CAMHS Doesn’t Work for Everyone!
The number of children and young people with moderate mental health issues is on the increase and the supply of child therapy services to help overcome these issues just isn’t meeting the demand.
CAMHS is the child and adolescent mental health service. They are part of the NHS and support children and adolescents (and their families) who have mental health difficulties, emotional or behavioural problems.
CAMHS categorises the severity of mental health issues in tiers. Tiers one and two would relate to challenges such as self esteem issues, phobias and some eating disorders. The more severe end of the spectrum is tier 4 where mental health issues would include psychosis or mental health issues that require hospitalisation or rehabilitation.
There are currently two key problems with CAMHS. The first is that the number of tier one and two type problems with children and young people is growing rapidly and CAMHS cannot keep up. There is now CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) offered on the NHS – however some boroughs are experiencing waiting lists of up to 6 months. Six months is a long time to live with a problem for any person, let alone a child who has a different sense of time scale (remember it always used to seem like ages until Christmas and now you are grown up you can’t believe how quickly it arrives?) During the time period of waiting for help, for many young people who do not have access to therapy, their problems worsen.
The second issue with CAMHS is the “one size fits all” approach to therapy. Don’t get me wrong, I know that within CAMHS there are some amazing practitioners doing brilliant work, but their approach will not be right for everyone. In the same way NLP or hypnosis are not suited for everyone, nor is the help or therapists offered within CAMHS, but currently it’s the only free help available.
So this is where we come in with our child therapy approaches. Up until now, NLP4Kids has only ever been able to provide a private service to families that approach us directly. However having recently attended the BOND consortium workshop (a “collection” of children’s charities and practitioners also specialising in children and young people’s mental health issues) I discovered that not only will CAMHS have to begin referring their cases to outside agencies (like NLP4Kids) but that they want to. Their work load is too great and they have some clients that they just can’t help because their skills are not suited to that child or there is a lack of rapport between the child and the CAMHS therapist they are working with.
Having heard this new at the event, I immediately began to consider how NLP4Kids can become more actively involved and recognised as facilitators to help children and young people with their mental health challenges.
As many of the practitioners at the event were “lone rangers” they were discussing and considering how they could had greater appeal to commissioners (who would be one of the possible decision makers in granter tender opportunities to practitioners outside of CAMHS). One of the commissioner present at the event mentioned that they look for organisations who have been accepted as member of the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Consortium.
I (whilst still at the event!) hopped onto goggle on my iPhone, Googled the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Consortium and took a look at their website. I contacted them straight away and told them about our organisation and what we do, simply enquiring if there was a way in which we may be able to support the work that they do.
The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition (CYPMHC) are 14 charities with a growing base of supporters passionate about the wellbeing of the UK’s children and young people.
Coalitions are great ways for groups of people from different places and organisations to come together to change something. Supporting each other makes us each stronger and helps us achieve what we want – including making the world a better place.
The CYPMHC coalition is made up of various children’s charities and mental health charities. They are all passionate about improving mental health and wellbeing for children and young people across the UK.
A key part of the work of the CYPMHC is to influence government policy – the decisions that government make about how hospitals, schools, social services, and youth clubs should work. They want these services to work better with you – in a way that feels good for you and meets your needs.
Through the CYPMHC, charities come together and speak as one on behalf of children and young people’s mental health. The CYPMHC was launched in the House of Lords in March 2010 and some of the supporting members today include Comic Relief, Relate, the Department of Health, Rainbow Children’s Trust, The Epilepsy Foundation and now NLP4Kids.
I’m very proud and priviledged to announce that NLP4Kids has been accepted as a supporting member of The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition.