Information for the public
If you have had hallucinations or delusions for 4 weeks or more, you should be offered an urgent appointment with a consultant psychiatrist either in CAMHS or an early intervention in psychosis service. The psychiatrist should have training in child and adolescent mental health.
An assessment is a meeting with a healthcare professional to talk about symptoms, physical health, medical and family background and everyday life at home, school, college or work. The assessment helps the healthcare professional to find out if you have a mental health problem and which treatments might be most suitable.
There should be enough time to talk about your problems and ask questions. If you are given a diagnosis, this should be clearly explained and you should be given a booklet or leaflet about it. The healthcare professional should also give you information about different treatments and discuss these with you.
More than one assessment may be needed if healthcare professionals are not sure what the problem is, but these should be kept to a minimum. If you're not given a diagnosis, healthcare professionals in specialist services will ask to see you regularly for up to 3 years after the assessment to make sure your symptoms are improving and not getting worse. You or your parents or carers can decline this. If you do, you'll be offered another appointment and advised to contact services yourself if your symptoms get worse. There should be time to talk after the assessment, especially if you found any of it upsetting.
If the healthcare professional thinks you may have psychosis, they should develop a care plan with you and your parent or carer. The care plan should give details of treatment and how you can manage your symptoms. The plan should also include:
ideas about how you can keep in contact with other young people through education, work, volunteering or leisure activities
what you can do to keep well, including eating healthily, exercising and stopping smoking
how you can cope with and reduce any risks to yourself or others.
Health and social care professionals should support you to follow the plan, and arrange to look at it again to make sure it is still suitable.
If there is a risk you may be unable to cope (have a crisis), there should also be a crisis plan, which should include:
how to recognise warning signs that might suggest a setback or a crisis
the support available to help you to carry on treatment without staying in hospital
whether your parents or carers are involved in your care
the names of professionals involved in your care
where you would prefer to go if you need to stay in hospital.
If you are unhappy about the assessment and diagnosis, you should be given time to discuss this and offered a second opinion.