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    Heyy I have an appointment for CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) and was wondering if anyone has had experience with them? Are they good or just the same as any annoying counsellor?
    Obviously feel free to post anonymously!
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    Some of my friends have had CAMHS appointments and the general consensus is that they are a not great. However, this obviously depends on who you see. My advice would be to go into the appointment with an open mind and work things out from there.
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    CAMHS got me official diagnoses for autism, anxiety, and learning difficulties. I'm planning to see them in the future to ask about OCD, depression, eating problems, and gender dysphoria. I'm in the north-west and most of my interactions with them have been as a teenager, to give some additional perspective.

    I had pleasant experiences speaking to most of the various doctors that saw me, but a few of them did come off as intimidating or patronising, and while I do technically have official diagnoses now, I didn't always feel as though I knew where I stood in regards to the paperwork. One woman said that I was 'just lazy' while I was being seen for learning difficulties, and I remember feeling self-conscious for months afterwards when another psychiatrist suggested I tried 'meeting people's eyes more', an autism-related tic that I had noticed or seen as a problem before. They also tend to insist that your parents sit in with you for at least a short time, which hugely freaked me out due to my own set of issues, but you can ask for them to be sent out. They also set up a meeting with just my parents to discuss me, that I didn't find out about until months later.

    While I haven't started any gender counselling sessions yet, the general impression of CAHMS I have is that a lot of their doctors aren't fully informed on LGBT issues. Though both well-meaning, one counsellor sent information about LGBT groups to my house after our session, even though I was still in the closet and my parents had a tendency to go through my mail, and another kept telling me that I was a 'bright/beautiful/kind young lady', literally no less than five minutes after I had come out to her as a transgender man (so, female to male).

    The clubs and groups that they offered were all useless to me. Some were really patronising, some I couldn't make it to some because of my difficulties with independent travel, and one promised to support my mother with learning how to raise an autistic child and then stopped contacting us after we had to reschedule one session.

    On that note: scheduling. Dear God, CAHMS scheduling. It's a mess. The waiting lists for appointments are awful, and trying to reschedule anything is out of the question, unless you want to get sent to the back of the (huge) queue. They're understaffed and underfunded, and it's ridiculous. Getting a referral through, no matter how much your school's special needs officer or your GP wants it to happen, is a confusing mess. I've been dropped from waiting lists for no reason other than admin error.

    As far as fixing my eating disorder or accessing hormone treatment is concerned, I'm pessimistic. The main positives I take from my experience with CAMHS is that I (eventually) got official diagnoses for my issues (so I can access government support), and that I learned to control my emotions and perfectionism a little better after counselling. A lot of other people I know who have needed CAMHS have also had negative experiences, viewing them as incompetent, patronising, invasive, etc.

    Overall, between a tyrannical scheduling system and weirdly insensitive therapists, CAMHS sucks, but they're a necessary evil if you want to get anything done. However, I hope you do end up having a good experience with them. Don't be too pessimistic going in just because other people have said they're bad.
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    I had personal experience with them from when I was younger, and then for me, it was ok (but then again I was 9 and quite naive).

    I've also met people who've not had such a good experience with them, like my older sister who went when she was about the age I am now (15).

    However, as has been said above, definitely go in with an open mind. I've certainly heard mixed reports, but it might all work out for you!! I really hope it all goes well!
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    Cahms was literally the worst experience for me, I got about three different diagnosis while I was there ranging from Multiple personality disorder to depression and so on,

    The wait times are horrendous, a good 3 month wait between appointments only to be passed from person to person whole I was there,

    The people I did see were rude, pretty nasty and didn't seem to care about my well being,
    They made my abusive mum sit in on appointments where she picked apart my words to make herself look better and the professionals just agreed with her that I was lazy and didn't have any issues. Then slapped diagnosis on me that didn't fit.

    They were weirdly concerned with specific small problems I had while ignoring the bigger problems like hallucination, bipolar, OCD and self harm to talk about my relationship with my family and friends?

    It all felt very condescending and I honestly think it's tainted my mental health history even now.
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    (Original post by TheHairDyeDiarys)
    Cahms was literally the worst experience for me, I got about three different diagnosis while I was there ranging from Multiple personality disorder to depression and so on,

    The wait times are horrendous, a good 3 month wait between appointments only to be passed from person to person whole I was there,

    The people I did see were rude, pretty nasty and didn't seem to care about my well being,
    They made my abusive mum sit in on appointments where she picked apart my words to make herself look better and the professionals just agreed with her that I was lazy and didn't have any issues. Then slapped diagnosis on me that didn't fit.

    They were weirdly concerned with specific small problems I had while ignoring the bigger problems like hallucination, bipolar, OCD and self harm to talk about my relationship with my family and friends?

    It all felt very condescending and I honestly think it's tainted my mental health history even now.
    I had a similar experience, especially with the smaller problems. I found they would only talk to me about bigger things if I said I wanted to, which I never did because I personally hated counselling. To be honest, it seemed like a typical counselling experience so it just depends how open you are to their methods, e.g meditation, cringey self-positivity. For me, it was more of a drag that I had to do but it could be beneficial if you really engage in it I guess.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    Heyy I have an appointment for CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health service) and was wondering if anyone has had experience with them? Are they good or just the same as any annoying counsellor?
    Obviously feel free to post anonymously!
    CAMHS really helped me. I was diagnosed with severe depression, generalisex anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, panic disorder and ASD. They got me on the medication I needed to help control my illnesses and I saw a CPN every 2 weeks and my Psychiatrist every month for a medication review. If it wasn't for the help I had from my second experience with CAMHS, I wouldn't be here today. My first experience with CAMHS was just basically counselling and didn't really help me in the long run.
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    CAHMS really helped me because they diagnosed me with PTSD when other people just passed my behaviour off as anger management so they made a real difference in my life. So I'd say it is worth it if you're willing to put in the extra work because you can't just rely on them to change you.
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    Anyone been to a Northampton assessment? Dm me
 
 
 
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