Islington CAMHS in Schools


Information for children, young people, parents and carers

Over the past few years we have been developing our CAMHS services in Islington to try make it easier for all children, young people and families who need CAMHS support, whatever their background, to get to us. As well as holding clinics all over the borough, we have been developing our links with local schools with the intention of making support for the mental health and emotional well being of young people less of a stigma.

Islington Community CAMHS has a long history of working with schools, supporting staff to improve the emotional health of their students. This work has developed further since 2011, when CAMHS was funded by Education to provide a service to all of the 45 primary schools and 10 secondary schools across the borough, as well as to Islington’s special schools (primary and secondary): The Bridge, Samuel Rhodes and Richard Cloudesley. We now have named clinicians working in every one of those schools.

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What sort of work do we offer in schools?

How the CAMHS time in each school is used is very varied and is developed through discussion with senior staff in each school. It can include:

  • Seeing young people, parents/carers in school individually or together to help with children’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, especially where the difficulties are related to school.
  • Observing children in the school setting.
  • Offering groups for children and/or parents.
  • Running coffee mornings for parents about particular issues related to children’s social, emotional and behavioural difficulties.
  • Screening for developmental disorders such as ADHD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
  • Being part of the school’s Pastoral Care Team and attending meetings where children, young people and families with social, emotional and behavioural difficulties are discussed.
  • Talking to school staff and parents and carers about possible referrals to CAMHS and what to expect.
  • Helping communication between school and home.
  • Offering training to school staff.
  • Organising mental health screenings of whole year groups to help schools understand what the needs in the school might be.
  • Working closely with other professionals who are working with children and young people in school (e.g. Educational Psychologists / Social Workers / Speech and Language Therapists /Families First / Mentoring services such as Chance UK  and Friendship Works).

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What does this school-based service look like?

We have a Schools’ Lead Team for Islington Community CAMHS, responsible for supporting and developing the work in schools.

The Schools’ Lead Team:

Anna Picciotto and Vicki Matthison

Anna Picciotto (left), CAMHS Lead for Schools

Vicky Mattison (right), CAMHS Deputy Lead for Schools (with responsibility for special schools)

CAMHS clinicians are allocated to each of the schools in the borough. Each school and clinician is supported by a member of the Schools’ Lead Team.

The clinician in school could be a Clinical Psychologist, a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist or a Family Therapist by training.

The work that they do in the school will depend on the needs of the school. Some schools may have more than one clinician with different training working with them.

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How can you or your child see the CAMHS clinician in school?

Referrals to the school’s CAMHS clinician usually come from school. However, parents or carers can talk to school staff about the possibility of being seen in school if they have concerns. Often parents and teachers are asked whether they would prefer to be seen at school or at the clinic.

The person who makes the referral is different in each school, but is usually the person responsible for pastoral care (this could be the Head, SENCo or Inclusion Manager in primary schools and Heads of Year or the Head of Behaviour or Inclusion in secondary schools).

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Additional Information for School Staff and other Professionals

Our service in schools is also focused on making CAMHS support more available to school staff and other professionals who work in schools.

We are committed to delivering consultation and training to staff, both in the form of formalised trainings (such as Solihull /Attachment theory/ understanding ADHD), and also by supporting individuals or groups of staff with dilemmas relating to children in their classes.

We have found that requests for consultation to staff often increase after training on specific topics, and may mean that children and young people can access CAMHS support without actually being seen in a regular way themselves, through conversation and thinking with the teachers and teaching support staff who already know the child, young person and family well.

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Last updated on 17th November 2017