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Young people aged 16-18 in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch who are struggling with their mental health can now seek support direct from Dorset HealthCare.
Our Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are trialling a new assessment system in the conurbation. From Monday (14 September), GPs, social care workers and other professionals concerned about a young person’s mental state can refer them to a new CAMHS Gateway service.
And, for the first time, 16 to 18-year-olds will be able to self-refer without needing to go through their GP.
All referrals will be assessed by Gateway staff and, where appropriate, people with a milder diagnosis will be supported by a new ‘brief intervention’ team. Those with more serious issues can still be transferred to the regular CAMHS teams for more specialised, intensive treatment.
The Gateway service – which is set to be rolled out across the rest of Dorset next year – is designed to provide all young people with prompt assessment and early intervention help when appropriate, while also freeing up other CAMHS staff to see people with a moderate or severe diagnosis more quickly.
CAMHS offers expert help and support for a range of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, self-harming behaviour, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and more.
Head of CAMHS Stuart Lynch said: “Often a brief, early intervention when someone is feeling low or struggling with a particular problem can help that person recover and prevent a more serious deterioration in their mental health.
“The Gateway service and our new team will help us meet this need, and also reduce waiting times for those who require a more in-depth, sustained degree of care.
“By enabling older teenagers to refer themselves directly, we hope this will encourage them to manage their mental health and seek professional support if they need it.”
For more information about how to self-refer to CAMHS, visit camhsdorset.org
If you are in crisis and need to speak to someone urgently, call Connection, our 24/7 mental health helpline for people of all ages, on 0300 123 5440.