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NI Pathway and Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services launched


Event speakers and organisers pictured at the CAMHS Pathway launch

The Health and Social Care Board and the Public Health Agency this week launched “Working Together: A Pathway for Children and Young People through CAMHS”, a care pathway for children and young people coming to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Northern Ireland.

The regional CAMHS Pathway is accompanied by “Welcome to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services: A Guide for You” which gives children and young people and their families or other carers information about CAMHS.

The Welcome Guide is written by, and for, young people who have personal experience of using CAMHS services. A big thank you was extended to the young people who worked with the health and social care professionals for their much valued contribution to the production and design of the CAMHS resources.

Host of the event, Naomi Lloyd, CAMHS Youth Adviser, said: “Today’s event is a great example of co-production. Working Together offers detailed information about Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services including the values and principles of CAMHS and the steps of care to expect. Ultimately it highlights the importance of young people and their families working together with professionals to help young people get better.

“I was personally involved in the development of the Welcome Guide and could draw on my experience of CAMHS to explain what is helpful to young people and to ensure that the language used is young people friendly. The involvement of young people and CAMHS youth advisers like myself, with personal experience of CAMHS, ensures we help get the message across that getting treatment or care for a mental illness is not anything to be ashamed of. Whilst recovery is tough, there is hope for a better future free from the illness, if you keep fighting the illness and listen to the people who want to help you.”

View this short film to hear more from Naomi about the value of working together in the development of the CAMHS pathway and guide.

The Working Together Pathway for Children and Young People through CAMHS outlines what should be expected when referred for treatment. It provides a summary of clinical advice for all sectors of the service derived from evidence based practice. It also includes information about accessing support before, during and after treatment.

Chris Matthews, Department of Health, welcomed the publication of the CAMHS pathway, saying:

“Today’s launch marks a significant milestone in the journey of CAMHS. I am especially delighted to be able to launch the pathway alongside the young people here today who were instrumental in its development and design. The rationale and core purpose for the pathway is to support better integrated working and seamless care based on need. The engagement of young people with lived experience and their families, in the design of CAMHS through co-production, maintains a strong emphasis on ensuring children, young people and their families are fully involved in all decisions about their care and treatment and can make informed choices.”

Working Together: A Pathway for Children and Young People through CAMHS and Welcome to CAMHS: A Guide for You are available for download.

Cecil Worthington, Director of Social Care and Children at the Board said: “Our approach to co-production is about working with people in new ways. We recognise that this involves finding ways to involve people in having a say in the planning of our services and in how they should run. This approach is a challenging one and one that takes us on a shared journey to make co-production real. The development of this pathway and guide demonstrates our commitment to working together to improve young people’s experience of care. Through engagement from the outset we underline the importance of personalisation of support and ensure that we stay centred on the impact and benefits of our services for children, young people and their families.”

Some photos from the event; click on the image for gallery view.