My CAMHS team were really good at helping me get support from adult services but the transition from child to adult servcies still felt like a really big change.
What happens when I'm referred to Adult Mental Health Services?
When Adult Mental Health Services get your referral from CAMHS, they will need to find out about the support you need and decide whether their service is right for you. They can do this by:
- looking at your medical notes (the information held about you from CAMHS and your doctor)
- speaking to your CAMHS team
- speaking to your parents
- meeting with you and listening to what support you want.
If there are specific things you want them to know, you should ask the person managing your move to adult services about the best way to tell them.
If they think their service is right for you, they will get in touch to give you an appointment.
What if Adult Mental Health Services won't help me?
Sometimes, based on your referral and finding out what support you need, adult services might say that they can't offer you support. If this happens, they should explain why and tell you where else you can go for support.
If you don’t agree with their decision, you can:
- speak to your CAMHS team to find out what you can do.
- see our page on ‘problems I might face’ for information on things you could try.
How will my parents or carers be involved?
CAMHS encourages families and carers to be involved in your care. When moving to adult services you should be asked how you want your parent or carer to be involved, and what you say should be respected.
How are adult services different?
Every mental health service is slightly different but some people find that Adult Mental Health Services can be quite different from CAMHS.
You might find:
- the relationship with your mental health team is different.
- you receive more or less support than before.
- there are different support and treatment options.
- you're in groups with adults a lot older than you.
- adult services might speak to your family and caregivers less than CAMHS. If you still want your family to be involved, you should make this clear.
- adult services might focus more on your diagnosis.
The difference between child and adult services can sometimes feel quite scary and overwhelming. See our page on ‘What I can do’ for ideas of things that might make things feel a little easier.
To find out about the support options available when you turn 18, you can see our guide on seeking help for adults.
What happens if I turn 18 whilst I’m in hospital?
If you're staying in hospital as an in-patient, planning to move to adult services should start 6 months before you turn 18. The plan should explain what happens when you turn 18, like:
- being moved to an adult ward - as hospital wards are split into adolescent and adult wards.
- discharged - if you are well enough.
Sometimes you might be allowed to stay on the adolescent ward until you're discharged, but this depends on the hospital.
What if I’ve been sectioned in the past?
Sectioning is when you are kept in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983. You can be sectioned if you are at risk of hurting yourself, or to protect other people.
Sometimes being sectioned gives you a legal right to support. If you have been sectioned under section 3, 37, 47 or 48, you have a legal right to support called section 117 aftercare.
Section 117 support will be personal to you, depending on what support you need to stop your mental health from getting worse. This right to support doesn't end when you leave CAMHS so your legal right to the support you need will not change when you move to adult services.
In a strange sort of way, I was lucky. I had a legal right to treatment with adult services, and a team of professionals fighting my corner.