Big gains for children when CAMHS work with schools

An increase in children’s happiness and well-being as well
as a measurable improvement in behaviour and better peer
relationships resulted from joint working between schools and
professional from child and adolescent mental health services
(CAMHS), a new study from the Mental Health Foundation has

CAMHS staff felt they were reaching children who would not
normally be reached and identifying problems earlier. The services
were more accessible to parents and children and less stigmatising.
Both school and CAMHS staff reported improvements in relationships
between parents and the school, as parents may be more willing to
trust CAMHS workers than teachers.

Although most CAMHS which responded to a questionnaire from the
researchers were already working with schools, there were wide
differences in style. Most were offering consultation and support
to school staff on individual cases, but there were others working
directly with children and parents in schools.

Barriers to joint working included the large investment of time
required, including more meetings and networking time; management
complexities, including sometimes muddled lines of accountability;
sharing information between agencies.
Some respondents were concerned about duplication of work, with
examples of schools being overwhelmed by different agencies coming

Sometimes too CAMHS were overwhelmed by the increase in
referrals from schools, and were unable to meet the demand. There
was also anxiety that professional identities were being eroded,
with some professionals feeling deskilled.

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