Children's mental health services (CAMHS) - Derby and southern Derbyshire

An update on how Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting CAMHS and guidance on where you can find additional support is available here

We support children, young people and their families / carers, in Derby City and South Derbyshire.

Our services have been rated 'outstanding' by the people who inspect us, who are called the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

These pages will tell you about what we do and give you some advice and help. Choose from one of our popular pages or click on one of the tiles or links below.

Want to give us feedback about the information on one of the pages? Click on the 'was this page helpful' button at the bottom of the page.

Brief guide for parents on reintegrating children to school during COVID-19

Parents and children may be worried about the return to school this September. This is understandable. It is important to remember, however, that:

  • Returning to school is vital for children’s education and their wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental to children’s cognitive and academic development.

  • The lockdown has not overall had a positive impact on young people’s mental health.  

  • The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health agrees with children returning to school this September. Children are generally less seriously affected by COVID-19. If they become ill, they tend to get a very mild infection. When schools have reopened during the pandemic there have not been huge spikes in infections.

Preparation for school

Children may find it of benefit to get themselves back into a routine before school starts. This includes getting up early in the mornings, getting ready to go to school and sleeping on time. 

Schools may send advanced plans for reintegration, with proposed timetables and expectations of what children will be doing, as well as clarity on what emotional support will be in place or available for those who are struggling. School may use visual aids and social stories to help children adjust to new routines and activities. This may be particularly helpful for some children who are anxious about falling behind, the increase in workload when school reopens and not doing as much work as their peers. 

A flexible or phased reintegration into school may be required. It is important to have these conversations and agree on plans as soon as possible to minimise contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, do not attend school.

Look at this link for an EasyRead social story to help children understand about going back to school. 

Spotting the signs if your child is struggling

If children are struggling with the return to school, this may present itself in the following ways: 

  • Changes in the child’s behaviour and how they play and interact with others

  • Changes in their sleeping, eating and levels of confidence and independence 

  • Emotional difficulties, for example, becoming more anxious, clingy, withdrawn, irritable and aggressive.

Supporting your child

Emotional needs can be met through support from family and school, but if difficulties continue or escalate, it is important to get further advice. Health professionals are able to assist young people to help deal with the anxiety and uncertainty they may feel, by validating their worries and developing coping strategies. 

A key factor is effective communication between parents/carers and professionals. It is important for the health workers to know how the child has coped during the period of pandemic and whether they have experienced any direct or indirect illness or bereavement.

For children with special educational needs, the use of communication aids and visual guides may also be helpful. If there is a new or concerning behaviour it is important to understand the function behind this behaviour. This may include a sensory seeking/avoidance behaviour which may have a self-soothing effect. The child may display avoidant behaviour when exposed to adverse or unwanted situations. It can be helpful to consider what was happening before the behaviour occurred and what the outcome of the behaviour was. It is also important to understand triggers for anxiety or distress as well as de-escalation strategies.

Ensure that children have access to self-soothe aids. It may be helpful to include self-soothe activities during the day, whether children are at school or at home.

If as a parent or carer you are struggling with your own emotional wellbeing and mental health, or if you are struggling to support your child, it may be helpful for you to seek support too.

Measures in schools

Government guidance specifies that the following conditions should be met in schools:

  • Minimise contact with individuals who are unwell 
  • Clean hands thoroughly more often than usual
  • Ensure good respiratory hygiene 
  • Introduce enhanced cleaning
  • Minimise contact between individuals and maintain social distancing
  • School bubbles can be used which may include whole classes or year groups. 
Useful websites

Helpful YouTube videos about safe return to education:

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