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Child And Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)

Please read the updated letter to Parents and Carers for CAMHS response to COVID-19. (found in the 'downloads' box on this page)

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) includes all services who work to promote and restore the emotional well being of children and young people in Southampton City.

Who to contact

0300 123 6661
Solent CAMHS
Social Media

Service provision includes mental health promotion activities and education, consultation to practitioners working in children’s services, assessment, parental and carer support, direct interventions and therapy for children and young people with varying severity of emotional, behavioural difficulties and mental health need.

The two Mental Health Teams provide specialist assessments, advice, therapy and interventions that will enable children and young people and their families/carers who are experiencing mental health difficulties achieve an improved quality of life.

The services include psychiatry, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, social work, family/art/play therapy, support work; and input from educational workers, community therapists, psychotherapists, behavioural advisers and play therapists.

Emotional First Aid - This is the initial response given to a young person experiencing emotional distress before specific professional help is sought and obtained. The course is directed at practitioners who come into contact with children and young people e.g. Teachers, Youth Workers, Project Workers, Foster Carers, to aid detection of signs of ‘emotional distress’ thereby reducing the risk of more severe disorders. The course follows a reflective network development model and comprises six half day sessions and two call back meetings. Currently there are two different courses available: EFA for Young People and EFA Primary.

Where to go

The Better Care Centre
Solent Nhs Trust, Western Community Hospital
William Macleod Way
SO16 4XE
Children's Centre Areas

Local Offer

Service Provider Extended Local Offer Response

What does your service do?

We work with other professionals such as teachers, GP's, health visitors etc. to assess children and young people who have symptoms of a mental health issue.

We don’t necessarily always diagnose with a full mental health illness but if appropriate, we will treat your child/young person with therapies and medication. This will always follow a full assessment by specialist doctors and/or nurses.  

Our aim is to enable yourself and your child/young person to better understand and manage the issues that they may be struggling with.

Our joint working relations with other staff enable your child/young person to get care from us whilst remaining in school or college. Where appropriate we offer advice and support for home.

Children and young people use our service for a few months or a few years depending on their needs. There is no upper timescale limit and this will be negotiated with you as the therapy continues. We will then work with your family and GP to discharge you with support to continue with your life.

Where is it located and what areas does it cover?

We work across three large bases in the city:

  • Horizon in Millbrook for 0 - 14 years 023 8029 6230
  • Brookvale in the City Centre for 14 - 18 years 023 8058 6154
  • BRS 3 - 18 years 023 8079 9100

Who does your service provide for?

We provide a service for children and young people up to the age of 18 years.

There is a certain referral criteria that we work to and any health or social care professional will be able to access this. 

Please note: Our expertise is with mental health problems and we do not traditionally cater for physical disabilities or severe learning disabilities/difficulties as a primary referral issue. However, occasionally children referred will have this level of need in addition to mental health issues – in these circumstances we will of course care for them and offer advice if we can.

How can I start using the service?

As we are run by Solent NHS Trust, there is no charge for any service we provide to you.

Parents/young people cannot self-refer to the service.

Referrals can be submitted through a letter to the service only, via professionals working with a child or family. These can include

  • School teacher
  • School nurse 
  • Family doctor
  • Health visitor
  • Social worker

Waiting times vary - we aim to see you for an initial appointment within 4 weeks of referral but this can vary depending on demand for the service.

Treatment courses can take a little longer to start depending on the demand for the service but we keep in touch during this period and offer support if things get worse for your child or young person in the meantime.

How are decisions made about who can use your service?

Each day (Monday – Friday) Senior Clinicians look at new referrals and make a decision on whether you meet the clinical criteria for support by the service, based on whether or not you have a mental difficulty that is significantly impacting on your daily living and relationships. They may contact the person referring you for further information to enable them to make a decision.

If we feel that you meet the criteria for support by the service you will be allocated a case worker who will then make contact with you or your parent/carer.

If we decide that your child/young person does not meet the criteria for the service we will do our best to refer/signpost you to a service that would meet need more appropriately.

Within 48 hours of your referral the person who has made the referral for you will be notified as to whether or not your child or young person will be offered a service.

How do you communicate with service users and how are they involved in decision making/planning?

We have service user groups and a team of "young inspectors" who work with us to give us feedback and recommendations for service improvement.

If a child is unable or unwilling to communicate directly with us we will communicate through parent/carers. If your child is under 16 we will always discuss our recommendations for treatment with you and only proceed with your consent. 

We often run parenting classes and these allow parents to come in to meet staff with the aim of gaining a better understanding of issues affecting their children and to find out more about the work the work that we do.

We have feedback books and clients can write to us to leave feedback.

We have some leaflets for service users. Currently these are only available in English.

We are able to arrange interpreters for people whose first language is not English.

Is your service fully accessible?

Both buildings have wheelchair access and ground floor rooms for assessments and therapy. There are disabled toilets and baby changing rooms in both bases.

We are always keen to welcome new clients. If you have any special requirements, you can ring our main telephone lines to have a chat with the helpful reception staff who will work through any access issues with you. We will endeavour to do our best to accommodate everyone’s needs.

What training are the staff supporting children and young people with SEND had or are having?

All staff have had training to understand the needs of SEND and will be able to offer information and advice on best care pathways for you and your family.

It is essential for all staff to be fully aware of the complex needs of children and young people with educational needs and how that fits with the difficulties that they are having in relation to their mental health. 

How will I know my child will be safe using this service?

Before commencing employment with us all staff must over go an enhanced Disclosure and Barring (DBS) check.

We are regularly inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – this is the government body set up to inspect health care environments.  Our current rating is ‘Good’.

All staff undergo safeguarding training annually.

How do I give feedback, make comments or raise concerns?

There are ways of raising a concern or complaining about anything you are unhappy with. This can be explained to you by a member of the team when you visit either service. We take complaints very seriously and will do our best to make the situation better for you.

Complaints can be made directly to the team on the contact numbers above or through our Patient Experience Service.

Who can I contact for further information?

We operate an ‘on call’ service daily. This can be via either base and is open to anyone with concerns about their child or young person to contact.

The Orchard centre is for 0-14 years and can be contacted on 023 8029 6230

Brookvale for 14-18 years on 023 8058 6154.

BRS 3-18 years 023 8079 9100

For more information you can visit the CAMHS website.

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