It’ll take as long as you need I would say- what you’re asked will depend on why you’ve been referred. You’ll probably be asked to complete a questionnaire about your mental state at the moment, how you feel towards various aspects of your life and your moods. You won’t need to prepare anything, the most important thing is to be honest as they can only help you if you tell them how you REALLY feel. They’re professionals and they’ll have heard everything before so don’t be embarrassed to be honest with them, I can’t stress that enough.
Yeah I agree with Steven. When I went I didn't take anything with me, just sat and talked for about 45mins I think. Since then I've had much longer appointments but that's because I'm currently having CBT which is through CAMHS. The only information I would suggest taking with you is some information about any medication you're on. In my first appointmnent they asked me what I was on, the quantaties (eg. 80mg), and how long I'd been taking them.
Depending what it is you're going for, they'll probably ask you to do a few of those sheets where you rate things to get an overall score. Eg, 'I struggle to fall asleep' or 'I feel like I can't breathe when a problem arises' and then you score each one from something like 1-5 (1 being never, 3 being sometimes, and 5 being always). These are easy and quick to do and just help the people at CAMHS understand you a bit better. Don't overthink them and just answer them honestly.
They didn't ask me much in my first appointment, just let me say what I needed to say and explain a bit as to why I was referred and what was affecting me the most. Once I had that first appointment, the person I spoke to discussed with a few other proffesionals about the issues I was having so they could come up with the best solution for me and make sure I was seen by the right people. Obviously I'm just speaking from experience and CAMHS appointments are personal and tailored specifically to your needs.
I 100% agree with Steven about being honest and not being embarrassed. Remember that this is what they specialise in and they will work to help you in the best way possible. Good luck x
- Assessment is about 90 minutes long, but for some people it is less
- We will want to know what is going on for you at the minute, any previous mh difficulties, any mh history in your family. We will also take a social history - so that would be your family situation, where you live, how school is etc. For CAMHS I imagine there would be a stronger influence on family. We would also discuss early childhood experiences and any trauma etc.
- During the assessment we will complete a mental state examination to help us get an idea of your current mental state - some of this is taken from your non-verbal communication and some will be from what you say.
- You will be asked questions that may be irrelevant to you - e.g. drug use, alcohol use, any criminal convictions (often called forensic history), suicidal thoughts, eating difficulties, hallucinations or feelings of paranoia.
- Sometimes it will be done by a doctor, but more often than not, it is done by another professional - often a nurse, social worker or occupational therapist.
- You don't need to prepare anything at all!
Hope that helps, let me know if any questions.