Referrals

Who can make a referral?

Professionals involved with children and young people, including GPs, teachers, youth workers, educational psychologists, school nurses and social workers can make a referral to CAMHS. Please discuss the referral with the young person and parent or carer first, and get their consent before making the referral. Some CAMHS are able to accept self-referrals.
Find your local CAMHS

In addition, we are happy to offer support and advice to professionals who work with children and young people, such as those in education, children’s centre staff and social services.
Read more about training and consultation services

How to make a referral

If you have concerns about a child or young person’s mental health, contact your local CAMHS to discuss making a referral. Different clinics have different referral processes, however, it is useful to have certain key information when making a referral, including:

  • The full name(s) of the child or young person being referred
  • The surname of their parent/carer if different from the child or young person
  • Date of birth
  • Address, including postcode
  • Telephone numbers; for young people aged over 16 this should include a mobile phone number (if they have one) so that CAMHS can contact them directly (if appropriate)
  • Names and ages of family members
  • Name of school
  • Name of registered GP
  • Other agencies known to be involved (e.g. Connexions, education, social services)
  • Significant medical problems/medication
  • A brief history of presenting problems, with your opinion of the effect these have on the child and their mental health and his/her family members
  • An indication of your opinion of the degree of risk to self or others and to what degree the problem is affecting everyday life for the individual and family

Even if a referral is not appropriate, they may be able to point you in the direction of useful support services for the young person/ family.

Referral criteria

It is not possible to give absolute definitions about which children or young people should be referred to CAMHS. CAMHS supports children, young people and families whose social, emotional and behavioural needs are not met by universal services, such as those in the community and primary care.
Contact your local CAMHS to discuss whether a referral is appropriate

What happens after the referral has been made?

New referrals are discussed by CAMHS teams at their weekly referrals meetings. Each referral is prioritised according to the information given in the referral.

The family and referrer are then contacted with information, either about an appointment or alternative next steps. A CAMHS worker may contact you for further information, or to think with you about the best way of engaging the family in an assessment.

If a family or young person’s problems worsen whilst you are waiting to hear the outcome from a referral, please contact the CAMHS team and provide them with an update. In cases where someone’s safety may be at risk, either as a result of self-harm, potential harm to others or child protection issues, please contact the relevant agency immediately and directly (for example, accident and emergency (A&E), police, social care). Please update us if this has happened, but do not wait until you are able to talk to us/ hear the outcome of a referral before taking action.

Routine Outcome Measures

Once a referral has been accepted at CAMHS, we sometimes ask professionals involved in families lives to fill out Routine Outcome Measures. These questionnaires will help us understand families from the professionals’ perspective. They will include questions about difficulties they may have in a particular environment e.g. a teacher may complete them about a child’s behaviour in school. A professional will only be asked if the family give permission for contact to be made.