Should I make a referral?

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. 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:

Please note if your referral is for a Child in Care then the child or young person’s Social Worker MUST complete the referral.

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 discuss whether to make a referral then you may call one of our SPA teams on 0300 304 0050 between 9am and 2pm. 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/ Need for Support

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.


Need for Help

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


Need for Specialist Intervention/ Crisis management

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: