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Sometimes it can seem like we are talking in another language as health services have lots of acronyms (letters which stand for words) and phrases you may hear. We have sorted some of what you might hear into categories. Click the drop down menus to read more.


Assessment and Short-Term Intervention Specialist Team. Most assessments at CAMHS are with this team. They will help a young person and their family to decide whether CAMHS is the right service for them or whether another service might be more helpful. They also offer short-term support and wellbeing/resilience groups. 


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services - the NHS service that works to support children/young people and their families when a child/young person is experiencing difficulties with their mental health. Staff may include Mental Health Practitioners, Nurses, Psychiatrists, Family Therapists, Cognitive Behavioural Therapists and other specialist practitioners. They also work closely with other agencies to provide a joined-up approach to support. 


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Youth Offending Service. This service provides specialist support to young people who have entered the criminal justice system and are experiencing mental health difficulties such as low mood or anxiety.


CAMHS Intellectual Disabilities. This service is for children/young people with an Intellectual Disability who also require support in relation to their mental health or emotional and behavioural well-being. The team works closely with parents, carers and other agencies (e.g. schools, social care, other health teams) to provide a multi-agency approach in meeting the child's or young person’s needs.


A care co-ordinator is a qualified professional who is responsible for overseeing your care at CAMHS and working to try to ensure that they source the help and support that you need.


Local council services that work to safeguard and support the needs and welfare of children. 


Any information you give to CAMHS should be kept private, unless you consent to it being shared with others. However, if there are concerns about your safety or the safety of someone else, confidentiality may be broken. Staff at CAMHS will always try to tell you if they need to share your information with anyone else. 


This means saying ‘Yes’ to something that affects you. ‘Informed consent’ means that you fully understand what you are agreeing to. If you are unable to consent because of your age or you do not fully understand, we may ask your family/carers to consent on your behalf.


Care Quality Commission. An independent regulator which inspects health and social care services in England. Find out more at


A CAMHS professional who can provide mental health advice and support to young people, parents/carers and professionals. For more info, visit our "need help" page.


Enhanced Home Support Service. A short-term enhancement on current CAMHS support when risk changes or there are concerns over risk. EHSS aims to keep children and young people out of hospital and also offers support when children and young people come out of hospital.


This means when a certain treatment or approach (e.g. a particular therapy or medication) has been tested and found to work well for certain conditions or difficulties.


This is when the information you provide helps you and the people who are working with you to understand and map out the difficulties and problems you are experiencing and work out ways in which they can support and help you.


A tool that helps you to think about what you want to achieve from your time with CAMHS and then helps you to measure how close you are to achieving this.


Whilst we prefer people to remain in their own home, sometimes the problems that they are experiencing need more intensive help and support and they need to be admitted to an inpatient unit. Sometimes you might hear this called a ‘Tier 4 Service.'


Another word for support or treatment. It means that you and CAMHS are working together to try and manage your difficulties and prevent them from getting worse.


Multi-Agency Team - (known as 'Early Help Team' in Derbyshire) these are local council services that work at an early stage to help parents and carers meet the emerging needs of children and young people or support them after a period of more intensive support. Professionals within a MAT team may include: children's practitioners; education welfare officers, youth workers etc. 


These are standard ways of measuring the difference that a treatment/intervention has made to you. We will ask you to rate how you are feeling on a questionnaire (you might hear one of these being called ‘RCADs’) and we may also ask your parents/carers how they think things are going too. Other questionnaires might cover how you feel your sessions have been going and whether they are helpful. This all helps us make sure we try to offer you the best possible support. 


Education offered to children, young people and their families that helps them to understand their difficulties, what keeps them going and what they can do to improve their health and wellbeing.


A doctor who specialises in providing mental health care, including prescribing any necessary medication or making diagnoses.


This is a branch of support within CAMHS that works with young people with complex mental health difficulties and trauma (this team forms part of Supported Care)


Rapid Intervention Support and Empowerment. This team is usually based at Childrens A&E and supports children and young people experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harm.


Every young person who comes to CAMHS will have a risk assessment completed to explore any potential risks that may impact them or others. This is regularly updated throughout someone’s time with CAMHS. 


When there is risk identified from a CAMHS assessment, the worker will work together with the child/young person and their family to produce a plan to keep them as safe as possible. 


Special Community Advisors. A team who offer a ‘prevention and promotion’ approach towards mental health for professionals outside of CAMHS.


Single Point of Access. Most referrals into CAMHS go to SPOA. This is a regular meeting where CAMHS workers and a range of professionals from other agencies discuss referrals to try to ensure that each person is referred to the right service for them the first time round.


If it is felt your difficulties require more than short-term intervention from CAMHS you may be referred into this area of the service (the Recovery team is part of this)


Team Around the Family. When there are other agencies outside of CAMHS involved  to support a child/young person, this may be called a TAF. The professionals work together to support a family, recognising their strengths as well as their needs. TAF meetings are when the family meets with the different key professionals involved in supporting them to produce a plan to help them achieve their goals.


