How to refer to Calderdale CAMHS

1. Flowchart

The Calderdale CAMHS First Point of Contact referral flowchart (opens in a new window) is designed to give potential referrers guidance on referring to CAMHS (both Tier 2 and Tier 3).

It provides an overview of how to make a referral, and what the possible outcomes of a referral might be.

2. Referring to Calderdale CAMHS

The First Point of Contact is the single entry point for all CAMHS referrals.

The First Point of Contact has qualified clinical mental health practitioners available to speak to professionals. They can offer referral guidance, consultation, support, advice and signposting information.

Where referrers are unsure about the suitability of a referral they are encouraged to phone the First Point of Contact on 01422 300 001 before submitting, to clarify suitability and ensure that young people are able to access the most suitable service at the earliest point.

You can refer to CAMHS online via our new secure referral form – this is our preferred means of receiving a referral, and it is the quickest and safest way of getting the information to us. The new online referral form is hosted and maintained by an IT software company called Mayden using a secure server using (https) encrypted communications. Referral data is transferred directly onto the secure IAPTus system.

Please note:

  • When you submit the referral you will receive an on-screen message to confirm that your referral has been received
  • we will process the referral as soon as we can and we will contact you and the family to keep you updated
  • due to information governance and data security the new system does not offer the facility for saving partially completed forms
  • for similar reasons, the system doesn’t automatically send you a copy of the referral.
  • We would be happy to post you a copy of the referral information on request (please call us on 01422 300 001)
  • you are also welcome to phone the First Point of Contact on 01422 300 001 if you’d like an update on the referral

Alternatively, you can download and complete the referral form for CAMHS and post it to us at Calderdale CAMHS First Point of Contact, 9 Clare Road, Halifax, HX1 2HX.

3. What do CAMHS offer?

CAMHS can provide support when emotional or mental health problems which significantly affect a child’s daily life despite a preventative or universal services intervention.

Tier 2 CAMHS supports children and young people who experience mild to moderate emotional mental health issues which have not responded to universal services, and which are likely to benefit from a short term intervention.

Tier 3 CAMHS works with more severe, complex, and enduring difficulties affecting children & young people. Tier 3 CAMHS can also help where there is a reasonable indication that the child may have complex neurodevelopmental difficulties eg autistic spectrum continuum, ADHD or other difficulties that may require a multi-disciplinary assessment.

You can find out more about Tier 3 CAMHS on their website at:

Child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS)

Anyone who works with children, young people and families (either on a voluntary or paid basis) can refer into CAMHS via the First Point of Contact on 01422 300 001.

At present we do not accept direct referrals from parent/carers and young people.

We accept referrals from a range of professionals, including:

  • Schools
  • GPs, paediatricians and other health workers e.g. public health nurse (school nursing), health visitor
  • Educational psychologists and education welfare officers
  • Social workers
  • Lifeline/Branching Out, MST and YOT
  • School professionals (normally SENCOs and school nurses)
  • Family services such as Family Support and FIT
  • Therapeutic services such as Noah’s Ark

Referral to CAMHS should be considered in the following cases:

  • Serious deterioration in self-care
  • All/most family members highly distressed
  • Non-school attendance as a result of mental health presentation
  • Serious deterioration in academic attainment related to mental health presentation
  • Social withdrawal (e.g. no contact with friends)
  • Relations with peers leading to serious risk-taking

It’s always best if referrers have met both the young person and their parents/carers to gain consent and explain the referral process. This will increase engagement with young people and their families.

6. What makes a good referral?

The First Point of Contact  staff will be happy to speak to you about any potential referral on 01422 300 001.

If there is insufficient information contained in the referral form, we will contact the referrer and request further information, but this can delay the referral.

7. How referrals are handled

All referrals are normally screened for immediate risk on the working day of receipt by at least one clinician.

Duty clinicians assess the level of urgency of referrals and will forward any emergency CAMHS referrals to the appropriate service.

Once immediate risk has been considered, a more detailed triage process of gathering information then takes place in order to make an informed decision about the best way to meet the needs of the young person. This normally only takes a few working days.

If the referral is not offered a CAMHS intervention then we will always write to the referrer and family to explain the reason and suggest other sources of support if appropriate.

On occasion we may offer professional consultation to clarify the issues prior to starting direct work with a family. Many problems affecting children and young people are complex and involve numerous factors which require multi-agency management and working.

For routine referrals, the family is normally sent a letter asking them to contact CAMHS to make an initial appointment (this is often called a ‘Choice’ appointment). They are offered a choice of clinicians, dates, times and venues. (In certain circumstances the initial appointment will be to offer consultation to professionals). We normally aim to offer this first appointment within 4 weeks of receipt of referral.

The first appointment will normally last for up to an hour and a half. The aim is to get to know the young person and their family and understand their problems. They will then be offered the most appropriate level of support or therapy. Sometimes one appointment is sufficient to resolve difficulties; however, people often attend more than once.

Depending on the presenting problem, various approaches may be offered following the Choice appointment including; individual therapy for a child or young person, family therapy, work with parents or carers, and sometimes medication. Where appropriate, CAMHS will signpost families to other agencies.