What is CAMHS?
CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, which is said as “cams”. Here we help children and young people up to the age of 18 who are experiencing persistent, complex or severe mental health difficulties. For more info about us, check out our main page
What is a CAMHS clinician?
A ‘CAMHS clinician’ is the person you will see when you come to CAMHS. It’s another way of saying ‘the person in CAMHS who is helping me’. All our clinicians in CAMHS are specially trained to help with mental health difficulties. We have different types of mental health professionals working in CAMHS, such as nurses, psychologists and therapy support workers.
How do I get help from CAMHS?
If you think you need help from CAMHS the first thing to do is talk to someone you trust. A professional, like a guidance teacher or GP, can make a referral to us. This leaflet from Stem4 might be helpful if you are unsure where to start or check out the Doc Ready tool.
If I come to CAMHS, what are you going to do?
We’ll talk to you about your difficulties and help you make sense of them. We’ll support you and work with you in making changes to meet your needs. The long words for these things are: assessment, formulation and evidence-based therapeutic interventions. We will always talk things through with you and explain why it will be helpful.
Is there a waiting list to be seen in CAMHS?
We do have a waiting list and the time you’ll wait depends on how many other young people also need help. Take a look at some things to try yourself. We’re working hard to make sure you get seen as soon as possible.
I’m coming for my first appointment - what’s it going to be like?
When you come for your first appointment you’ll meet with a CAMHS clinician. We’ll ask you some questions about what’s going on for you. It’s ok for you to ask us questions too. Together we will come up with a personalised plan for you. Usually appointments take place in clinic rooms, but sometimes we take young people for walks outside if the room feels uncomfortable for them. To help get you ready for your appointment, take a look at Your CAMHS appointment
What happens if I don't turn up to my appointment?
If you don’t turn up for your appointment, we’ll write to you and ask you to get in touch with us to let us know that you still want to have an appointment. Once you get in touch, we’ll send you another appointment letter. If you don’t get in touch, you will be taken off our waiting list and discharged back to the professional who referred you. Then if you need to be seen in the future, they will have to refer you back to us.
Who will my appointment be with?
Who your appointment will be with depends on the reason you have been referred. You’ll be seen by a CAMHS clinician who works in one of our teams. You’ll get a letter with all the details about your appointment and this includes the name of the person you’re going to see.
Where will I have to go for my appointment?
You might have your appointment over video call using Near Me, which is simply a way for you to have your CAMHS appointment via a video call from the comfort of your own home. Or you might be seen in one of our clinics. You’ll get a letter that explains how/where your appointment is going to happen.
How long will my appointment take?
First appointments usually take 1–1.5 hours. If you come for more appointments, they will probably take 45 minutes–1 hour.
Who can come with me to my appointment?
Usually your parent or carer would come along to your appointment with you, but you could bring a friend or someone else you trust.
Am I allowed to bring my pet with me?
No, animals aren’t usually allowed in NHS places except for guide dogs, hearing dogs or therapy pets. But, soft toys and teddies are definitely allowed. If you’d like to bring something with you like a teddy, fidget toy, photo or something else that helps you feel comfortable that’s totally fine.
I’m worried I’m not going to know what to say, what do I do then?
It can be scary thinking about what you’re going to say or if you’ll be able to talk in your appointment, but we’ll help with you with that. If you’re worried about this, it might be helpful to have some things written down before your appointment. Take a look at Your CAMHS appointment.
If I want to speak to my CAMHS clinician, how do I get hold of them?
Give us a ring and our admin team will try to make contact with them for you. If they can’t speak to you right away, we’ll take a message for you and pass to them. Our main numbers are 01334 696250 (Playfield House) and 01383 627031 (Carnegie Unit).
Do you have to tell my parents/carers what we talk about?
If you’re under 12, your parents/carers need to be involved. If you’re over 12, we don’t have to tell your parents/carers what we talk about, but it can be really helpful to include them so they’re better able to help you. The only exception to this would be if we’re concerned about safety. This is all explained in our Confidentiality and Consent section.
Will you talk to my school about me?
We'll ask permission to talk to school if we feel it would be helpful. It can sometimes be important for school to know what’s going on for you so they can also help. For more info check out the Confidentiality and Consent section.
Will I have loads of appointments, or only like one or two?
This is tricky to answer as it really depends on what’s going on for you and what help you need. You’ll usually think together about this at your first appointment when you and your CAMHS clinician plan out what’s going to work for you. So that you can get the best out of your time with us, it’s really important that you come to all your appointments.
Can I say if I don’t like my CAMHS clinician, and can I get a different one?
If you feel like you’re not getting along with your CAMHS clinician, give us a ring and speak to our admin team to let them know. They will take a note and get in touch with one of our team leaders. We’ll then contact you to discuss the situation, and work out the best way forward. Our main numbers are 01334 696250 (Playfield House) and 01383 627031 (Carnegie Unit).
Do I get to pick the gender of my CAMHS clinician?
You wouldn’t normally get to pick but if you were really uncomfortable with a specific gender, just give us a ring and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re seen by someone you are comfortable with. Our main numbers are 01334 696250 (Playfield House) and 01383 627031 (Carnegie Unit).
Will I be put into a mental health hospital if I come to CAMHS?
Only a very small number of young people are so unwell that they need to be cared for in a mental health hospital. If we really felt you needed to be in hospital, we would talk to you and your parents/carers about this, and consider it very carefully. However, this is rare. Almost all children and young people who come to CAMHS will have appointments in one of our clinics or be seen over video call.
How can I get support for neurodiversity?
We have a list of services, websites and apps that includes details of support for neurodiversity and how to access an assessment.
We’d like to thank Fife Young Ambassadors and young learners from Bell Baxter High School for their contributions to this page.