Coming to CAMHS- What to Expect

Understanding Mental Health

1 in 10 young people experience mental health problems, so you are not alone.

People can find the word “mental” alarming or negative. People can describe feeling ashamed that they do not feel able to cope with stress. When people feel stressed they are more likely to be critical towards themselves.  This might mean they don’t share their worries with people around them, people who might be able to offer support.  This in turn may make it more likely that they will experience more stress and distress. 

Mental health is as important as physical health. It is part of the normal human experience to have issues in both our physical and mental health at different points in our lives. When we have a physical illness we have symptoms that let us know that things are not right. These symptoms cause us to think about changing our behaviours to cope (going to the doctors, staying in bed, taking some medicine, choosing not to do something that would normally be a part of our daily routine). 

With mental health we can be less aware of the symptoms that creep up and try to let us know that we are stressed. There are some general things that you can do that help to keep you mentally healthy (see our Helping Yourself section). But there are also times and events in our lives when it can seem really hard to make sense of things, to find a solution, and problem solve in a way that reduces stress.  Young adulthood can be one of these times, when there are many expectations placed upon you, and you are still trying to find out who you are and what makes you unique.

We use the word mental to describe ideas, and thought processes. You are being mental any time you are thinking, engaged in a conversation or completing a task at school. When you have learned to read you cannot help but to read everything around you that you notice. Similarly, you cannot help thinking ….all the time. Sometimes we make sense of things in a way that feels unhelpful, or push worrying thoughts away. Then they might come out in a different way, or cause stress as they are locked away too deep. This could be described as a mental health problem.

Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time in their lives, depending on what happens to us, how we experience it,  how we make sense of it, and the support we have available to us. 

There is a growing movement of organisations and people trying to break down the barriers that cause mental health to be hidden.  www.timetochange.org.uk is an organisation that challenges the stigma of mental health, reminding us that both celebrities and everyday people have many talents, but may also experience mental health problems.  There are also good online information organisations like www.youngminds.org.uk  and www.rethink.org.


Understanding you and your difficulties

When you have a problem one of the really important things is to try and understand it. Where it comes from?  What keeps it there? Everyone is unique and everyone’s problems are unique. This is the case for all problems, but particularly so for psychological problems, like low mood (some people might call this depression) or really big worries (what is sometimes called anxiety).You are a person after all, not just a set of problems or difficulties, or a diagnosis. Once a problem is understood it is easier to find ways to help.

  1. How Specialist CAMHS can help
  2. The Therapy Phase
  3. So.... what therapy?
  4. Know your rights
  5. Our pledges to young people
  6. So how do I get referred to CAMHS
A-z _icon


A - Z of mental health conditions.

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CAMHS Dictionary

Confused by all the names associated with CAMHS?