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CAMHS referrals

You need a referral from a GP or another health or social care professional to access CAMHS.

The GP or other professional will discuss your needs with you and your parents or guardians.

They may refer you to CAMHS if you:

  • have complex mental health difficulties
  • need care from a multidisciplinary team

They will explain the difficulties you are experiencing in the referral letter.

After a referral

When CAMHS gets a referral, the team may contact your parents or school for more information. If you got support from another service before, they may ask permission to contact that service about your care.

The team will review your referral information to understand:

  • the difficulties you experience and how they affect your life
  • what is going well for you
  • other support you have and how you cope with your difficulties

If CAMHS is the right service for you, they will send you an appointment letter.

The letter will have details about:

  • where to go for your appointment
  • what a CAMHS team is
  • what to expect at your first appointment

CAMHS waiting times

Your letter from CAMHS will give an estimated waiting time for the first appointment or contact from the CAMHS team.

Your waiting time may depend on the:

  • information in your referral
  • demand for appointments in your area

Your waiting time can change if the demand for appointments in your area changes. Sometimes it may take a year to get your first appointment.

If you are on a waiting list

There are things you can do to look after your mental health while you are on a waiting list for CAMHS.

Find organisations that provide mental health services

Self-help for your mental health

If your situation changes

If your situation changes and is getting worse, contact your GP or your CAMHS team.

Get urgent help for a mental health issue

Page last reviewed: 27 October 2023
Next review due: 27 October 2026