We Won’t Treat your Child’s Mental Health Problems – ‘they are normal in autism’

We Won’t Treat your Child’s Mental Health Problems – ‘they are normal in autism’

Oh….. so that makes it ok then?

Of course not.  Yet it happens often and, it seems to me, with increasing frequency.

No one is born with an anxiety disorder.

It isn’t surprising that children with Autism are prone to mental health problems.  To start with schools are designed for neurotypical mini-adults.  They aren’t great, really, for neurotypical children.  It seems to me that if you are a child that has sensory processing issues, social communication difficulties and rigid thinking (no, it’s not of their choosing…) then they can perhaps be little better that a living hell for 6 hours a day.  And that is just school.  Managing every day life can also be difficult.  Many are exposed to levels of stress that they are unable to manage every day, and until this is addressed it is seems to me that a significant proportion may develop an anxiety related disorder.

It is recognised by NICE, in Clinical Guideline 170, that the condition alone lends itself to these children having a greater chance of a psychiatric condition:

Around 70% of people with autism also meet diagnostic criteria for at least one other (often unrecognised) psychiatric disorder that further impairs psychosocial functioning, for example, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or anxiety disorders” (page 6).

Amongst mental health practitioners I have a hunch that it is common knowledge that our ASD children have a much greater risk of developing an anxiety disorder.   In-fact nearly half of our children do just that:

“Upon review of these studies, researchers concluded that about 40% of children with ASD had at least one comorbid diagnosed anxiety disorder (van Steensel et al., 2011)”.

For now, I will skip past the fact that much of this is probably preventable (a subject for another time, maybe) and stick with this brief: that our children are sometimes / often actively denied treatment because they happen to also have ASD.

The same Amsterdam study (shared by academics worldwide, see link above) showed the prevalence of specific anxiety disorders in youth with ASD to be:

  • Specific Phobia: 30%
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: 17%
  • Social Anxiety Disorder/Agoraphobia: 17%
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: 15%
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder: 9 %
  • Panic Disorder: 2%

I wonder if this is an under representation of the facts?  I wonder if there are more that are “unknown and unmet need” because, of-course, to receive a diagnosis you actually need to be seen and assessed.  And if you are turned away because you have ASD then you won’t be, can’t be, fully assessed nor diagnosed. 

I don’t know if other groups of children are denied access to help in the same way.  I wonder if diabetic children are denied access to help for mental health conditions?

This apparently worrying situation reminds me of the ignorance that was around with regard to depression in the elderly, and those with cancer, many years ago when I was a young nurse.  “Of course he is depressed, he is lonely and old” “Of course she is depressed, she has cancer” was the prevailing attitude; mostly unsaid.  We now, quite rightly, see depression as a separate treatable condition and NOT an inevitable consequence to aging or chronic disease.

Treating depression in these groups of people, however, is generally straight forward and requires simply the application of existing knowledge skills and resources.  Whilst they seem to be dwindling, somewhat, they are in the mainstream.

Treating children with mental health conditions and ASD, however, is not mainstream.  To do this effectively the practitioner needs to have additional skills and knowledge (also recognised by NICE on page 9).  It is likely they will need additional time and that practitioners will need  to be more flexible in the delivery of their treatment.

Critically, the reason for the lack of treatment in the case of the elderly and chronically ill was largely ignorance.  I don’t believe that this is the case here.

I wonder if our children are being actively discriminated against as a form of rationing.  As an extremely poor way of managing waiting lists and meeting short term targets.  Are services that are under pressure screening out those with ASD so that they can more closely meet demand in the short term?

Of course we all know that in the long term this is not an effective strategy in any way.  It will end up costing society and our tax payers more.

If you know our story (see here if you wish to) will know that my son did have access to good mental health services.  The combination of his ASD and school related trauma led to him being admitted to a children psychiatric unit at age 9.  I am quite sure that if he had not had this specialist care, and that from our local CAMHS team, that he would never have recovered.  That he would never have re-entered education nor would he go on to live as an independent adult.

