Child and adolescent psychiatrists are medically qualified doctors who specialise in working with young people with mental health problems and their families.
Why would my child be seen by a child psychiatrist?
Your GP may ask for you to see a child psychiatrist directly or your key worker may refer your child once they have started having sessions in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.
Child psychiatrists are the main CAMHS professionals who can prescribe medication if it is needed and they will see your child if it is felt that medication, as well as therapy, can be helpful in their particular condition. They could also see a child psychiatrist if your keyworker thinks they may need admission to a young person’s unit to help them recover.
Who will see my child?
Child psychiatrists must train for 5 years as a doctor. In the UK – like every other medical specialty – they must also do a further 2 years of ‘foundation’ jobs in hospitals before they can begin to specialise in general psychiatry.
It usually takes another 4 years to pass the 2 professional exams of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, then they can specialise further into child and adolescent psychiatry and train for a further 3 years before becoming a consultant.
What happens in the sessions?
Each session lasts about an hour and your child will need follow-up sessions to check they are on the right dose of medication for them, and to check that it’s the best medication for them. They will also do basic health checks and write a letter to update you and your GP.
The psychiatrist will always work alongside your child’s keyworker and other professionals involved in your care and sometimes there will be joint sessions or meetings with other professionals along with the child and their family