Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to be seen by CAMHS?

Once we receive a referral, we try to offer an appointment within 18 weeks, but it is usually much sooner. After your initial appointment there may be a waiting list but we will give you some suggestions of what you can be doing in the meantime.

What age children do CAMHS see?

CAMHS accepts referrals for children 0-18 years of age. When you turn 18 we will normally support you with a transition to adult services if you still need help.

Are CAMHS available out of hours?

It is not possible to directly access your local CAMHS team outside the hours of 9am-5pm (though some clinics open earlier). If you urgently need to speak to someone your GP usually has an out of hours emergency number, and they will be able to refer you to CAMHS if that is the most appropriate course of action.

How can I get a referral to CAMHS?

Most services require a referral from another health professional, social worker or education staff. The best way to be referred to CAMHS is to see your GP and ask them to make a referral.Some services, such as the Infant Mental Health team, accept self referrals, and information is available on their specific pages.

What do the tiers mean?

Some services are set up in tiers, with each one addressing a different level of need. Portsmouth offers CAMHS services at tier 2 and 3 while Southampton offer an integrated service across the clinics.

In Portsmouth

Tier 1 is made up of primary care workers such as school nurses or health visitors. They deal with common childhood problems such as feeding and sleeping difficulties.

Tier 2 consists of Primary Mental Health workers, and will see children and young people with mild to moderate mental health difficulties.

Tier 3 is a multi-disciplinary team including nurses, therapists and psychologists. They see young people with moderate to severe mental health issues that are usually more complex than at tier 2, and also provide assessments.

Tier 4 consists of specialist day and inpatient units where young people with more severe mental heath issues can be assessed and treated.

In Southampton

  • Universal services include GPs, health visitors, schools, school nurses and other services such as voluntary organisations, police and housing who have an important role in Early Intervention for children and families in Southampton. These are the services which all families can access as problems emerge. Professionals within these services can help you to decide whether a referral to CAMHS is needed.
  • Our integrated Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are provided across two clinics in the city, one for 0 - 14 years and one for 14 - 18 years.
  • There are also specialist day and inpatient units where young people with more severe mental health conditions can be treated.

Who will I see at CAMHS?

There are lots of different staff at CAMHS, such as Mental Health Workers, Clinical Psychologists, Nurses, Psychiatrists and Therapists. Have a look at the "Meet the teams" pages to see some of the people who work across Solent CAMHS.

What can I do while I wait?

The "What you need help with" pages have information about the difficulties that young people coming to CAMHS present with. Each page has related links to other websites that can provide more information and support.

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