAMHS provide other specialist services?


• Specialist Eating Disorder Team

This team covers the whole of Hampshire and works with young people who have eating disorders and difficulties and their families. Our aim is to see young people as quickly as possible and provide specialist treatment. The team also provides information and guidance for anyone who might be concerned about an eating difficulty. The Specialist Eating Disorder Team can be contacted Monday-Friday 9-5pm on 0300 304 0062.

• i2i (Urgent Assessment and Home Treatment Team)

Our i2i team provide specialist intensive assessment and treatment to young people who are experiencing crisis or who require extra care to try to prevent crises from happening. This service can only be accessed by young people already coming to CAMHS and who have been referred by their CAMHS worker. The team provide urgent assessments and help develop care plans with you, your family, the CAMHS team, school and other agencies (where needed) that aim to keep young people as safe as possible.

• Learning Disability Care

Hampshire CAMHS also offer their services to children and young people with a learning disability, making sure that young people with a learning disability who also have a mental health difficulty can get the help and support they need. Every team in Hampshire CAMHS has a specialist learning disability CAMHS worker who can offer a range of approaches depending on each person’s needs. One of the main approaches used is Positive Behaviour Support. This is an approach to support children and young people when they have behaviours that can be challenging.

We work together to find out why a behaviour may occur, including triggers and outcomes. This helps us to think of strategies to help a young person manage their feelings and helps parents or carers to respond in helpful ways.

Further information can be found at:

• Youth Offending Team and Forensic CAMHS

The Youth Offending Team (YOT) is a service provided by Children’s Services for young people who are involved in the Criminal Justice System. CAMHS provides specialist assessments and ways to help young people who have been involved in crime and are working with YOT. These CAMHS clinicians work within the YOT teams and alongside the YOT workers.

Forensic CAMHS is a specialist service for young people who experience a mental health difficulty and who may pose a risk to themselves or others. CAMHS workers in this team provide training, and advice and consultation to other professionals as well as specialist assessments and work with the young person and their family. The Clinicians in this team work closely with children’s services, schools, the Police and other relevant organisations to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of the young person and those around them

How do I make a complaint or pass on a compliment?

Contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS).

Telephone: 0300 304 2198


Write to:

Patient Advice and Liaison Service Swandean Arundel Road Worthing West Sussex BN13 3EP

Or for more information, go to

What do certain words mean? Read our Glossary.

Here are some of the words that you might come across on this website or when people are talking about CAMHS or mental health.


Assessment - An assessment is a chance for CAMHS workers to ask questions which will help us to understand your current situation and the difficulties you are experiencing, as well as finding out about what changes you would like to make.


Behaviour - Behaviour means how we act and respond to things.


Care plan - A care plan is the agreement that you make with your CAMHS worker about what steps will help you to work towards your goals and the changes you’d like to make. Care plans will be reviewed often and can change depending on your needs and goals.

Clinician - Clinician is a name for someone who works at CAMHS directly with young people and their families. They might also be called a CAMHS worker.

CPA - A CPA stands for Care Programme Approach and is a meeting between you and your CAMHS worker plus anyone else involved in supporting you to agree your care plan.

Consent - Consent means permission or an agreement for something to happen. It is important that CAMHS understand what you agree to when we are working with you. Your CAMHS worker will explain and go through this with you.

Confidentiality - Confidentiality means keeping information about you private. There will be different types of confidentiality and your CAMHS worker will explain and go through this with you.


Discharge - Discharge means that it has been agreed between you and your CAMHS worker that your work with CAMHS has come to an end and you no longer need to come for appointments.

Duty Service - CAMHS are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. During this time, there will be a qualified CAMHS worker who is able to offer information or advice. This is known as a duty service.


Emotion - Emotion is another word for feelings. We all experience a range of feelings such as happiness, worry, sadness and anger.





Intervention - Intervention means treatment. There are many different types of interventions or treatments that CAMHS offer. To find out more about the other services provided, go to the FAQ ‘Do CAMHS provide other specialist services?’.





Medication - Medication may be tablets or liquids prescribed by a doctor (or psychiatrist) to help with different difficulties.

Mental Health - Mental health refers to our thoughts and feelings (psychological and emotional wellbeing). Everyone has mental health.

Mental Illness or Disorder - Mental illness can impact on how someone thinks feels and acts. This might have an impact on how people cope with some or all aspects of their life (such as school or college, friendships, doing activities). Mental illness can happen to anyone at any time.



Outcome Measures - When you come to CAMHS you will be asked to complete questionnaires about your thoughts, feelings and difficulties. These questionnaires are called outcome measures and they help you, your family and your CAMHS worker check the progress you are making.


Physical Health Assessment - Some young people need to have their physical health checked. The types of checks we might do are; checking weight and height, blood pressure and temperature.



Referral - A referral is the way in which key information about a young person is given to CAMHS. This information will include personal details (like your date of birth), contact details and details of the difficulties you are having.

Risk Assessment - A risk assessment is a process of identifying situations or factors which might cause harm to you or to someone else. A risk assessment will also include things, people, situations or other factors which reduce or prevent risks or crises from happening. You, your CAMHS worker and anyone else involved in caring or supporting you will be involved in thinking about risk to make sure you are as safe as possible.


Single Point of Access (SPA) team - Although Hampshire CAMHS has many different clinics and offices across Hampshire, we have one telephone number and team that you can contact if you want to get in touch with CAMHS. The SPA team do many things such as help manage new referrals and provide information and advice. You can contact Hampshire CAMHS on 0300 304 0050 or by emailing