What is a CAMHS assessment and what happens at one?

After your child has been referred (through your doctor ,the school, an occupational therapist or other professionals), he/she will be put on a waiting list for an initial appointment (often known as an ‘assessment’). Due to the high levels of referrals in Merton, it could take a year (or even longer) before your child is assessed. Although the idea of an assessment may sound scary, it’s normally a discussion, with one or two members of the CAMHS team. At times, one professional might work with your child, whist another speaks to yourself to discuss your child's history and current experiences.They usually feedback what they have observed and assessed during the assessment, and at times will provide a diagnosis at this point.

This appointment will generally take place at a CAMHS clinic. But, in some circumstances, they may meet with you at your school or home. They will discuss with you the best place to meet before your appointment. Due to COVID, some or all of these meetings will be conducted via telephone or virtually.

It’s important at your CAMHS assessment to try and be as honest as possible, as this will help the team assessing your child and understand how best to support him/her.

When speaking to you, the team might ask questions such as these:

  • What has brought you to CAMHS?
  • How long have you experienced the problem that has brought you to CAMHS?
  • What would you like to change in your life? What might help tackle the problems you are experiencing?
  • How have you been feeling recently?
  • What’s life at home like?
  • What’s life at school like?

At the end of the session, the team will talk to you about what happens next and what support they think you might need. You can also ask any questions you may have.

They may talk about ‘treatment’ – this just means what you’ll do together to help you or your child get better.

Also, if you are not confident speaking English, CAMHS can provide an interpreter to help. Just let them know if this is the case.

Here are some things that are helpful for you to tell them:

  • when your problems started
  • what you’d like to change
  • if there's a pattern in the problems (keeping a diary or log book before your assessment be really helpful to show this)
  • any difficulties in school or with friends
  • any general health problems, either now or in the past
  • any big family events or issues like divorce or bereavement
  • any recent or past trauma, e.g. emotional, sexual or physical abuse
  • other services you've had help from, like social care, hospital or private treatments.

Hillcross Primary School, Ashridge Way, Morden, Surrey, SM4 4EE

020 8542 6936

info@hillcross.merton.sch.uk