A guide on what to expect when moving from child to adult mental health services, and what do do if things don't go the way they should.
Sometimes moving from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to adult services doesn't go the way it should, and you may need to let someone know. No matter what the problem is, you're not alone and you deserve support.
"I don’t know anyone who found the transition process easy, and I think it’s important to know that going in. I found it overwhelming... but I survived it."
If you're unhappy with how things are going, you should tell the person who is managing your move to adult services.
If you don't know who that is, ask to speak to the manager of your CAMHS service and explain how you feel, what you think is going wrong and what you would like to change. You could do this face to face, by phone, letter or email.
Your CAMHS team will follow a policy for moving you from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health Services. If you're not sure whether you're getting the right support, or feel your move to adult services isn't going the way it should, you can ask your CAMHS team to see a copy of the policy.
An advocate could help you go through this policy and help you understand if you're getting the support you deserve. You can also read our page on what to expect for information about what should be happening.
"My team at CAMHs were really transparent with me about what it was going to be like, and I found that really helped me."
If you need more support or you're having problems with moving to adult services, it could help to find an advocate.
An advocate can be a trusted friend or family member, or a professional advocate. Advocates are people who help by:
Making a complaint can be a hard process to go through, especially if you're not feeling well. Sometimes it can help to ask a trusted adult to help you, or see if there is an NHS complaints advocacy service in your area. They can help you write down what you're worried about and what you want to happen.
If you're not getting the support you need from CAMHS or adult services for any reason, there are lots of other places that you can find support, like:
For more options, read our page on finding support.
These are NHS services that support adults with mental health problems.Visit our full treatment and support glossary
The name for a plan that explains your mental health problem, what treatment and support you need, and who will provide that support. Care plans might also cover what should happen if you're in a mental health crisis.Visit our full treatment and support glossary
An advocate is someone who can listen to you and help make sure your voice is heard in decisions about you.
If you’re in hospital for your mental health, you might be entitled to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA).
In Wales, everyone on the ward has the right to an IMHA. In England, only people who’ve been sectioned have a right to an IMHA. But some wards have advocates that voluntary patients can use too. Ask your care team for more information.
Advocates can support you in other situations too. If you live in England, you could contact VoiceAbility or POhWER who offer free advocacy services. If you live in Wales, you could contact the National Youth Advocacy Service.Visit our full treatment and support glossary
This is a document that sets out how an organisation will act in certain situations. For example, a transition policy should explain how an organisation will manage a young person leaving their services.Visit our full treatment and support glossary
This information was published in June 2019. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.