"My experience of CAMHS Service summed up"

About: Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust / Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – Community(City)

(as the patient),

Imagine being young person suffering from bullying and an abusive relationship. Bullied from a young age, life was tough for me. At Secondary school, I turned to self-harm. I felt like I couldn’t cope. I was in and out of hospital on a number of occasions. I felt alone and I could not cope. Before the age of 13 I was referred to CAMHS Tier 2… twice.

As if the first time wasn’t bad enough, on both occasions I was given workers which although absolutely lovely people, seemed to have only just graduated. They struggled to help me open up and the second even made empty promises continuously. After 6 sessions with each worker, I was discharged, with virtually no change to my feelings, my self-worth or my confidence.

2012 was my last hospitalisation due to an overdose. They decided to refer me to Tier 3. The woman at the hospital (who was from this level of CAMHS) was so helpful. She made me feel comfortable and she didn’t make me hate myself for causing my family such problems.

I arrived at the Outpatient Centre a few months later with my Mum and my hopes high. I wanted to recover. Almost an hour late, my name was finally called. Mum came with me, but they asked her to leave after about 5 minutes. I pretty much felt ignored by my worker. Every time I tried to explain something, she attempted to repeat it to me. Not only could she hardly speak English, but she twisted my words, especially on the topic of family problems. I think this forced the relationship between my Mum and I to completely break down. My Mum was the only person I could try to open up to before this.

My school decided to refer me to a counselling service based in Nottingham Centre called Harmless. Here, I met a worker who’d been through similar things. She understood me when I tried to explain my feelings. She became a friend. I had someone. Finally. I only saw her every two weeks, but she always listened and she never judged me.

I began to find my self-confidence. In the summer of 2013, I started seeing somebody new. He was a little bit older than me, but he treated me with such respect. He knew about my problems, but he not once belittled me for it. He met my Dad and from that evening, the bond between my family and I has continued to grow. I then made a huge decision. I was going to move school for Year 11. I’d not self-harmed in just over a year. Although I still had panic attacks, I wanted to make something of myself. My GCSE results weren’t very good after Year 10 and I knew I could do so much better.

With the support from Harmless, the support from my new school, the lack of knowledge within my new school friends, and my boyfriend, I have been recovering. Don’t get me wrong, I have bad days. Days where I don’t want to get out of bed; sleepless nights; panic attacks; and flashbacks. But I cope. I still get up and go to college. But not through the support of CAMHS.

I left school with 10 GCSEs. I am now studying 3 A Levels. I will pursue my dream career. And I will fight every day of my life till I achieve it!

But my experience of CAMHS summed up? An NHS funded pile of uselessness. A place where people didn't listen to me, made empty promises and crushed my dreams further than they already have been; a slow service that lacks emotional support and caregiving.

So when you ask me if I’d recommend CAMHS to a loved one, or even a stranger. The answer is a big fat no. The service Harmless provides is so much more beneficial and caring, even with their financial cuts by the Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust.

Maybe CAMHS should take a few tips from this charity! !

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Response from Rebecca Keating, Team Lead Specialist Community CAMHS (North), Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust


I'm really sorry to hear the difficulties that you have experienced, and that you felt that the CAMHS service did not meet your needs. I am glad that things are improved for you now and feel that the experience you had with the staff member that came to see you in hospital is the experience we wish to offer across our service.

I would like to find out more from you so that as a service we can implement any changes that might be helpful for young people in the future, and to apologise that you had an unhelpful experience. If you could call me on 01159560866 I will look into this and take your comments forward,



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Response from Gary Stokes, Head of Patient Experience & Service Delivery, Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Thank you for taking time to post your comments. We are not sure which Trust you have recieved services from.

If it was Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, could I ask you to please contact our Patient Experience team,

either by telephoning: 01332 623718

or emailing to: patientexperience@derbyshcft.nhs.uk

They will be able to take further details and assist you.

Thank you

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Update posted by cakeface123 (the patient)

Rebecca Keating:

Hi, I still struggle to make/have phonecall conversations. If you have further questions I would prefer to use email or something similar.

Gary Stokes:

It was based in Nottingham. I think it linked to Derby on the selection and I may have clicked the wrong one. I apologise for that.

Updates, changes and questions related to this story