Liverpool FRESH CAMHS (Alder Hey Childrens NHS Foundation Trust)


Liverpool FRESH CAMHS is a service for children/young people (aged 0-18) and their families/carers who are struggling with how they are feeling, thinking or the way they are doing things. We especially help those whose difficulties are getting in the way of being able to manage everyday life and relationships.  Once assessed, referrals are directed to the most suitable part of the service, where there will be access to a highly-skilled multi-disciplinary team trained in various therapies and approaches.

What is the service?

Liverpool FRESH CAMHS, part of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

What do you do?

We are a community-based specialist mental health and emotional well-being service for children/young people (aged 0-18) and their families/carers.

All Eating Disorder Services, the CAMHS Crisis Care Team, and some Liverpool Fresh CAMHS appointments, are run from the Catkin Building (adjacent to the Institute in the Park, just off Eaton Road).

Most of Liverpool Fresh CAMHS appointments take place at a brand-new space in Innovation Park (just off Edge Lane). You can find directions here.

We offer a range of therapies and interventions to help children/young people who are struggling with how they are feeling, thinking, or the way they are doing things. We work particularly with those children/young people whose difficulties mean that they are struggling to manage everyday life and relationships and whose safety might be a worry to them or those around them.

Liverpool FRESH CAMHS works with all children/young people (aged 0-18).  We work with a range of difficulties, from issues requiring just a few sessions up to complex mental health difficulties requiring intervention from a multi-disciplinary team. FRESH CAMHS is organized into 4 teams, each working with a range of child and adolescent mental health difficulties, but each also with expertise in working with vulnerable or specific groups (16-18-year-olds; 0-5-year-olds; Youth Offenders; Looked After Children; Children with Learning Disabilities).  FRESH CAMHS works hard to understand what might be going on for a young person and find the best intervention(s) to help.  We also have Key Workers in every secondary school in Liverpool so that young people can begin to access a service from us very quickly.

What age group does FRESH CAMHS work with?

We work with children/young people aged 0 to 18 years. However, referrals received for young people aged 16 and over may also be directed to other services in the city, depending on their needs, such as YPAS, Talk Liverpool or Adult Mental Health Services.

Do you work with other family members?

Yes. We know that children/young people live and develop in families, care relationships and other systems and networks that all have an impact and a role to play in how well they are able to cope with problems. We often work with parents, carers, siblings, grandparents and other adults involved in children’s lives. For all children/young people, we balance the right to privacy and confidentiality with the rights of those who have a responsibility to be involved in your care. For those aged 16 and over, we seek the same balance but also uphold young people’s legal right to make decisions about their own healthcare. Sometimes parents contact us who are very worried about their children, but their children do not want to come to our service. In these cases we offer to meet with parents alone to try and address their worries.

Are you limited to working with people from a specific geographical area?

Yes, FRESH CAMHS see children/young people who are registered with a Liverpool GP. For children/young people who are “looked after” by Liverpool Children’s Services but placed out of the Liverpool area, we may also be involved in their care. If a child/young person is registered with a Sefton GP there is a similar service operating within that area and access to this is via the Single Point of Access (0151 293 3662).

Who would someone ask for in the first instance?

All referrals to Liverpool FRESH CAMHS should go to the Single Point of Access in the first instance (0151 293 3662). They can also be contacted to discuss whether a referral is appropriate and there are staff there who can advise you about what to do next.

What are your opening times?

We are open 9am-5pm, Mon- Fri (although we do offer some appointments outside of these hours in certain circumstances)

Can you be contacted out-of-hours?

Outside of office hours, you can call our Crisis Line 24/7 on 0151 293 3577 or freephone 0808 196 3550. Please also call this number if you are considering attending A&E (unless you need urgent medical attention). If another doctor, such as a GP or a hospital consultant, is very worried because they suspect a mental illness in a child or young person he/she can contact the on-call psychiatrist at any time through the Alder Hey Hospital Switchboard (0151 228 4811). Outside of working hours, if a young person is in crisis and is under 16, they should attend Alder Hey A&E or their GP out-of-hours service.

Young people aged 16 or over should access their nearest A&E (e.g. The Royal or Aintree).

Do you have appointments outside working hours?

Our usual working hours are between 9am-5pm. These can be flexible depending on need.

Where do you see young people?

We have rooms to see children/young people and families at the Catkin Building at Alder Hey. However, we also try to be as flexible as possible and we can offer appointments at home, at school, children’s centres, GP surgeries or any other location that might be suitable for that child/young person’s needs.

Do you take referrals directly from children/young people, parents/carers?

A direct referral to Liverpool CAMHS can be made using our online referral form.

Who else can make referrals to you?

Referrals are also accepted from any professional within the statutory and community sector, for example, any health professional, teachers, school mentors, connexions, social workers, youth and community workers, providing the young person or family has consented to the referral. All referrals need to come through online referral form.

What kinds of things do you help with?

Liverpool FRESH CAMHS staff have expertise in working with children/young people with complex mental health difficulties and their families/carers. We also have staff with expertise in working with children/young people from vulnerable groups and their networks. This includes 16-18-year-olds, Looked After Children; Youth Offenders and Children with Learning Disabilities. A group of young people in Liverpool have helped us find a way to explain the things we help with, they said it like this:

IF YOU ARE FEELING: •Very sad, isolated or alone •Very worried •Hurting yourself or others •Having thoughts or experiences that are scaring or confusing you •Struggling to cope with things that have happened in your past •Feeling worthless

AND THIS IS AFFECTING: •How you feel about yourself •Work, college or school •Relationships with others •Home life •Physical health, e.g. sleeping, eating


What do you offer?

A full range of evidence-based therapeutic interventions.  These might be individual sessions, family sessions, group sessions or training programmes.

What happens after a referral is made?

If FRESH CAMHS is the best service to help, then you will be given an appointment to see a clinician in that service who will meet with you and help you to make a choice about your ongoing care. After making your choice together you will then see your ‘Partnership’ clinician. This clinician will have been chosen for you because they have the skills and experience to best help you with your difficulties.

What will happen at the first appointment?

When you first meet with your ‘Partnership’ Clinician, they will work with you to decide what your goals are from coming to FRESH CAMHS, what is the best way to help with your difficulties, how long this might take, and also who else might need to be involved.

What do you do if a client is not happy with the service?

If a client is not happy with the service, in the first instance, the child/young person or family/carers and their worker should try to discuss what the issues are and try to work things out together. If the child/young or family/carer does not feel comfortable talking to their worker, they can speak to any other member of the team or the team lead/manager. If the child/young person or family/carer still wants to take the issue further or speak to someone outside of the team, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has a feedback and complaints procedure (PALS). The details of this are made clear and available in the team’s waiting area and any member of the team will explain everything you need to know about making a complaint and support you with this process.

What skills do your staff have?

Liverpool FRESH CAMHS staff come from a range of different professional backgrounds including Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Mental Health Nurses, Psychotherapists, Counsellors, Family Therapists, Social Workers, Other Mental Health Professionals and Key Workers. All of our clinical staff have a range of core skills in cognitive, behavioural and systemic/family interventions. In addition, we have staff who have expertise and training in a range of other therapies and interventions (such as EMDR, Group Work, Play Therapy, Drama Therapy, Art Therapy, therapeutic approaches for children/young people with Learning Disabilities etc.). Please see the list of interventions above or visit the FRESH CAMHS website to find out more.

Do you offer training in your specialist area?

Yes – Please see the training section.