Sussex CAMHS has been experiencing a significant increase in the number of referrals since September 2020, due to the pandemic and the easing of lockdown restrictions. The level of need we are experiencing is having an adverse effect on waiting times for initial assessments and treatment.
We appreciate how difficult it is for children and young people, families and carers to be on a waiting list and we are doing everything we can to prioritise and manage this need and ensure that help is offered in a timely way to those that most need it.
All referrals will be reviewed as an initial risk screening within 24 hours (during working hours) but for the majority of referrals there will be a significant period of time where you may not receive contact from the service due to the current volume of demand. We are therefore not in the position to respond to questions or queries regarding appointments or the waiting list. We are grateful for your patience and understanding and for treating our staff with kindness and respect.
If you need advice and support now, the Sussex Mental Health Line can triage, support and signpost children, young people, parents, carers and health professionals , who have concerns or queries regarding mental health and wellbeing.
Many people experience poor mental health at some stage in their life and this can cause difficulties for both the young person and their wider family. With the correct support most people recover fully and are able to manage their mental health better. Below details some of the support that can help young people with this. Click the relevant button below to support you with what to do next.
There are many services that help young people with emotional and mental health needs. Most young people find these services help them to recover and to manage their emotions/mental health, without the need for CAMHS support.
Below are a few links that are specific to Sussex, and others providing help across the country.
Young Minds – The UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health
e-wellbeing – A digital wellbeing service for young people, run by YMCA DownsLink Group, to access the right support and information around their emotional health and wellbeing.
Place2Be – A national charity website which provides information and support to schools in the UK
Papyrus – Prevention of young people’s suicide in the UK.
Hopeline – A confidential support and advice service for children and young people under the age of 35 who are experiencing thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned that a young person could be thinking about suicide.
Staying Alive – The Stay Alive free app is a pocket suicide prevention resource, full of information which we hope will help you stay safe. You might find it useful if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide. Download for Android | Download for IOS
Well Mind – WellMind is a free NHS mental health and wellbeing app designed to help with stress, anxiety and depression.
Mood Tools – MoodTools is designed to help combat depression and alleviate negative moods.
Calm Zone – The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is leading a movement against suicide.
Health Talk – Find out about the experience of depression and low mood in young people by seeing and hearing young people share their personal stories on film
Harmless – Harmless is an organisation who works to address and overcome issues related to self-harm and suicide.
General CAMHS Referral Guidance
When we can help and when other support is available
Below is a general guide to help you decide what may be helpful for your child.
More specific referral guides, actions and resources for worry, low mood, trauma, eating difficulties and behaviour of concern can be found on the parent/carer and professional help sections on this website under the corresponding topic headings.
Links to those topic pages can be found under the general referral guidance below.
Coping / need for support
Nature (type) of Difficulties
Common worries or difficulties that many young people experience
Difficulties are often situation specific (e.g. happened after a specific event) or last only for a short time
Limited impact on daily functioning (e.g. ability to go to or cope at school, play with friends, engage in hobbies or interests)
Limited impact on physical or emotional wellbeing
Difficulties in line with typical childhood or adolescence
What To Do
Self-help resources/guided self-help (things a young person can look at themselves or together with the support of a parent/ carer or professional). Such as Sussex CAMHS website.
Talking to family or friends
Support from school/ GP
Support from youth organisations
A referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service should not be considered as a first response. Consider referring to other agencies in the first instance.
Need for help
Nature (type) of Difficulties
Common worries or difficulties which may be causing more distress than would be expected.
Level of distress is out of context to the situation/ event/ incident.
Episodes of worry, sadness, anger or distress may be more frequent or last longer than anticipated or expected.
Some impact on functioning which has lasted at least a few weeks (e.g. ability to go to or cope at school, play with friends, engage in hobbies or interests).
What To Do
Follow the Green stage steps AND consider accessing help, advice and support from:
Sussex CAMHS provides specialist mental health support services. In the majority of cases, a child or young person can be referred into our services via a GP or health practitioner, if they have tried other methods of support and have given these other interventions time to work. More information can be found here.
A few of our services also accept self-referrals from parents and carers.