Moving from child to adult mental health services

Your stories

My move from child to adult mental health services

Helen describes how difficult she found it to move from child to adult mental health services.

Posted on 20/06/2019

Tips for managing the move

Moving from CAMHS to Adult Mental Health Services can be a really difficult time, especially as there might be a lot of other changes going on for you right now. 

Here are some tips that might make things a little easier and feel better supported:

 

Get the information you need

Understanding what’s going on can help you feel more in control. Before your appointments with your CAMHS team, you could plan a few questions to ask about what to expect when moving to adult services.

Questions you could ask

There are no right or wrong questions to ask but here’s a list of a few to get you started:

At any time:

  • What age do CAMHS services end in my area?
  • What sort of Adult Mental Health Services are available in my area?
  • What other kinds of support are there (like charity support services)
  • Where can I find a copy of the policy you use for moving from CAMHS to adult services?
  • Am I on the Care Programme Approach (if you live in England)

At 12 – 6 months before you are due to leave CAMHS services:

  • Who will be managing my move to adult services?
  • How often and when will we meet to talk about moving to adult services?
  • Do I have a transition plan and can I see it?
  • What services will I be referred to? 

 If I had been given more information, more freedom and gradual changes instead of being flooded with change all at once, it would have made for a much more manageable and smooth transition

 

Say what's important to you

Young people have told us that you can sometimes see lots of different health professionals when moving from CAMHS to adult services. This can be hard if you have to keep telling your story and explaining what you need to new people.

It might help to write down what you want the people who support you to know, like:

  • things you enjoy and that are important to you
  • things you find difficult and want to see change
  • therapies or treatments you've tried and found helpful or unhelpful
  • the support or treatments you want 
  • your hopes for the future.

You can share this with your CAMHS team and ask them to keep a copy on your records so that it can be sent to any new people working with you. 

If you live in Wales, you can fill out the 'Young Person’s Transition Passport'. 

I was passed from professional to professional, as my birthday got closer and closer.

 

Build your support network

When moving to adult services, it’s important to have as much support around you as possible. This can be from your friends, family or trusted professionals like your CAMHS team, teachers or social workers. 

  • Keep talking - sometimes just letting people know what's going on and how you're feeling can make things a little easier.
  • Tell others how they can help - it might just be being there when you need them or more practical things like going with you to appointments.
  • Ask for help if you need it - this can be hard but it's important to let the people around you know when you're finding things difficult.
  • Talk to your CAMHS team – if you’re feeling really worried about leaving a service, you can talk to your CAMHS team about this and they can talk things through with you.
  • Explore other support options - online, over the phone, or in your local area. See our page on finding support for more information.

If you ever need someone to talk to, you can always speak to someone confidentially who is trained to listen and support you, over the phone, by text or by webchat.

• Childline (0800 11 11) – Run a free 24-hour helpline, email service and online and phone counselling service for children and young people in the UK. They can also provide Welsh speaking counsellors.

• The Mix (0800 808 4994) – Offer a helpline, email, live chat, telephone counselling service and crisis text line for anyone under 25 years old wanting support.

For a full list of charity organisations that offer support, visit our useful contacts page.

Speak to others who have moved from child to adult services

Speaking to others who have been through similar experiences can be really helpful. They might be able to give you advice or just help you to feel like you’re not alone in this.

If you don’t know anyone, ChildLine and The Mix have message boards where you can ask questions, share thoughts and ask others about their experiences.

I think it helps to talk to people who have gone through the same thing because you know you're not alone and they can tell you what they found helpful. 

 

Look after yourself

Moving to adult services can be a really difficult time so it’s really important to be kind to yourself. It might help to:

  • talk to someone you trust, like a friend or trusted adult. See our page on opening up for ideas on how to start the conversation.
  • do things that help you relax, like listening to music or watching your favourite film.
  • do things you enjoy, like a favourite hobby or spending time with people you love.
  • build a self-care box - this is a box you fill with things to help comfort you when you're feeling low or finding things difficult, like things that you enjoy doing or things that help you to relax.

For ideas on taking care of yourself, visit Childline’s page on things you can try when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

Whenever I am faced with change now, rather than worry about the things that are out of my control, I try to focus on the things within my control. Think ‘boring’ self care, like brushing your teeth, or going for a walk; the little things add up! 


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