A new phone number has been launched to give easier access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Wiltshire.

The Wiltshire CAMHS service, provided by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, can now be contacted on a new single point of access phone number – 01865 903330.

Children, young people and families as well as professionals such as GPs and school staff can call the number if they need mental health support or if they want to refer or seek support for someone in their care.

Penny Foley, Single Point of Access team manager, said: “This is a really exciting new development for children and young people, their families and professionals because having one ‘front door’ like this will make it easier for them to access help. It will mean that callers will be able to discuss the mental health issue they are calling about, seek advice and then be signposted to the right service they need first time around”

The team on the other end of the phone consists of administrators and clinicians working together to ensure every caller gets a timely and appropriate response.

They will gather all the information they need about the child or young person’s mental health and wellbeing needs before directing them to the right source of support.  They will also work extremely closely with the Barnardos Early Intervention Service who provide early help and support to promote children and young people’s mental wellbeing.

Cllr Laura Mayes, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills, said: “We very much welcome the launch of the single point of access for our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service in Wiltshire. The SPA will give a fast response to those who are concerned about a child or young person’s mental health. It makes accessing this support much simpler and quicker.

“This is a welcome development and I am also pleased that the SPA can offer direct consultation and training into our schools. The launch of the SPA could not come at a better time as the Covid-19 pandemic has caused difficulties for some children and this fresh approach will really make a difference.”

One parent who has used the service said “I feel like you are the only person who’s listened and understood” while another commented “You’ve been really lovely. I thought the call would be scary. I’ve been shaking and panicking but you have been lovely.”

Young people have also been complimentary with one explaining “I feel like you understood and didn’t just fob me off” while another said “I was nervous about talking with you but I feel ok about it now.” Another summed up the experience by saying “Thank you for getting it.”