Best Practice

Mental health: What to do while waiting for CAMHS

It’s a familiar scenario – a student needs specialist mental health support but the CAMHS waiting list is long and thresholds are high. Frances Akinde looks at what schools can do to support young people who face a long wait to access CAMHS
Image: Adobe Stock - Image: Adobe Stock

With the reduction of support from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) due to increasingly complex needs and a lack of specialist professionals to meet demand, schools are increasingly being asked to offer more and more support for young people who are experiencing emotional distress and mental health difficulties. 

So, what do we do when we need to support our students but can’t access support from CAMHS? 


What is CAMHS? 

CAMHS is the healthcare service that supports and treats children and young people up until the age of 18 who are experiencing emotional distress and more severe mental health challenges.

Across the UK, each area has its own policy and strategy underpinning child and adolescent mental health. CAMHS are also configured slightly differently depending on where you are, but all contain essentially the same mix of preventive, early intervention, and specialist services. Most services are provided in outpatient and community settings. 

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