Alternatives to CAMHS for young people experiencing emotional distress

Consideration should be given to the development of an alternative service to CAMHS for children experiencing emotional distress, these kinds of issues are increasing for our young people. This service should be rooted in children’s experiences and environment and take a trauma-informed approach.

The current CAMHS structure exists within a medical model of mental ill health, and its primary function is the diagnosis of mental illness. The system pathologises and individualises children and young people’s problems through a medical lens rather than taking an ecological approach to their mental health and wellbeing. A lack of alternative provision for children and young people needing support for their mental health means that this service becomes the default and many young people are pushed through a process which is not appropriate for their needs. This in turn results in those children who really require specialist help not being able to access it when they need it.

Why the contribution is important

Levels of emotional distress in our young people are on the rise, they may not require specialist mental health provision or to be diagnosed but we must ensure approproate supports and services are available for their mental health and wellbeing. 

by nickilawrence on December 04, 2018 at 12:19PM

Current Rating

Average score : 0.0
Based on : 0 votes


  • Posted by ScotParlModerator December 04, 2018 at 14:56

    Thanks for your comments Nicki, much appreciated.
  • Posted by MartinCanavan December 07, 2018 at 14:30

    At Aberlour, we agree.
  • Posted by nickilawrence December 13, 2018 at 13:40

    Barnardo's services are seeing increasing levels of young people presenting with issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and confidence, general wellbeing issues, attachment problems, issues related to trauma and bereavement and other concerns that can lead to self-harm. In our experience these are issues that wouldn’t necessarily reach the threshold for specialist CAMHS support, but due to a lack of alternatives, too often these are the young people who end up having their referrals rejected.

    These referrals need not be ‘rejected’ – if alternative services or supports were available these referrals could be ‘re-directed’ or indeed should be directed to the right service in the first place.

    We would like to see this considered as a matter of urgency and we are pleased to see this as a key focus for Denise Coia’s work streams for the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Task Force.
Log in or register to add comments and rate ideas

Idea topics