Make CAMHS more accessible and confidential for young people
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1 in 10 young people will experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year.
Whilst the lack of funding to services is always highlighted, there’s one issue that nobody is talking about; confidentiality.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are the mental health services provided for under 18 year olds. What if these services aren’t actually accessible to young people they’re supposed to be helping?
From a study conducted by Sam Barakat of 1,438 12-25 year olds, 87% of young people think that under 18 year olds should be able to access mental health services without parents/guardians being informed. Despite this, only 25% think that this is possible.
Barriers stopping young people going confidentially include:
- CAMHS practitioners insisting on parents being informed that their child is accessing the service and/or having the parents involvement with the services
- The accessibility of the service, with many young people travelling miles to get to and from appointments
- Many services being 9-5, where young people are unable to leave school to attend appointments without parental consent
- The referral process, where young people need to go to their GP for a referral, which is also 9-5
- Referrals and appointments being sent in the post, which isn’t always confidential for young people
Where confidentiality has to be broken for the safety of the young person or those around them, young people have said that it was done in such a way that it caused them to be overly anxious.
Whilst some young people have had a great experience when it comes to confidentiality within CAMHS, including the option to self refer and practitioners respecting the young persons confidentiality, this sadly isn’t the case across the country.
Support For Us is a campaign, lead by Sam Barakat, tackling these issues with CAMHS, as well as issues around schools when it comes to mental health.
When Sam started experiencing depression as a teenager, she felt there was no where to seek help confidentially, due to the support not being there. When she did end going to CAMHS, she felt that the experience was far from what she had expected. At no point did she feel she could open up about the issues with depression that she was experiencing. This has led her to become a passionate advocate for better mental health services and support for those who will experience a mental illness in her life.
This petition is calling for the NHS and Parliament to re-assess the accessibility and confidentiality of CAMHS and take appropriate steps to address the issues that young people experience.
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