Should I make a referral?

Please note that from 1 February 2024 Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will transfer to new providers.

If the person using the service is currently under any of the GP surgeries within the Aldershot, Farnborough, Fleet or Yateley primary care networks listed here: NHS Frimley – North East Hampshire & Farnham ( then they will transfer to Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust whilst CAMHS in all other parts of Hampshire will transfer to Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. Although the services will be provided by different NHS providers you should not notice any changes to the way your care is delivered. on 1 April 2024, Southern Health will form part of the new community mental health and learning disabilities Trust in Hampshire called Hampshire and Isle of Wight Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Again, you should not notice any changes to the way your care is delivered.

The Hampshire CAMHS Service has been experiencing a significant increase in demand since September 2020, when young people returned to school, and lockdown measures were initially eased. We are working hard to respond to this whilst working within social distancing restrictions.  Unfortunately, both these factors mean we are not able to respond as quickly as we would like in all circumstances.

In this short video Alison Wallis, our Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and Specialist Services, explains how we are responding to the increase in need.

All referrals will be reviewed as an initial risk screening within 24 hours (during working hours) but for the majority of referrals there will be a significant period of time where you may not receive contact from the service due to the current volume of demand. We are therefore not in the position to respond to questions or queries regarding our waiting list or when a child will be seen.

We are experiencing increasing waiting times both for an initial assessment, and where appropriate ongoing treatment.  Our average waiting time for initial assessments is 15 weeks and for treatment is 54 weeks.  It is important to understand that some young people are seen much sooner, and unfortunately some will wait much longer.  We are working hard to address these challenges and we are increasing resources in response.

We understand how difficult it is for children, young people and their families to wait for services when there is a need for treatment and care and we are doing everything we can to prioritise and manage this need and ensure that help is offered in a timely way to those that most need it. Please help us by considering whether or not a referral is appropriate by reading our referral page. Our staff are working hard to respond as quickly as possible. We understand how frustrating waiting can be and we are grateful for your patience and for treating our staff with kindness and respect.

If you need advice or support now, you can call 111 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) or visit and speak to the NHS Mental Health Triage Service.  The NHS 111 mental health triage service provides advice, support and guidance, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for anyone living in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

The Mental Health Triage Team has a wide range of skills, including on the phone brief psychological support and has access to key services and organisations that can offer mental health support to people in their time of need. The 111 team will also have access to your referral and CAMHS electronic record system so we can be joined up in our approach to support you.

This service can also be also used by GPs and other healthcare professionals, the emergency services, mental health charities and any other organisations that come into contact with people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Many people experience poor mental health at some stage in their life and this can cause difficulties for both the young person and their wider family. With the correct support most recover fully and are able to manage their mental health better. Below details some of the support that can help young people with this. Click the relevant button below to support you with what to do next.

Local services and support

Did you know that there are many services that help young people with emotional and mental health needs? Most young people find these services help them to recover and better able to manage their emotions/mental health. For a few young people, further specialist support from CAMHS is needed.

There are many local services offering a range of support. Below are a few that cover the whole of Hampshire and that we recommend regularly:

The above services and a number of local services accept referrals from parents or professionals, referrals do not have to come from CAMHS. Referral forms accessed via their websites above.

As a specialist service, we expect people have accessed other services in the community before making a referral to CAMHS. If you have accessed the above agencies, or something similar in your local area and you think more specialist support is needed then please complete a CAMHS referral. In order to support us in processing your referral, we need information about:


How is the young person’s emotional wellbeing impacting on their day-to-day life? Specialist CAMHS is a service for children or young people where emotional difficulties are having a significant impact on a number of areas of the young person’s day to day life. (Where there are single issues such as sleep, toileting or minor eating issues the above local services should be accessed first).


How long has the young person had these difficulties? What local services have been tried to support during this time? Specialist CAMHS is a service for children or young people where emotional difficulties have been impacting on their life for a significant period of time (if less than 3 months, other services should be tried first and time given for these interventions to make a difference). However, if there has been a sudden change in behaviour or if the young person is posing a significant risk to themselves or others then please do contact us or make a referral.


What has been going on for the young person during this time? Have there been any major events (bereavement, family breakdown, physical illness…etc) Have there been any major events in the past? Is there a history of mental health difficulties within the family? What support is currently around the young person? (e.g. school, social care, youth services, wider family) What local service support has been accessed?

If there have been changes to the young person’s behaviour and mood recently in response to some difficult circumstances and you are unsure if this is likely to be a normal or disproportionate response, please access the help pages on our website and see if your question can be answered there or call the Single Point of Access Service to discuss your concerns.

Referral to CAMHS

Please ensure you have read the above information before making a referral.  If after reading the above, you have decided that a CAMHS referral is appropriate, please continue reading below.