This is a plan agreed by you, your family and those helping you at CAMHS. It should look at what your needs are, what you want help with and how those aims will be met.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. A type of therapy that looks at how you think about yourself, the others and the world. It explores the links between your thoughts, emotions, physical feelings and behaviours. CBT helps you to learn new ways of thinking and behaving with the aim of improving your mental health and wellbeing.


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. A therapy targeted towards individuals who require support in regulating their emotions and relationships. This is usually held in a group format where young people are taught skills of mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness. Sometimes additional 1:1 sessions are provided.


This involves working with you and all relevant members of your family to help reduce/improve your problems and difficulties. This may include working with a Family Therapist, a Systemic Family Practitioner and other members of the wider team, in a range of different ways. 


Non-Violent Resistance Training. This forms part of family support by empowering the parent/carer and teaching ways of how to de-escalate challenging situations with their child/young person.


Radically Open Dialectical Behaviour Therapy - a group therapy for young people who have an over-controlled coping style. 


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterised by a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity–impulsivity that interferes with day-to-day functioning and/or development.   People with ADHD can seem restless, may have trouble concentrating and may act on impulse.
Find out more on the Young Minds website.


Most people experience anxiety at some point in their lives and this is completely normal, but sometimes this can begin to impact on someone’s day-to-day life and stop them from doing the things they want to do. Often people with anxiety will avoid the things they fear, but this makes the anxiety worse. Anxiety is part of many different difficulties, some of which are listed below. 
Find out more on the Young Minds website.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Autism. A lifelong developmental disability which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.  Autism affects everyone differently but it is typically characterised by difficulties with social communication, social interaction and repetitive/restricted patterns of interest or behaviour. Find out more on this website.


Eating Disorder. Everyone eats differently, but sometimes this can begin to take over someone’s life. This can include difficulties such as anorexia and bulimia. Find out more on the Young Minds website.


Generalised Anxiety Disorder. We all worry from time to time, but someone with GAD is likely to feel anxious about almost everything and anything. Often, people affected by GAD will feel overly worried about a wide range of things relating to a variety of topics including health, money, work, school and relationships. They may also worry about worrying, feel that they cannot deal with problems and dislike uncertainty. Find out more on the Anxiety Canada website.


It is normal to have down days with your mood but when your negative emotions last a long time or feel very severe, this may be a sign of depression. This can affect how an individual feels about themselves, their future, others, the world. They may also experience feelings of hopelessness. 
Find out more on the Young Minds website.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A difficulty that causes lots of intrusive, unwanted thoughts as well as urges to behave in certain ways to try to stop bad things from happening. 
Find out more on the Young Minds website


Unexpected and repeated panic attacks (a sudden surge of anxiety and physical sensations), and fear of something bad happening because of the panic attack (e.g. going crazy, losing control, or dying). This can cause major changes in behaviour to avoid having another attack (e.g. avoiding exercise). Find out more on the Anxiety Canada website.


It is normal to have fears and worries about some things when growing up but when there is an extreme anxiety response towards something that is not causing immediate danger (e.g. a dog, spiders, lifts etc) this may be considered a phobia. 
Find out more on the Anxiety Canada website


When someone sees/hears things that others don’t, or loses touch with reality, it may be a sign of psychosis. However, these experiences can also happen for other reasons so it is important to discuss them with a mental health professional. 
Find out more on the Young Minds website.


Post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can occur after someone experiences something extremely frightening, like violence or abuse. It can also affect someone if they witnessed something terrible happening, such as a serious accident. 
Find out more on the Young Minds website.​​​​​​​


When someone hurts themselves on purpose. Someone usually self-harms because of something that is bothering them and it can seem like the only way to manage or let those feelings out. 
Find out more on the Young Minds website.​​​​​​​
‘Calm Harm’ is a useful app to help with self-harm


A highly anxious response to actual or anticipated separations from parents or other important caregivers that extends well beyond the first one-two years of school and is far more extreme than that experienced by their peers. Find out more on the Anxiety Canada website.​​​​​​​


An excessive and persistent fear of social and/or performance situations such as school, parties, athletic activities etc. People with social anxiety are often very worried that they may do something embarrassing, or others will think badly of them, so will often avoid social situations or engage in unhelpful behaviours to try and cope. Find out more on the Anxiety Canada website.​​​​​​​


This is when someone has thoughts to intentionally end their life. Experiencing thoughts of suicide are common and can happen for lots of different reasons but they can also be very frightening for the individual and those around them. It is important for someone to seek help from others if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts or making plans to end their life. Below are some agencies outside of CAMHS who can help:


Autism Diagnostic Interview Revised. This may be used as part of the assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It focuses on behaviour in three main areas: reciprocal social interaction; communication and language; and restricted and repetitive, stereotyped interests and behaviours.


Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. This may be used as part of assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. ADOS is a semi-structured, standardised assessment of communication, social interaction, play, and restricted and repetitive behaviours.


The Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders. A DISCO may be used as part of an assessment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a detailed, semi-structured interview designed to find out about the person's development, behaviour and skills since birth through to their current day-to-day functioning.  


A widely used objective test that measures activity, attention and impulsivity, as part of an assessment for ADHD.