Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) provide help for children and young people who may be experiencing problems with their emotional or psychological wellbeing.
How can I help my child?
It can be very upsetting when someone you care about self-harms. It is really important to listen to them without being critical or judgemental. Even if you feel upset or angry with them, try to think about them, rather than your own feelings.
- Listen to them if they tell you they want to self-harm. Try to understand how they are feeling. Maybe try to move the conversation gently on to something else
- Help them find good information about self-harm. There are leaflets available, e.g. from the RCPsych website, or your local library
- Support them in getting help, if that’s what they want
- Self-harm shouldn’t be seen as a dirty secret. Help them to see it as a problem that needs sorting out
- Expect them to stop overnight. It’s hard to stop self-harming
- Try to give them ‘therapy’ yourself. They need you as a parent, friend, teacher…
- Express your emotions too strongly. Let them know how you are feeling, but keep things calm. You getting upset or angry will make things worse
- Physically try to stop them self-harming. Offer them space to talk, but you may need to walk away
- Make them promise not to do it again
- Say that you won’t see them unless they stop self-harming
- Feel responsible. You are not responsible for someone else self-harming, and you cannot take responsibility for them stopping. You may need support yourself to help you cope with the situation
Please check out the links on this webpage for help and advice as to how you can help your child if you are worried about them self harming.
How can we help?
When a child or young person is admitted to the Paediatric Ward via A&E following an incident of self harm, or suspected self harm, a member of the CAMHS team will visit to assess the level of risk. They will formulate a robust plan with the parents/carers and the child or young person.
In the vast majority of cases this plan will be for the child or young person to return home with an appropriate package of care. There are occasionally a small number of cases where the child or young person needs to remain on the ward while further psychiatric assessment is completed. Follow up will always be provided and this will be dependant on the identified needs. It may be as simple as a follow up phone call or a comprehensive package of therapy for the child or young person and their parents/carers.
They may be referred straight into CAMHS with serious concerns about self harm. For example, if your GP is very worried but the child or person did not go to A&E. The assessment will be the same as above, but in our community buildings rather than the hospital. This will take place within 7 days, after which a plan will be agreed with follow up appointments as needed.
What happens next?
Following an admission on to the Paediatric Ward the young person will be assessed by CAMHS on the next working day. The assessment length will vary depending on the needs identified during the discussion, however usually it will take approximately 2 hours.
Once the request for service from CAMHS has been accepted the young person will be offered an initial assessment either urgently (within 7 days) or within 6 weeks. This initial appointment is an opportunity for them to tell us about the difficulties and together we can assess what we might need to do next. Sometimes a single appointment is all that is needed but if you do need a series of appointments we will assign a clinician with the appropriate skills and work in partnership with you. Sometimes more specialist intervention is needed and we will discuss this with you so that you are clear about what happens next.
Follow up appointments should be offered within 12 weeks of referral.
You can now self-refer your child into this service. For more information please view this guide on how to self refer.
For details of what the service supports and what supporting documentation you require for your referral, please view the request criteria page.