CAMHS is a place where lots of different people work. They are specially trained to talk with children and their families about problems they are having.

Talking help can sometimes be called ‘therapy’. Therapy with children can include playing, drawing, doing quizzes and other fun things. Some children have therapy on their own and others might come with their family or people who are important to them. In therapy, you might be asked to fill out forms to ask about your thoughts or worries and also how you think the therapy sessions are going.

Sometimes, a CAMHS doctor (psychiatrist) might think you can be helped by taking medicine. If so, they will talk to you and your family about the medicine and you will have the chance to ask the doctor any questions you have about taking it.

Everyone is different, so the help they need will be different too. At CAMHS, we will talk together with you and your family to decide what kind of help is right for you. This includes how long you might need help for and who will be the best person to see you from our team. Your first visit will help us to learn what kind of help you need.

Everyone has a different reason for coming to CAMHS. We usually see families and children who are worried, sad or angry, or have problems with their behaviour. These problems are sometimes called mental health problems.

When our bodies become unwell, we might go to the doctor for help. In the same way, when children have problems with their mental health they might visit CAMHS for help.

CAMHS can help you understand your feelings as well as other problems you might have at home or at school. These include:

  • Bullying
  • Eating difficulties
  • Family issues
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Worry
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or sit still
  • Trouble with friends
  • Unusual thoughts

You can read more about each one further down this page.

  • Young people, families, and carers can contact CAMHS at any time for advice and support, contact us here
  • Families, carers and young people can speak to their GP who can do a referral on their behalf. 

Some children worry about what it will be like at CAMHS or if coming here means they are in trouble. CAMHS workers are here to help you.

You will usually come to see us at our base, but sometimes we can see you at other places such as school. We will talk with you about where it’s best to meet.

Your first visit to CAMHS will be a triage appointment (which is about a half hour long) or an assessment appointment (which is about an hour and a half long). When you arrive you might be asked to wait for a short while in the waiting room. There will be toys to play with and books to read.

You will meet one or two people from the CAMHS team in another room. They will ask you and your family to fill out some forms about your worries and difficulties and also ask you some questions. This is so we can help you in the best way. You will also be able to talk to your CAMHS worker by yourself if you want to.

There are lots of different people working at CAMHS. They are all trained in helping children and young people with difficulties. If you or your parents are not confident speaking English, they can arrange for an interpreter to be at the meeting.

What questions will they ask?

The people you meet might ask you about:

  • The problems, worries or difficulties you are having
  • Your family
  • Your school and your friends
  • Your interests and what you enjoy doing
  • The things you are good at and not so good at
  • What you would like to do in the future
  • What you would like to change or feel you need help with

You don’t have to answer all of these questions, and you will also be able to ask them questions too.

The answers that you give will stay private. This means that it won’t be shared with your friends or teacher, unless you want them to know. We only need to share what you tell us if we think we need to in order to help to keep you or someone else safe.

What did other children say?

Here’s what children said to us after coming to CAMHS for their first visit:

“The person I saw was very helpful and nice, I guess he was the best thing about my appointment.”

CAMHS is a place where lots of different people work. They are specially trained to talk with children and their families about problems they are having.

At your first appointment, you will meet one or two of the CAMHS team who will ask you a range of questions that will help them to understand your current difficulties. This is often called an 'assessment'. If you or your parents are not confident speaking English, they can arrange for an interpreter to be there.

Can I change the person who is working with me?

If you would like a different person to work with you at CAMHS, please tell your CAMHS worker or another grown-up. It won’t make us cross – we really want to hear what you think about coming here and find out what works for you.

  • Have you taken a look at the resources page? Our health topics provide information and advice for different emotional and mental health and wellbeing topics that might be useful.
  • We have a library of apps, websites and information that you can visit for information and self help options. 

Eat good food

It’s good for your mood! Did you know that your mind is affected by what you eat? Try to eat healthy food and drink plenty of water, to keep your body and brain feeling good!

Keep active

Scientists have discovered that exercise makes you feel good. It can be anything from football, skating or running to yoga and trampolining – whatever you enjoy!

