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My Experience of CAMHS

CAMHS has been a useful service to me for around half of my life (8 years). I was diagnosed with OCD at the age of 9, when I did not understand even what it was, and quickly was put onto a course of CBT, meeting with a psychologist a few times. Years later, at the age of 14, I then again needed treatment for OCD, where I was more severe, perhaps due to stress at the time starting my GCSEs. The only problem was that the waiting list for CBT or even for getting medication with a psychiatrist was a long time – around 6 months, which was a long time, since I was struggling a lot with my OCD. However, for most free healthcare there is a long waiting list with the NHS, and this cannot be helped. It may have improved since my experience there.

The staff at CAMHS are all very friendly and professional – all ideal and suited for their jobs. One psychologist arranged to meet up with me around once a month during the wait for the CBT the second time around and even came out to my school and met me in a quiet room there. All staff are also very compassionate and empathetic, which is very good. After around 2-3 months, in the November of that year, I was offered a group-session CBT-style course for OCD, which was to start earlier than my place on the waiting list for one-to-one CBT. Even though

I was reluctant to take up the offer, I eventually accepted it, which was a very good choice for me, and we started this group session in February the following year. There were about 8 people there, all about my age and having OCD. We meet up frequently, and had workbooks, having sessions which sometimes involved our parents, led by two members of staff. This was very successful, and nearly everybody there benefited significantly. I found it very useful and met lots of friends, many of whom were in my age group and from my school!

I then finished my therapy and by the summer was quite a lot better. I also then joined the user participation group, which we have been doing for about a year now, meeting regularly, and have made some improvements to the service. Although I continue to have some OCD, I can now better manage this and know that I can always go back to CAMHS for help. My experience at CAMHS, although having a couple of problems, was generally very positive, and I am very thankful for this good service.

Nathan, 16,
A service user of CAMHS.