Ask Jigsaw: Scared about CAMHS

Ask Jigsaw: Scared about CAMHS

Wednesday, 22 July 2020

I’m due to see CAMHs (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) about my anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide, I’m scared they’ll do things like take me away from my parents, what should I do? How do I go about it?

Hi there,

First of all, well done for taking the steps to get support. CAMHS services around the country do a great job of supporting young people to mind their mental health. This video will tell you a bit more about CAMHS and what it is for.

As you identify, it can sometimes feel scary when you are going somewhere new for the first time. Therefore, this can make it difficult to open up about what you are feeling. However, be assured that everyone at CAMHS will want to support you as best they can.

Jigsaw Clinician
It can sometimes feel scary when you are going somewhere new for the first time

When you go initially, you and your parents will probably be asked about what has been going on for you. Try to be as honest as you can about how you are feeling. Tell them what you think might be contributing to the difficulties you are experiencing. If it helps, you can write down in advance some of the things you think it would be important for the team to know about you. This can include the things that are going well and that you’re proud of, as well as some of the challenges that you are facing.

Feeling scared

You mention worry about being taken away from your parents. I wonder whether your fear about this has been influenced by movies or tv programmes, which can sometimes show mental health services as being scary places? Mental health services are quite different to what is portrayed for entertainment purposes. This video shows what an inpatient CAMHS unit looks like. While some young people do need to stay overnight with CAMHS,  most support is provided through out patient clinics and in the community. Any overnight stay would always be discussed with the young person and their parents in advance. At every point throughout your journey with CAMHS, you will be welcome to ask questions and to give your opinion as to what you think is best.

The best of luck with your CAMHS appointment and in your journey to recovery.

Take care,

James, Jigsaw Clinician

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