Due to the increased demand for our CAMHS services, which has risen rapidly since the COVID-19 pandemic, patients may experience longer than usual waiting times.

We are doing all we can to reach patients on our waiting lists as quickly as possible while maintaining a good standard of care.

We recognise that having to wait longer is frustrating but please bear with us while we manage this busy period. Patients and parents / carers should be assured that we are prioritising our waiting lists to support those who need our services most urgently.

We’d like to remind everyone of all ages that if you need urgent mental health support, you can call our Mental Health Central Access Point (CAP) at any time on 0808 800 3302.

We also have a wealth of self-help information for young people, children and parents on our Health for Kids and Health for Teens websites. Those who go to a school participating in our Mental Health Support Teams in Schools programme may also be able to get help from their school’s practitioner.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Service description

What Does Our Service Do?

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is a specialist service offering mental health assessment and intervention to children and young people (up to the age of 18 years) who need more help with their mental health. Many young people experience difficulties from time to time and can access support through friends and family or services such as their GP, school nurse, school counsellors, on-line counselling (such as Kooth), early intervention services (such as Relate) or Mental Health Support Teams in schools.

Specialist CAMHS is therefore one of several services offering mental health support and intervention for children and young people. CAMHS will work with children and young people with significant mental health difficulties with a moderate to severe impact on functioning which requires specialist mental health support.

CAMHS works with young people and their families from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The service also links with other children’s services, such as early help, schools and social care to provide a multi-agency approach and to achieve the following:

  • Assessment and diagnosis of mental health conditions and neurodevelopmental difficulties
  • Collaborative, recovery-based approach to care by supporting young people and their families identify realistic goals or changes that they would like to make building upon existing strengths
  • Empowering young people to identify, express and communicate their needs, take developmentally appropriate responsibility for their health and wellbeing and feel confident in knowing where and how to get additional support if necessary
  • Using evidence-based approaches to treat or support young people and their families to better manage their difficulties. This can include approaches such as cognitive behaviour therapy, systemic family therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, dialectical behaviour therapy amongst other therapies, and/or pharmacological intervention 

About our services

CAMHS is made up of a number of specialist outpatient teams, who work with children, young people and their families in the community. The teams are multi-disciplinary, made up of staff from a variety of different professional backgrounds, who are specialists in mental health, including nurses, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, social workers and psychotherapists. The service also includes peer mentors and those with lived experience of mental health services. Each team is supported by a dedicated admin team.

Appointments are usually at one of the team bases but can sometimes be virtual or at home or other community venues such as school.

The Primary Mental Health team is the link between specialist CAMHS and other Children and Young People’s services across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR), who support children and young people’s mental health and emotional well-being, for example teachers, GPs, school nurses, social workers and youth workers.  The team also offers time-limited early intervention to young people who are experiencing mild-moderate mental health difficulties  and who may be at risk of developing a more significant mental health disorder. The team includes Child Wellbeing Practitioners (CWPs), linked to GP surgeries, who offer low intensity intervention to young people between the ages of 6-18 years with mild mental health difficulties. This can be up to eight individual sessions using a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach.

The Eating Disorders team is a specialist service, based at Mawson House, who work with groups of young people (aged between 0-18 years) who have an eating disorder, and their families.   The most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder (which is also known as BED). The role of the team is to support young people to help them to recover from their eating disorder using evidenced based intervention. Treatment typically lasts between 12-18 months.

The Young People’s team is a specialist team who work with young people who are deemed to be at high risk of mental health difficulties due to social circumstances and /or adverse childhood experiences. The team works with Looked After Children, young people who are adopted, unaccompanied young asylum seekers, young people known to Youth Offending Services and young people experiencing homelessness. They work in partnership with the corresponding social care systems and provide advice, consultation, liaison and training to other professionals, carers and parents involved in the care of these groups of children. In addition, specialist mental health assessment and intervention is provided to those children and young people presenting with mental health difficulties. The team accepts direct referrals from the local authority and health care professionals working with these groups of young people.

The Learning Disability team, based at Rothesay provides services for children and young people with a moderate to profound learning disability presenting with mental health and or associated challenging behaviours. These include physical aggression towards others or property, self-injury, smearing or other risky behaviours.  The LD team, work with the child and their families to support them to manage and change behaviours of concern, using positive behaviour support; a person-centred framework underpinned by the values of. inclusion, choice, participation, and equality of opportunity.  Positive behaviour support helps with developing an understanding of the reason and function of challenging behaviour so we can better meet people’s needs, enhance quality of life and reduce the likelihood that the behaviour will happen. The team includes an outreach team who offer intensive home intervention, working with families to learn and use different behaviour strategies.  These can be around building skills, using structure and routine or building behaviour plans.  As this is an intensive programme it is designed to usually last between 2 and 12 weeks

The Paediatric Psychology team is a specialist service that works with children and young people (aged between 0-19 years) who have a physical health condition and are experiencing difficulties adjusting to, or coping with, living with their condition.  The role of the team is to support young people and their families to adjust to the changes a physical health condition can bring and to support them to live as happily and healthily as possible, where their physical health condition becomes a manageable part of life. To be referred to the Paediatric Psychology Service, young people will need to be under the care of and referred by a medical Consultant Paediatrician who works at one of the UHL hospitals or in the community.

