Young people in crisis

3 May 2016

Antonia Carding, Team Manager of Camden’s Adolescent Intensive Support Service (CAISS), discusses how a new service in Camden is supporting children and young people in crisis.

The new service in Camden was setup in April 2016 to address the growing need for intensive support for young people in Camden. CAISS offers intensive support for young people and families, aged 11-18, who need it.

It’s now estimated that one in every three children in a classroom has a mental health problem and the number of young people needing specialist services is on the rise. Meanwhile CAMHS, or child and adolescent mental health services, are under resourced and inpatient services are stretched.

Camden is no different to the rest of the UK - it's seen a sharp increase in the number and severity of mental health related admissions for young people in recent years. This has been compounded by many of our partners, both in the statutory and the voluntary sector, being severely affected by austerity measures.

CAISS offers a solution to these problems; working intensively within Camden we offer young people and families the extra support they need to keep them safe and out of hospital. You have to invest to save, and that’s exactly what we’ve done here in Camden.

Working for this service is a privilege, but it’s also essential. We see children and young people who are significantly unwell, often suicidal. The young people we are working with are in turmoil and their world has fallen apart. By helping young people to stay out of hospital, or reduce their hospital stays, we are the first step in their recovery.

It is widely acknowledged that, where appropriate and safe to do so, keeping people out of hospital is best for everyone. Most importantly it gives young people the best chance of getting better, quicker. It also keeps them close to their community – friends, family, and teachers etc, which are important people in anyone’s recovery. It also reduces the burden on other services and eases the pressure on a stretched system.

Only when services are joined up and work together can young people get the support they really need. By working directly with Camden’s community mental health service, local schools and other children’s services CAISS offers a timely, effective service. Staffed by nurses, a psychiatrist and social workers, young people have access to a range of professionals and who collaboratively manage cases.

Alongside community mental health services we will see children up to three times a week and where things are really difficult, offer phone calls in between sessions. This level of intensive support, available to support the work of mental health professionals in Camden, is crucial.

In order to effectively support children and build their resilience for the future we must make sure the whole system works well – both in terms of early intervention and prevention. For young people in crisis or in need of intensive support, it’s crucial there’s an effective service which complements existing services. CAISS does just that.

Male adolescent wearing headphones (ado-180)

Antonia Carding, Team Manager and Head of Nursing Discipline (Children, Young Adults and Families)
We’re supporting NHS England's (London) mental health awareness campaign, which this week focuses on ‘Crisis: supporting people in times of need’.

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