19 October 2022

This is Vanessa.

Vanessa is a Team Manager in Kensington and Chelsea CAMHS service, where she mostly works closely with young people who have autism.

But working for CAMHS means building relationships and supporting whole families.

Vanessa recalled a young person who really struggled with ADHD and autism. On top of that, his brother also had autism and she suspected his mother had undiagnosed autism.

“I was sure as a clinician,” Vanessa said. “But how do you make Mum become more comfortable and talk about her?”

“She would bring him to my session, leave him and come then come back. And she always had the earphones in and she goes, ‘it’s just too much for me on the buses and the trains.’”

Vanessa admits it’s sometimes difficult to juggle the needs of families.

She said: “It’s hard as a clinician because you are there for the young person. You’re not there for the parent. But then the young person comes with a package.

“You can deal with this issue but then if this issue isn’t supported or directed to the right services, then the first issue is going to relapse and the young person will be in your service for a long time.”

Vanessa took it upon herself to organise a family session and was eventually able to persuade the young person’s mother to receive a referral.

“She said, ‘yeah, I want to do it for me,’” Vanessa said. “She did. She was diagnosed with Autism. And then I was able to have a session with all of them because means each person is different.”

With Vanessa’s support, all three were able to be discharged and are now doing extremely well.Vanessa_CAMHS.jpg

She believes that it’s important for a young person to not be passed from clinician to clinician and for people in her position to look at the bigger picture.

“It’s okay to be autistic,” she added. “It’s okay to have ADHD. That is my superpower. I am unique.

“I’m different, yes, but so is everyone different… It’s just a character that makes that individual and I think that’s how the world should see it.”

Vanessa’s story forms part of There’s a Place For You, a series of films from our CAMHS service. 

The series, produced by And Productions, was created with our staff, showing the working and clinical experiences of child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).

CAMHS is made up of a team of professionals with different skills and backgrounds who work together to provide a range of specialist support to young people and their families, helping with their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

In these films, team members from across the service reveal the day-to-day realities of their roles in mental health, highlighting how rewarding their work is, and why they are so passionate about working with young people.

We hope this can help raise awareness of the opportunities a career within CAMHS can offer. The full series will be released online over the coming months, so keep an eye out for more stories.

There's a place for you

Here at CNWL, we have a range of opportunities across CAMHS in mental health, community services, eating disorders, learning disabilities and more – whatever stage of your career you’re at.

Be part of our fantastic team. View current vacancies here.

You can find out more about the different professionals involved in a children’s mental health team on our CAMHS service page.