mental health teams (CAMHS)
CAMHS teams and Community Mental Health Teams (serving adults) vary in personnel (beyond having a consultant psychiatrist at the hub), but they are likely to involve the following:
- Child and adolescent psychiatrists;
- Child clinical psychologists;
- Child psychotherapists;
- Family therapists;
- Art therapists;
- Children's and/or community psychiatric nurses (CPNs);
- Occupational therapists;
- Social workers;
- CAMHS clinics;
- Specialised in-patient units;
- Child and family services;
- Young people's services;
- Outreach services (eg in schools, but this is rare).
A large part of a child psychiatrist's work is to identify and assess the
mental health problem and advise on interventions. Most of the work they
do with children and their families is done through out-patient appointments
while the child continues to live at home. They are sometimes asked to provide
expert opinion to the courts about child welfare issues.
Referral routes to a psychiatrist – usually through a child's GP but sometimes through a health visitor, school doctor, clinic doctor, paediatrician, educational psychologist or social worker, if they agree a referral to a psychiatrist is needed.
Psychiatrists work as part of a multidisciplinary service that includes other child mental health professionals. Commonly, there are shortages, so the availability of trained professionals in particular disciplines and available funding will affect a team's make-up.
Community psychiatric nurses
close team work
The aim is for close team work with skills of one profession knitting
in with the skills of another: 'As well as their professional skills, the
team members will have experience in understanding the distress that goes
with mental illness. They can all offer support and encouragement. By working
together, they try to make sure that the team has a clear picture of your
difficulties and strengths.'
They can then plan the right help for the individual. Staff work closely together and so they often learn a lot from each other. You may find that nurses can deal with many social and work-related problems and that occupational therapists and social workers know something about medication.
- Does your school have access to a multi-disciplinary team?
- Do you think your school has sufficient access and input when the team works
- How might your school improve the dialogue between the multi-disciplinary team, the families and your pupils?