The Generic Outpatient team is the largest of the CAMHS outpatient teams and works with all other children and young people accepted by CAMHS outpatient service who do not fall into the remit of any of the other specialist teams. The generic outpatient team has two main bases, near the city, at Westcotes House and the Valentine Centre. Satellite clinics are also available at Loughborough  Hospital, Hinckley, Coalville and Melton Mowbray.

The Neurodevelopmental team is a group of healthcare professionals who specialise in neurodivergence. Neurodivergence is the term for when someone’s brain processes, learns, and/or behaves differently from what is considered “typical”.  People are considered to be neurodevelopmentally different if they are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), among other conditions.  This team is a sub-team of the generic outpatient team and undertake the assessment and diagnosis of children and young people referred to CAMHS outpatients due to concerns about neurodivergence. Referrals are via the GP to the Generic Outpatient team. The team will gather and review information to decide if the neurodevelopmental assessment pathway is the right route to get support based in the information.

The Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment team provides rapid assessment and management of mental health crisis for children and young people (0-18 years) presenting in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. The aim of the team is to provide an urgent mental health response for young people experiencing an acute crisis: e.g severe deteriorating mental illness, severe behavioural problems, self-harm or any other form of escalating risk where, without such intervention, hospital admission or health related residential placement would be required.  Once a referral is received, the team aims to make telephone contact with a family within two hours and to assess the child or young person within 24 hours, providing the young person is medically fit (any form of medical intervention required e.g. following overdose or self-harm would take priority). The service operates 365 days per year between 08.00hr – 22.00hr seven days per week for crisis assessments. After this time, telephone support is via the CAP number – 0808 8003302. Out of hours urgent assessments take place at the Bradgate Unit Hub or by the All Age Mental Health Triage and Liaison Team based at LRI, supported by the CAMHS On Call Consultant as required.

As part of the crisis management, the child/ young person and family may be offered a short-term Intensive Home Treatment Service for up to six weeks. The Intensive Home Treatment service will be available 08:00hr – 20:00hr 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The aim of the service will be to achieve and sustain recovery from crisis in the community setting. It will also link with other services to ensure smooth transition of care to appropriate Community Service for ongoing work/ support where indicated.

The Intensive Community Support team (ICST) are a team of mental health clinicians who offer a higher level of support in the community than our other CAMHS outpatient teams. They support under 18’s who are having significant difficulties with regulating their emotions effectively and, as a result, may be engaging in behaviours that are deemed risky or problematic to themselves or those around them. Young people who are referred to ICST are likely to have seen the crisis team several times or had an inpatient admission. The team aims to offer an enhanced package of community support to help young people avoid having to go into psychiatric hospital in the first place (where this is avoidable) or to help get young people out of psychiatric hospital quicker (where difficulties can be safely managed in a community setting). ICST can work with young people whilst they are still in hospital to help support them to leave hospital. ICST can get involved quickly and see young people 2-3 times a week to offer a high level of support to keep young people safe and well in the community. They also offer telephone coaching to help young people in the heat of the moment where they might be struggling with difficult emotions. Referrals to this team are internal, via the CAMHS CRHT team and from inpatient units. 

The Beacon Adolescent Inpatient unit, based on the Glenfield hospital site, is a purpose built 15 bedded unit for young people aged between 13-18 years. The young people who are admitted to the unit are experiencing acute difficulties with their mental health and require psychiatric provision to keep them safe.  Care is provided by a multi-disciplinary team of qualified nurses, health care support workers, occupational therapists, psychologists and medical input from consultant psychiatrist. Education is provided on site by qualified teaching staff. The aim of any inpatient admission will be to provide intervention in order to stabilise mental health so that on-going care can be provided in the community as quickly as possible.  Referrals to an inpatient unit are made by the community CAMHS team, such as CRHT, or following an urgent psychiatric assessment.

In October 2023 we introduced extended operational hours in CAMHS and we are now offering appointments into the early evening. Our hope is to ensure the service supports young people and families in accessing the service.



Referral criteria

The following is the list of our acceptance and exclusion criteria*:

Acceptance Criteria

  • Mood Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-Harm associated with any of the above presentations.
  • Diagnostic assessment and management of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and associated comorbidities in children and young people aged 11 years and above. Children who are open to paediatricians where assessment has started should be referred there to prevent duplication of work.
  • School Refusal or severe behaviour problems – ONLY where there are significant co-morbid mental health concerns listed above.
  • CAMHS can only accept Neurodevelopmental Assessment referrals for secondary school aged children.

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