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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness


Mental Health and Growing Up Factsheet

Who’s who in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS?) – information for parents, teachers, young people and anyone who works with young people

Who’s who in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS?) – information for parents, teachers, young people and anyone who works with young people

About this leaflet

This is one in a series of leaflets for parents, teachers and young people entitled Mental Health and Growing Up. The aims of these leaflets are to provide practical, up-to-date information about mental health problems (emotional, behavioural and psychiatric disorders) that can affect children and young people. This leaflet describes what CAMHS are and how people who work in CAMHS may be able to help you, if you, or someone you know, has a mental health problem.



  How can I get help?

CAMHS come in all shapes and sizes, and tend to be made up of lots of different mental health professionals all working together to help young people and their families where there are mental health problems.


CAMHS professionals tend to work in one or more of the following places: 

  • Community CAMHS clinics (sometimes called Tier 3) 
  • Out-patient clinics or alongside paediatricians in general hospitals
  • Specialised in-patient, day patient or outpatient units (Tier 4)
  • In schools and some GP practices(Tier 2)
  • Alongside social services or youth offending services (YOS)
  • In children’s centres

In addition to offering appointments in the above places, some CAMHS professionals can offer to see you at home if it is difficult for you to meet elsewhere.


What problems can they help with?


How can I be seen in CAMHS


CAMHS professionals deal with a wide range of mental health problems, including all those addressed in this series of leaflets and many more.


Many children and young people are troubled by emotional, behavioural and psychiatric problems, and these cause worry and distress both to themselves and to those who care for them.

A large part of a child psychiatrist's work is:

  • to identify the problem
  • to understand the causes
  • to advise about what may help.

Child psychiatrists are the only CAMHS professionals who can prescribe medication if it is needed, although sometimes specially trained CAMHS nurses may prescribe for some illnesses. Other CAMHS professionals, for example, child psychotherapists, psychologists and family therapists are particularly skilled in providing talking therapies of different sorts.



Your general practitioner, health visitor, paediatrician, school doctor or nurse, educational psychologist, SENCO in school, or social worker will be able to discuss any concerns and arrange for an appointment in a CAMHS service if necessary.

Further info  



  • YoungMinds provides information and advice on child mental health issues. 102-108 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5SA. Parents' Information Service (free telephone service) 0808 802 5544. 
  • The Mental Health and Growing Up series contains 36 leaflets on a range of common mental health problems. To order the pack, contact Book Sales at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 17 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PG. Tel. 020 7235 2351, ext. 146; fax 020 7245 1231. Email or download them from this website.
  • A Young Person's Guide to CAMHS

A downloadable booklet and a leaflet to tell young people more about what to expect from  Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).



Revised by the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Child and Family Public Engagement Editorial Board (CAFPEB).

With grateful thanks to Dr Viji Janarthanan, Dr Virginia Davies, Dr Vasu Balaguru, and Thomas Kennedy.

This resource reflects the best possible evidence at the time of writing.

© Royal College of Psychiatrists March 2017

Due for review March 2020




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For a catalogue of public education materials or copies of our leaflets contact: 

Leaflets Department,

The Royal College of Psychiatrists, 

21 Prescot Street, London E1 8BB. 

Telephone: 020 7235 2351 x 2552

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is a charity registered in England and Wales (228636) and in Scotland (SC038369).