A referral to an In-Patient CAMHS unit can only be processed if the referral is drawn up by a Consultant Psychiatrist in Community CAMHS, a paediatric hospital or an Adult Mental Health Service.
There are many reasons for young people to become mentally distressed but not all of these issues are ‘mental health problems’. Adolescent In-Patient Units are specialised and so can only be accessed by those who will benefit from the treatment offered. What we know is that certain young people struggle in these environments. These include young people with a moderate learning difficulty and young people who have no ongoing residential placement, and the purpose of admission is as a response to homelessness in the absence of a clear mental health difficulty. In these circumstances, a CAMHS in-patient unit may not be suitable.
Referral response times
It is hoped that once a referral to In-Patient CAMHS is made that a member of the In-Patient team will be in contact with the referrer within 24 hours of receipt of the referral. It is often best then to organise a screening assessment for the young person and their family. This is an opportunity to meet with the team and make a decision whether an in-patient stay is the best option in the circumstances. A day visit may also be organised for the young person and their family so that they can be shown around the unit and given information about the programme.