Mental health problems in childhood are very common, affecting around 1 in 10 children. They are even more common amongst disabled children. For example, children with a learning disability are four and a half times more likely to experience poor mental health than children who do not have a learning disability. However, parents often report long waits to access the right support for their child. This is not helped by a lack of information about the services that are available. We have compiled an overview of local services to try and address this issue.
This is not a comprehensive list – for example, we have not included services that only cater for adults, or services that only cater for specific subgroups, such as children in care, or LGBT+ young people. You can find information about these other services on the Sheffield Mental Health Guide.
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service)
Who for: Children and young people up to 18 years with significant mental health difficulties which do not respond to first-line treatments provided by professionals like GPs, social workers or learning support mentors; complex cases which require a team assessment; children experiencing severe symptoms and/or marked disruption to their functioning at home and/or at school. If the problem mainly occurs in school, the school should initially refer to MAST or Educational Psychology.
Offer: Comprehensive assessments; identification of treatment goals and the most appropriate care pathway; specialist therapeutic evidence-based treatments, which may involve working individually with the child, with the parents or with the whole family and the wider system around the child
Who can refer: GPs, Social Workers, Educational Psychologists, Paediatricians and Clinical Psychologists at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, MAST Primary Mental Health Workers
Contact: See www.sheffieldchildrens.nhs.uk/services/camhs for details
Who for: Young people aged 14-25 years living in Sheffield who want to help improve mental health support and services for other children and young people
Offer: No direct counselling or mental health support, but runs a group called STAMP, which meets at 5-7pm every Monday at a city centre location. The group looks at existing mental health support, reflects on experiences and gathers feedback from other young people in order to influence change across the city and further afield.
Who can refer: No referral needed
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0114 234 8846
Who for: Young people aged 13-25 years with low-level social, emotional, practical or health-related issues. Not suitable for those who are in crisis and/or need medical treatment
Offer: Drop-in service for one-to-one support on Wednesdays, 11am-4pm; weekly wellbeing café with activities on Tuesdays, 5pm-7pm; structured one-to-one support; access to counselling provided by Interchange; information, advice, guidance, signposting and supported referrals to other services; sexual health information and advice; direct access to substance misuse support; practical support
Who can refer: Drop in at the above times, or contact them touch for a referral form for structured one-to-one support (parents, professionals or self-referrals)
Contact: Door43@sheffieldfutures.org.uk / 0114 201 2760
Who for: Children and young people aged 0-25 years, where there are concerns that they have additional educational needs that are not being met. For mental health this might be difficult, demanding or concerning behaviour or symptoms of mental health difficulty that are affecting progress in school or prevent regular school attendance.
Offer: Consultation support for schools; psychological assessments and reports; guidance for staff about interventions to enable children and young people to learn effectively and be included
Who can refer: Any school or setting, including colleges, can request involvement from an Educational Psychologist with parental consent.
Contact: email@example.com / 0114 250 6800
Who for: Young people aged 11-18 years wanting support with their emotional wellbeing
Offer: Weekly drop-in sessions, one-to-one mentoring and befriending, five-week courses about managing emotions, separate self-esteem courses for boys and girls, sexual health advice
Who can refer: Any professional, parents and the young people themselves
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0114 327 1191
Who for: Children and young people up to 25 years with mental health needs including anxiety, depression, trauma, suicidal ideation, self-harm
Offer: Person-centred psychotherapy, art therapy, therapeutic group work, resilience-building and mental health awareness-raising workshops. Does not provide crisis support
Who can refer: Young people aged 14-24 years can self-refer via Door 43 or can be referred through Door 43 by GPs, colleges, schools, and families; those aged 8-24 years can be referred directly by health service providers, schools and colleges where funding has been identified
Contact: email@example.com / 0114 276 8922
Who for: Young people aged 11-18 years wanting support around their emotional wellbeing and low-level mental health issues. Must be able to read and write, as all the support is delivered through a website.
Offer: Up to 12 hours of online counselling (one-to-one instant messaging sessions), either on a “drop-in” basis or as regular sessions with a named, qualified counsellor; peer-to-peer support through moderated online forums; “Ask Kooth” messaging service, where young people can ask questions and get a response within 24 hours; online magazine, mostly written by users
Who can refer: Self-referral only
MAST (Multi Agency Support Teams)
Who for: Children and young people aged 0-19 years with emotional health and wellbeing issues, such as low mood, anxiety and stress, anger, low self-esteem impacting body image, bereavement, insecure attachment, superficial self-harm
Offer: Group work; one-to-one sessions if there are additional issues, such as children missing school, children with challenging behaviour, families experiencing poverty or long-term unemployment, etc. Advice, signposting and resources for parents. MAST workers are supported by Primary Mental Health Workers, who include social workers and mental health nurses (not trained psychologists).
Who can refer: Any professional, parents and young people themselves
Contact: See www.sheffield.gov.uk/mast for details
Ryegate Clinical Psychology
Who for: Children aged 2-16 years who are under the care of the Ryegate Neurodisability Service, where there are concerns about their emotional and behavioural progress that require a detailed assessment and intervention plan
Offer: Assessments and interventions; parent workshops on social stories, and on understanding and managing anxiety / anger in children with autism
Who can refer: Ryegate doctors, nurses and therapists. The team works closely with CAMHS to identify whether Ryegate or CAMHS would best meet the child’s needs. There is often a long wait for this service, and the team will try to ensure that all other suitable forms of support have been accessed before putting a child on the waiting list.
SYEDA (South Yorkshire Eating Disorder Association)
Who for: Young people aged 16+ who are affected by mild to moderate eating disorders, and their friends and family members
Offer: One-to-one therapeutic and practical support, including talking therapies, occupational therapy and support groups
Who can refer: Self-referral
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0114 272 8822
Going private is not an option for everyone because it can be expensive. If you decide to look into private therapy for your child, then the Counselling Directory is a good place to start; you can search it for therapists in your area who work with children. Always make sure that the therapist is registered with a professional body, and get clarity about their charges before you commit to paying for therapy. You might want to ask how much they charge per session, whether they offer reduced rates for people on low incomes, whether they offer a free introductory session and whether they charge for missed appointments.
Schools also have the option of using their delegated budgets to purchase staff training and therapeutic input for their students from private therapists, and we believe that some schools in Sheffield do this.
The Sheffield Mental Health Guide is a website with information about mental health services, support and activities for children and adults in our city.
Epic Friends is a website developed by Sheffield CAMHS for children and young people with friends who have, or might have, mental health problems.
Young Minds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. They also run a parents’ helpline (0808 802 5544).
Please note: The information in this article is provided for reference purposes only. It is not intended as a tool for verifying the credentials, qualifications or abilities of any individual or organisation listed. Inclusion in this article does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SPCF; nor does omission imply disapproval.