Talk to others

Talk to other people about things that are bothering you and how you are feeling. Children have told us that, although it can be difficult at first, talking with a good friend, family member or a grown-up you trust can really help.

Believe in yourself

Make a list of things that you like about yourself – this could be about your personality, what kind of friend you are, the way you look and things that you can do. If you find it hard to think of ideas, ask yourself “if someone close to me was writing this list about me, what would they say?”. Keep this list and look at it when you’re finding it hard to believe in yourself.

Take time to chill out and relax

People find different things help them relax – it could be having a bath, watching a funny film, drawing, reading or going for a walk. Try different things and see what works for you.

Get plenty of sleep

Try to go to bed at a similar time each night and get up at a similar time each morning. Avoid using computers or playing on things like iPads before bed – the light they make can keep your brain awake even after you stop playing!

What can CAMHS help you with:

Anyone can be bullied. Sometimes people pick on others because they think they are different, but sometimes there’s no reason at all. Bullying can be done in different ways: it could be by calling other children names, leaving them out, hurting them, or sending them horrible messages on the internet. Children who are bullied often feel:

  • Sad and lonely
  • Not very good about themselves
  • Worried
  • Angry

Everyone needs to eat a healthy diet so that they can grow, play and learn properly. Sometimes children eat less food than their body needs and others eat more than their body needs. Children with eating difficulties might:

  • Think about food a lot
  • Get really worried about eating certain foods
  • Worry about their weight or how they look
  • Feel tired and weak
  • Find it hard to get a good night’s sleep
  • Have problems concentrating
  • Feel sad

Our Community Eating Disorders Service for Children and Young People offers help and support to children and young people aged 17 and under living in Central and North London who have a suspected or confirmed eating disorder diagnosis. This includes children and young people who are seeking advice, consultation and support.

All families have ups and downs. This can upset everyone, and may leave adults and children feeling like it’s hard to cope. The sort of things that families might have a hard time with include arguments and fights, parents separating or getting divorced, someone in the family dying, or parents having their own problems, which can affect everyone in the family.

It is normal and healthy to feel angry when there is a good reason to be. Sometimes, children can feel angry a lot and they don’t know why. Some children come to see us because they have problems controlling their anger. They might:

  • Hit or hurt other people
  • Shout at other people
  • Break things
  • Upset others
  • Have problems at school

We all sometimes feel sad or upset about things that have happened in our lives. But some children can feel sad and upset for a longer time, which can sometimes stop them from doing things they normally do. Some children come to see us because they feel so sad that they:

  • Don’t want to do things that they usually enjoy
  • Don’t want to see their friends
  • Have problems sleeping or eating
  • Might think about hurting themselves
  • Often feel tired, upset and easily annoyed

Most children feel worried, anxious or scared about some things in life, like exams or joining a new school. But usually once the thing they are worried about is over, they feel better. If they feel worried a lot of the time it can make it hard to do everyday things. Some children come to see us because they:

  •  Feel worried most of the time
  •  Feel sad and have problems eating and sleeping, which makes them tired
  •  Have tummy aches and headaches
  •  Feel like they are going to cry a lot
  •  Worry that something bad will happen to them or people they care about

One type of worry is called obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Jolly and Grump help explain more about OCD at

It’s normal to find it hard to concentrate and sit still sometimes. Some children can find it especially hard to sit still and concentrate on things for a long time. Children who have problems sitting still and concentrating sometimes come to see us because they:

  • Say or do things without stopping and thinking first
  • Talk a lot and interrupt other people
  • Have lots of energy and feel restless or fidgety
  • Are easily distracted from things they should be doing
  • Are finding it difficult to learn at school

Most children fall out with their friends sometimes, but some children can find it really hard to make friends or stay friends. This might be because they:

  • Feel shy when they are with others
  • Have problems understanding and following the rules of a game
  • Get angry quickly when playing
  • Are unfairly picked on by others, which is called bullying

All children have imaginations and sometimes have unusual thoughts, including seeing or hearing things that other people can’t see. Most children know these thoughts are imaginary and so don’t feel too worried about them. However, some children can have unusual thoughts which they find confusing and upsetting and which they might need some help with.