Moving on from CAMHS

Below is guidance for young people who are preparing to move on from CAMHS at 18 years of age.

If you are the parent or carer of a young person transitioning out of CAMHS, there is also guidance on how you can support them.

Guidance for young people about transition

Moving on from CAMHS can feel uncertain. This is especially because you may also be going through lots of other changes as you approach 18 years old.

This guidance applies to services in Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire (BSW).

What to expect

In the 6 months before you turn 18, your CAMHS worker will start to talk with you about preparing for this change. If you feel more comfortable having a parent or carer to support you in this discussion, your CAMHS worker will be happy to involve them as much as you would like. This will involve sharing what support options are available after CAMHS.

This could involve referral to other mental health services within the NHS, such as Talking Therapies or Adult Recovery Teams (also known as community mental health teams).

Or, the next step could involve referral to voluntary organisations. Examples include Mind, ReThink, and Alabare.

It could also mean accessing college or university support. Or you may receive support by going back into the care of your GP.

You will also receive information about how to access adult mental health services in a crisis and post-18.

Top tips to prepare for the change

Ask questions

Do not be afraid to ask questions about the transition process. Ask about what is available, how to access services, and what to expect during the transition.

Start practicing or get support to practice independence skills

When you move to adult services, you are moving to an adult approach to your healthcare. This means you are seen and treated as the one in charge. It really helps to start practicing or get support to practice independence skills. For example, knowing how to book and cancel appointments online, over the phone, and in person.

If it is safe to do so, work towards holding the responsibility for the management of your medication. For example, ordering new or repeat prescriptions, and collecting your own medication from the pharmacy. If you are not already doing this, start to practice taking the lead in your own health appointments.

Put together a mental health toolkit

This can be helpful to prepare you for new experiences, help you to avoid future struggles, and put what you have learnt so far to good use. This might involve starting a journal to remind yourself of the coping skills that work for you, creating a list of future events to look forward to, and noting down who you can reach out to for support.

Moving into adult mental health services

If a referral to adult mental health services is considered for you, a referral form will be completed. Your CAMHS worker will lead on this process. They will include information from you and your parents/carers. They will also use their own understanding of your needs to complete it.

The referral form details why support is needed post-18. The form is then reviewed at a transitions panel meeting. Local adult mental health and voluntary organisation team members attend this.

If the panel agrees that an adult mental health service is the right next step for you, an adult mental health worker will be allocated.  A joint meeting with you, your CAMHS support worker, and your adult mental health worker will be arranged.

Together, you start the handover of care.  If you wish, your parent or carer can attend this too. After this, there may be further joint appointments, or your adult mental health worker may take over your care.

Alternatively, if you feel that support around your mental health is no longer needed you can be discharged back to the care of your GP.

Whichever route you take next, information and advice will be given to you after being discharged from CAMHS.

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Page last reviewed: 24 January, 2024