More information about referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Before making a referral, you can call first for a telephone consultation

This service is offered to all professionals considering a referral to Cambridgeshire Community CAMHS or seeking an opinion regarding a particular child, young person or family with whom they are working.  The Single Point of Access staff can advise on:

  • whether Community CAMHS can help
  • how to make a referral
  • what information the service needs
  • what support might be available pending the first appointment

If, after discussion, Community CAMHS is not the right service, the team will be able to advise on other sources of help.

Cambridgeshire Community CAMHS works closely with locality teams, schools, the voluntary sector  and other local organisations working with children and young people.  This close working relationship facilitates children and young people to be seen by the most appropriate service to meet their needs.

How will the Single Point of Access deal with a referral?

On receipt of the referral form (and if relevant also the CAF), the Single Point of Access team will:

  • Review details provided.  If sufficient information is provided they will process the referral. If there is insufficient information, the team will contact the referrer for more details. Referrals will either be accepted or signposted to appropriate services. The referrer/young person/family will be informed by letter and/or phone with the outcome of the referral.
  • Advise which category of intervention is needed based on the information in the referral:
    • A universal service: options for onward referral will be discussed and explained.  Referrer will be responsible for acting on this advice and making an appropriate referral.
    • A targeted service:  The team will discuss this with the appropriate agency and the referrer and pass on the referral as appropriate.
    • A community CAMHS intervention:  One of the community teams will send an appointment letter to the child / young person and their family.

Problems that should be referred to Community CAMHS:

  • Depression indicated by low mood beyond age-appropriate variation which has lasted more than a month
  • Anxiety and related problems (including severe phobias, school phobia, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder)
  • Self-harming, suicidal feelings and behaviours
  • Coping with the effects of trauma (such as being over-anxious, overly vigilant and experiencing flashbacks and nightmares – as in post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Severe habit behaviours such as hair-pulling (known as Trichotillomania) in conjunction with mental health symptoms.
  • Eating disorders (resulting in significant weight loss or affecting growth or binge-eating and purging)
  • Complex attachment difficulties – disturbed relationship with their care giver in conjunction with other significant mental health problems
  • Hearing voices associated with mood disturbance, anxiety or strikingly unusual beliefs and behaviour
  • Problems with concentration and over-activity persistent in more than one setting - eg, school or home (which have not responded to parenting support and school-based intervention)
  • Complex challenging behaviour when this occurs in conjunction with other significant mental health problems
  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Tourette’s Syndrome when there are other significant mental health problems which have not responded to other interventions
  • Learning disabilities, when there are other significant mental health problems causing significant impairment


If a child or young person presents with any urgent physical or medical concerns, and you think they are at risk, they should be taken to their local A&E department who will, if necessary, contact the on-call clinician.

Further information

The page was last updated on 17 February 2020 by aburrows.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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