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Child and adolescent
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;
  • Pharmacists.
Where do these
teams work?
Review meeting
National Health Service child psychiatrists mainly
work in:
  • CAMHS clinics;
  • Specialised in-patient units;
  • Child and family services;
  • Young people's services;
  • Outreach services (eg in schools, but this is rare).
The role of psychiatry
professional at a review meeting

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.

Team members

Clinical psychologists

Occupational therapists


Art therapists

Cognitive therapists

Community psychiatric nurses

Nurse therapists

Social workers


Importance of
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.

Consider the following questions:
  • Does your school have access to a multi-disciplinary team?
  • Do you think your school has sufficient access and input when the team works in
    your school?
  • How might your school improve the dialogue between the multi-disciplinary team, the families and your pupils?