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Introduction to adolescent mental health
Introduction to adolescent mental health

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5 Seeking guidance

GPs have to be selective in their referrals to mental health services. At the time of writing, pressures on CAMHS are high in the UK and GPs have been finding that more than half their referrals to CAMHS are rejected. For those whose referral is accepted, it is not uncommon to wait between 3 and 12 months for a CAMHS appointment (Bostock, 2020). Young people who are referred for eating disorders and psychosis are usually given priority (ACAMH, 2020).

Activity 8: What can you do if you are on a waiting list for specialist support?

Timing: Allow about 10 minutes

While you are waiting for professional help it can be hard to know what to do. Our interview with counsellor John Goss revealed some things that he thought you could do to support yourself or someone you care for. Make some notes as you watch Video 5.

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Video 5: Waiting for professional help
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John describes simple activities as being effective in providing self-care. For example, walking, reading or writing a diary can be a positive way of challenging thoughts. These are simple but positive ways of supporting the young person, but they also provide a way to prepare for therapy when it does commence.

If you find there is a long waiting time on the NHS you may wish to seek alternative sources of help, for example charities sometimes offer advice that can be accessed straight away. If you have funds available to pay for counselling, it is also possible to access private therapy. Many people don’t know where to start in finding counselling for themselves or someone else. Many people find the best way to find a therapist or counsellor is through word of mouth. For example, if you know someone who has already accessed private therapy you might wish to ask them for a recommendation.

Given the sensitive nature of the counsellor relationship, it is important to ensure that the person you reach out to is appropriately qualified. To assist in this the various professional counselling bodies have set up directories of their members that can be accessed via their websites. Examples include those linked to below: