Emotional and Mental Health

Most parents, especially those with a child who has diagnosed special educational needs and disabilities, may be particularly concerned about their child’s emotional and mental health, particularly when there are factors outside of their control that may contribute to their emotional wellbeing.

Other parents may feel that their child has a mental health condition, but it has not yet been diagnosed.

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

In order to address the issue of longer term mental health problems and social exclusion, the  Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)  offers assessment and treatment for children and young people up to the age of 18 with emotional, behavioural or mental health difficulties.

CAMHS offers four levels (or tiers) of service as follows:

Tier 1
Support from Primary Care Workers who are not mental health specialists, such as GPs school nurses, health visitors, teachers, social workers and youth workers who are able to offer general advice and treatment for less severe problems.

Tier 2 Targeted Mental Health Service (TaMHS)
TaMHS is Swindons Tier 2 CaMHS service and it is part of the Integrated Locality Service for Children and Young People, aged between 0 – 18 years and their families.

TaMHS aims to ensure that the emotional and mental health needs of children and young people are appropriately dealt with at the earliest opportunity. We are the single point of access for requests for all mental health interventions including specialist services (i.e. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services , including Learning Disability CaMHS).

We also provide the parenting package for the ADHD pathway and run two family links nurturing programmes every ten weeks We liaise with other agencies and work closely with both statutory and non-statutory services. TaMHS also deliver training and consultation to the Tier 1 (Universal services) and core time to the Childrens centres.

TaMHS will offer short-term interventions tailored to meet the needs of each child, young person and family. We work on an individual basis, with groups or with families, using evidence-based interventions such as Solution Focused Therapy or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

We aim to work in settings that are easily accessible and familiar to children and families, such as schools, Children’s Centres and homes.  Schools, Colleges and Childrens Centres can also buy in bespoke training packages, additional consultancy for school staff or parents, clinical supervision and group interventions based on a nurture group model such as Rainbow Groups and Go-Zone groups, one to one work for children, young people and their families. The team consists of Clinical practitioners who have professional qualifications in Mental health nursing, general nursing, social work, art therapy and counseling and seven outreach workers who have a wealth of experience of working with Children and young people who have mental health difficulties.

The Targeted Mental health service can be accessed via a request for service via a GP, another health professional, ie school nurse, health visitor, the child/young person s school, social care and any other statutory or voluntary agency. We work with children and young people with emotional and mental health needs that cannot be met by staff within universal settings such as schools and children’s centre’s.

  • 0-4 years: Concerns about attachment, routines and boundary setting, separation anxiety.
  • 4-8 years: Anxiety, aggression, oppositional or challenging behaviour, concerns about attachment, low self esteem, bereavement, loss, trauma, routines and boundary setting, hyperactivity, emotional distress, low mood
  • 8 years upward: Anxiety, low mood, depression, withdrawn behaviour, compulsive and obsessive behaviour patterns, low self esteem, distorted body image, issues regarding gender/identity, inappropriate sexual behaviour, substance misuse, bereavement, loss, self harm, eating disorders.

Following receipt of a referral we will screen the referral, we will then send you an appointment to attend a clinic for an assessment appointment. During the appointment a decision will be made as to the appropriate intervention for the Child or young person. Occassionally after we have assessed the Child or Young person it may be appropriate that they are seen by another service, we will then make the appropriate referrals on.

Tier 3
Tier 3 is often referred to as CAMHS and includes support from specialist multi-disciplinary teams e.g. Child and Adolescent Mental Health teams based in a community mental health clinic or child psychiatry outpatient department. The problems dealt with at this level are more severe, complex and persistent disorders that cannot be dealt with at Tier 2. Team members may include child and adolescent psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, community psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists and art/music/drama therapists.

Tier 4
These are essential services such as specialist day and inpatient units for children and young people with the most serious emotional and mental problems.

The range of conditions treated include:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • Deliberate Self Harm
  • Depression and Suicidal Thoughts
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Tourettes
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Psychotic Illness

How to Access CAMHS

If you think you or your child needs to see someone from CAMHS, the first step is to talk to a teacher, school nurse, social worker or your GP. They will ask you some questions about your situation and how you are feeling and if they decide that you should speak to CAMHS, they will write a referral letter explaining why they feel it would be helpful for you to have an appointment.

After we receive the referral, we will send you a letter inviting you to an initial appointment, during which time your child’s situation will be assessed. Following this meeting, we will then write to you outlining everything that was discussed and any plan of action that was agreed.

If your child is aged 16 or over, they may be seen on their own and we may write to them directly.

The CAMHS team will ensure that the child or young person is referred to the best person to support their needs.



On Trak Youth Counselling Service

 On Trak Youth Counselling Service  provides free advice, support and services to young people in Swindon between the ages of 14-19 (at the time of referral), who are experiencing a mental health problem or emotional distress.

An appointment can be made via phone by the person needing the service, or by parents and carers. Following the initial appointment when an assessment will be made, the young person may be offered short, medium or long-term one-to-one counselling, usually on a weekly basis. Where appropriate, they may also be referred or directed to other support services.

Swindon Mind

Swindon Mind offers one-to-one appointments to explore possible solutions to someone’s emotional distress and to identify their strengths and skills to aid their recovery.

They also offer group sessions on different aspects of mental health, including stress solutions, increasing self-esteem and promoting relaxation.

In An Emergency


Useful Links


Okus Road Swindon SN1 4JS Tel: 01865 903422
Swindon Mind Swindon Advice and Support Centre, Sanford House, Sanford Street, Swindon SN1 1HE. Tel:01793 432031
On Trak Victoria Road Swindon SN1 3DF Tel: 01793 612969 Email: ontrak@swindon.gov.uk
Swindon & District Samaritans 6 Curtis Street Swindon SN1 5JU Tel: 01793 527373
Sane: a leading UK mental health charity
LIFT Psychology in Swindon
Young Minds: The voice for young people’s mental health and wellbeing

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