Get help now Make a donation

Moving from child to adult mental health services

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.

This page is also available in Welsh.

What if I have problems when moving to adult services?

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.

Problems that sometimes happen are:

  • No one is managing your move from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health Services.
  • You're not given a copy of your care plan explaining what you need and the support you will get when moving to adult services.
  • You have your care plan but don't agree with what it says.
  • You're not referred to adult services but you want to be.
  • There's a gap between CAMHS ending and getting support from adult services.
  • You're told you don't meet the criteria for Adult Mental Health Services.

No matter what the problem, we're here to help you find the support you need.

"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."

Below are ideas of things that might help, but these can be difficult, so if you can, try and get support from a friend or trusted adult.

Speak to your CAMHS team

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.

Find out what should be happening

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."

Find an advocate

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:

  • going to appointments with you
  • helping get your voice heard and get the support you want
  • asking questions that you're not comfortable asking
  • reminding you if you forgot to ask something
  • helping to explain or find information.

Where can I find a professional advocate?

To find an advocate, it might help to ask your doctor if they know any local advocacy services.

If you live in England – you could also contact VoiceAbility or POhWER who are a charity organisations who offer free advocacy services.

If you live in Wales – you could contact the National Youth Advocacy Service.

Making a complaint

If you feel like you're not being treated fairly or you're not been given the support you need, you can make a complaint.

You can ask the service you're making the complaint about how to do this. They might ask you to write a letter of complaint or to fill in a form.

Template for complaint letter or email

Download a draft letter or email template explaining what's been happening and what you would like to happen now (Word or PDF – new window).

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.

Explore other support options

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:

  • your doctor
  • charity services – for example, this might be counselling support, or peer support groups where you can meet with other young people to talk about your experiences and share tips
  • school, college or university – these often run wellbeing and mental health support services.

For more options, read our page on finding support.

< What can I do?

Go to our resources on how to get help and support >

Go to our main info hub for young people >

This information was published in June 2019. We will revise it in 2022.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

Share this information

arrow_upwardBack to Top