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Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

North Wales Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service

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Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)


What is the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)?


CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. We are a team of doctors, nurses, psychologists and therapists who help young people up to the age of 18 with mental health problems.


Many young people do not have mental illnesses but may have serious problems with their emotions, behavior, relationships with other people or coping with stress or trauma. We aim to offer the most up to date and best researched treatments and will discuss the options with you and usually with your parents.


Why are my family involved?


It is possible for older teenagers to be seen separately, even without your parents’ knowledge or consent, but we do not encourage this as it sets up secrets which can cause problems if they are later discovered.  This could also make it difficult to change things in the family which may be part of your problem and for you to keep up the secrecy until you have completed the treatment you may need.


Confidentiality


Often working with CAMHS involves sharing sensitive and private information. You can be assured that this will be treated as confidential and only shared with CAMHS staff involved in your care. You may wish to keep information confidential from your parents and we would respect this, as long as it does not indicate that you are in danger.


Other professionals may also be involved with your care or treatment and it is good practice to work with them and share certain information. If this is the case, we would ask for your permission before doing this.


All people who work with children and young people have a responsibility to ensure that they are safe. If we discover that you are at risk of serious harm, we have a duty to share this with social services or the police so you can be protected if necessary.


Your appointment


At your first appointment you may meet one or two CAMHS professionals. There may be a lot of information to find out during this meeting, therefore you should allow up to an hour and a half for this. Much of this meeting may involve members of your family who have come along, but there will be a chance for you to speak to one of the CAMHS workers on your own. Your parents may also want to share some information away from you.