CAMHS Triaging - “Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable”

Course overview

CAMHS Triage practice is essential to meeting the requirement of allowing the filtering and designating of referrals appropriately to CAMHS or local social and voluntary services.

Mindful of this, systemic knowledge and capability are critical to engagement with parents and children as well as referrers. Relationships with referring organisations/ disciplines helping to build professional capital and collaborating partnerships with other organisations to enable successful signposting and risk management. 

Addressing mental health and its related complexity and safeguarding concerns, involves making decisions under conditions of uncertainty and urgency (Lephron and Patel 1995). This is in part due to partial or inaccurate information which needs to be processed / formulated rapidly with clear guidance for the family and the referrer.

Extrapolating information and predicting risk and advising accordingly is a crucial competence to the role. 

For these reasons, Triage has been compared to the work of air Traffic controllers. Clinicians are involved in making complicated real world difficult decisions using pattern recognition, then proceeding based on judgement, experience and context. Pushing the boundaries of professional practice and dealing with “messy problems” (Moon 2007) (Smith 2013).  

The nature of the work requires reflective capability to “think outside of the box” and recognise the personal emotional impact of the work in managing high level risk. The issue if not addressed has potential to hinder Judgement and decision making. Additionally, rigid reliance on assessment tools and policy can hinder effectiveness and possibly heighten risk.  

Significantly, a robust triaging process with capable, confident and reflective practitioners can reduce waiting lists and support a smoother running of the service. An additional advantage is to instil systemic resilience into to the community. 

Subjects to be covered

  • Policy and service user perspectives and referrers   

  • Reflective practice

  • Communication  

  • Triaging and risk management in the context of risks to individual referrals along with supply and demand risks that services may endure.

  • Systemic approaches

  • Importance of local knowledge, demographics and trends.  

  • Risk and resilience (Child, family, organisation and community) exploring systemic service gaps,

  • Developing a triage approach / model

Teaching and Learning Strategies

  • Power point slides

  • Role plays

  • Short video clips

  • Break out groups / group discussions

  • Case studies

The workshop is aimed at all CAMHS practitioners and managers who want to develop their knowledge and capability in Clinical Triage Practice. The training can also be adapted to support commissioners in relationship to best practice models and collaborative working with providers and other stake holders.  

The course is being run by the Tavistock and Portman in collaboration with FACCTTS (Family Adolescent Child Consultation Therapeutic and Training Solutions).

The course facilitator is Martin Smith, a Consultant CAMHS Nurse, Director of FACCTTS and a member of the National Consortium of Consultant Nurses in Dual Diagnosis.  

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom. This is very easy and safe to use regardless of your level of IT skill.
You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this test link ( to check your set up before booking.
Additional resources for this course will be provided using Moodle, our virtual learning environment.
You will be sent joining instructions including all the necessary login links, passwords and guidance on how to use the relevant functionality about a week before the course start date.

Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us at to discuss how we can best help you.

New dates will be advertised here in due course. If you have any queries or would like to be added to the course waiting list please contact us at

New dates will be advertised here in due course. If you have any queries or would like to be added to the course waiting list please contact us at

Certificate of attendance
Course length:
1 day
Admission status:

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