The preferred referral route is to use the Referral form. Once received, the referral will be reviewed by our clinicians in the Single Point of Access (SPA). This form is likely to take an hour to complete. Please ensure that you have all the information to hand prior to starting, ie: Personal details, Education details, Physical health details, and the young person’s NHS number. The best information is detailed with examples.  There is a 3-hour limit for the form to be completed, and it is not possible to save and return to it. We are happy to receive copies of any reports you have that may provide additional and helpful information. You can send these to us via email at: Please clearly identify them as relating to the child you have submitted a referral for.

Our SPA is a team of mental health professionals who monitor and process all new referrals coming into CAMHS. In SPA, we discuss referrals together to make an informed decision as to whether we accept a referral and offer an initial assessment appointment, or signpost to other services and/or self-help. Decisions are based on the 3 key areas covered above:

If you are interested in an autism assessment for a young person, assessments for Hampshire and Isle of Wight are now provided by The Owl Centre. Information about the service, including how to refer, can be found here: Referrals can be made directly by health, education or social care professionals. If you are a parent please ask your GP or the child’s school to refer.

If you have concerns that your child is experiencing additional mental health needs which you feel require further intervention, please look on our website for support, and discuss with your child’s school or GP to determine if a referral to CAMHS is required.

Please note if your referral is for a Child in Care then the referral MUST be completed by the child or young person’s SOCIAL WORKER.

What happens next?

If we think we can help you, we will judge how quickly you need to be seen for your assessment. We may also call you if we need further information.

You will then either be invited to an Initial Assessment appointment or if we think another service is better able to help, we will write you a letter giving you details of this service and/or recommendations of what else may help.

If you would like to discuss whether to make a referral, then you may call one of our SPA teams on 0300 304 0050 between 9am and Midday. You may also email us on

Please note, we might not be able to get back to you on the same day.

General CAMHS Referral Guidance

 What we do, what we don’t do and what you can do if you are worried about your child

Below is a general guide to help you decide what may be helpful for your child.

More specific referral guides, actions and resources for worry, low mood, trauma, eating difficulties and behaviour of concern can be found on the parent/ carer and professional help sections on this website under the corresponding topic headings. Links to those topic pages can be found under the general referral guidance below.


Coping/ needs for support; These are experiences that most young people will have from time to time.

Nature (type) of Difficulties

  • Common worries or difficulties that many young people experience
  • Difficulties are often situation specific (e.g., happened after a specific event) or last only for a short time
  • Limited impact on daily functioning (e.g., ability to go to or cope at school, play with friends, engage in hobbies or interests)
  • Limited impact on physical or emotional wellbeing
  • Difficulties in line with typical childhood or adolescence

What To Do

  • Self-help resources/ guided self-help (things a young person can look at themselves or together with the support of a parent/ carer or professional). Such as Hampshire CAMHS website.
  • Talking to family or friends
  • Support from school/ GP
  • Support from youth organisations
  • A referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service should not be considered as a first response. Consider referring to other agencies in the first instance.


Needs for help; These are challenges that some young people experience and may need some support with.

Nature (type) of Difficulties

  • Common worries or difficulties which may be causing more distress than would be expected.
  • Level of distress is out of context to the situation/ event/ incident.
  • Episodes of worry, sadness, anger or distress may be more frequent or last longer than anticipated or expected.
  • Some impact on functioning which has lasted at least a few weeks (e.g., ability to go to or cope at school, play with friends, engage in hobbies or interests).

What To Do

  • Follow the Green stage steps AND consider accessing help, advice and support from:
  • School nursing team/ ELSA/ pastoral support
  • Counselling services/ 1:1/ group support
  • Youth organisations
  • Emotional health/ mental health specific resources e.g.
  • Helplines such as:

Young Minds Parents Helpline: 08088025544

Family Lives Helpline: 08088002222


Needs Specialist Treatment or a Crisis Response; These are difficulties that cause a significant impact and a young person may need specialist support.

Nature (type) of Difficulties

  • Difficulties are severe and enduring (difficulties have lasted longer than several weeks).
  • Significant distress to the young person and or the family/ network.
  • Significant disruption to daily life and functioning (e.g., ability to go to or cope at school, play with friends, engage in hobbies or interests).
  • Presenting as a risk to themselves or others.
  • Despite accessing and trying support in stages Green and Amber, difficulties persist.
  • Signs of physical compromise (becoming physically unwell).

What To Do

  • Follow the Green and Amber stages AND:
  • See your child’s GP.
  • Seek advice from helplines.
  • Access the Hampshire CAMHS website crisis support page HERE
  • Consider a referral to CAMHS

To be redirected to the more specific referral guides, they can be found on the relevant parent/carer/professional issue page. Please click the appropriate button below to be redirected: