Children and adolescents
Referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) should be considered in the following circumstances:
- where the young person is displaying signs of suicidal intent
- where assessment of the young person is not suitable for primary care (e.g., psychotic symptoms, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD])
- where the young person is likely to require medication and treatment is not suitable for primary care (e.g., depressive disorder in a child, severe obsessive-compulsive disorder)
- where the young person is so disabled that they cannot go to school or see friends
- if the young person or parent requests a referral
- where primary care or other options have failed.
Referral to other agencies may be necessary. Criteria include the following:
- any form of suspected abuse (Social Services)
- young person who is no longer in the care of their parents and is at risk of harming themselves or others (Social Services)
- young person who is at risk of harming other children or adults (Police)
- young person with school attendance problems (Educational Welfare Service)
- young person with suspected specific learning disability (school special needs department)
- young person with a substance misuse problem (local young personís drug and alcohol services).
Voluntary organizations can often help children and adolescents with emotional or behavioural problems - for example, the NSPCC, local parental support groups (eg ADHD groups) and parenting groups run through programmes such as Sure Start.
When making a referral to other service providers, the GP should have access to a local resource directory.
It is helpful if referral letters include as many as possible of the following:
- patient's name, hospital number (if known), date of birth, address and telephone number
- presenting complaint
- reason for referral, including who wants what from whom
- past medical and psychiatric history or contact, including whether this child or a sibling has been seen by CAMHS before
- family and social background
- developmental history
- current medication
- any drug and alcohol history
- details of carers and significant others.
Last edited: 2/2/2004
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