Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has been quick to take up new technology as appointments have been moving on to video and phone calls because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now two young people from the Banes, Swindon and Wiltshire Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Participation group have put together four short films to encourage other young people to try online consultations. Becca Maule and Aaron Metz are active members in the group and joined forces with participation lead Gill Welsh. 

Each film is just about two minutes long, and on them Becca and Aaron examine different aspects of remote appointments, drawing on their own experiences. They wanted to dispel the doubts and concerns other people may have.

“We wanted to show that it’s not as scary as people may think,” says Becca.  

Top tips for making online appointments work for you encourages young people to give digital appointments a go. As Becca says: “You have nothing lose.”

Aaron says: “Some people may think that the care won’t be the same if you are not physically present. But I would say it’s better than nothing. Your clinician still knows about you and will be able to support you well even if you are not in the same place. You can always go back to face to face appointments when they can be done again.” 

Voice or video? What’s right for you considers the pros and cons of seeing or not seeing your clinician on the screen. Aaron finds voice calls easier whereas Becca prefers a video call.  

On Worried about being overheard Becca and Aaron give their tips for overcoming concerns of about keeping your appointment confidential.

“Privacy was perhaps the one aspect people were most worried about,” says Becca. 

Preparing for your appointment gives down-to-earth practical tips, from making sure you charge your device beforehand and emailing your clinician if there’s something important you would like them to know about you. 

Producing the videos was a smooth process for all involved.

“We made notes about what we wanted to say, but we didn’t have any kind of script because we wanted it to feel authentic,” says Becca. 

Gill Welsh edited the videos. “But there wasn’t much to edit! Becca and Aaron knew what they wanted to say.” Becca notes that they have been doing similar productions before, so they know what kind of process works for them. 

Becca and Aaron got involved in the participation work because they want to help and improve the services.

Becca says: “My experience with CAMHS has been kind of up and down, and I wanted it to be better for other young people. That’s why I joined.” 

“I like to help people,” says Aaron. “I have been through the CAMHS set-up myself and I think there are some points that can be improved. So, I think my experience will be beneficial for others.”

He has been involved quite broadly, helping to shape autism services and also training the newly recruited mental health support teams who work at schools. 

Aaron has just finished college, but the COVID-19 pandemic has not thrown him off kilter.

“I’m planning to focus on my passion which is making electronic music.”

See all the videos here: CAMHS Digital Consultations playlist on Youtube

See also:

Mental Health Helpline for children and young people in Banes, Swindon and Wiltshire