I hear all to often that overstretched CAMHS services are turning children away with clear signs of anxiety disorders because they have autism.  Their parents are told that these symptoms are normal for autism.

I’ll say it again.  No one is born with an anxiety disorder.

I hear of three main types of presentation that are turned away.

  • Firstly there are children who have consistent high levels of distress because their autism needs are neither understood nor met and these are a subject of another blog ‘nobody’s problem‘.
  • Secondly there are children with very high levels of arousal and anxiety that is pervasive – that impacts on their life for most of their day, every day.
  • Finally I also hear of children where this has gone on to manifest itself in phobia’s, OCD and dissociative states.

I believe that if the children in these latter two groups did not have autism they would receive treatment from CAMHS.  Absolutely they would.  They may have to wait a stupid length of time but they wouldn’t be turned away.  Children with autism are.

They shouldn’t be turned away.  NICE guideline 170 also says this:

“The following recommendations have been identified as priorities for implementation.  Access to health and social care services:

Ensure that all children and young people with autism have full access to health and social care services, including mental health services, regardless of their intellectual ability or any coexisting diagnosis.

It feels to me as though as services are becoming more and more scarce, our children, who clinicians without specialist knowledge find difficult to understand and treat, are being excluded from services through the development of discriminatory criteria.

It is not clear to me whether these criteria are written as policies or are developed through the emergence of urban myths that are perpetuated by CAMHS, GPs, parents and schools to the point where everyone believes that they are real.

What I do know is that they need to be challenged each and every time and by all of us.  It is not OK.  It is not necessary.  It is discriminatory.  It is against NICE guidance and we all need to stop talking about it as though it is a fact that cannot be avoided.

If I were to be asked what should be done, then I would give this advice to parents and those advocating for individual children.  I would recommend that you:

  • ask for the service to write to you clearly stating that children with (use your example, for example ‘severe anxiety that is impacting on every aspect of her life and leading to the emergence of phobias’) will not be treated because she has and autism spectrum condition and,
  • ask for a copy of the policy that describes which groups of children are denied access to the Children’s Mental Health service.

Copy it to senior staff including the Chief Executive of the Trust.

One final thing.  It is very likely that the clinicians working ‘at ground level’ hate this just as much as you.  As a cancer nurse I have been in a position where I could have made a difference to families, but was not ‘allowed’ to.  Trust me it is crippling.  I was able to move into a position where I could make a change but to do that I needed to give up delivering clinical care.  It is very hard to change the system as a clinician alone, but if parents write calm articulate letters pointing out the obvious discrimination and send them to those who can lead the change, then together, slowly, we may be able to make a difference.  I hope so.

Just a thought – I know that many of you reading this will have stories and examples that demonstrate the reality of this.  If you do, would you consider leaving examples of your stories below in the comments?  It would be great to collect lots of descriptions that can be seen by the masses to illustrate the living nightmare that many families experience.   Thank you, from Peter and Lily’s Mum.

If you want to hear more of my (more constructive) thoughts on the provision of Mental Health Services then click here and here.

For more about the help we would like to receive from CAMHS click here

If you have found this post helpful and you think others may too, please click one of the share buttons below

Like this blog?  To see more of our blog posts please click here

48 thoughts on “We Won’t Treat your Child’s Mental Health Problems – ‘they are normal in autism’

  1. Our now 11 year old daughter was trying to kill herself when she was 8. When we asked for help, we were told that we didn’t meet the criteria for any help.


    1. I had that exact experience. School kept excluding my ASD child (undiagnosed at the time) and he was suicidal. School told me they couldn’t help as it wasn’t within their remit and told me to take him to the doctor who told me he didn’t seem depressed so he couldn’t help unless he was actually going to hurt himself in which case I should take him to A and E. Nobody’s problem 😤


      1. My daughter saw Cahms and we were told she has complex needs and she definitely suffers with high anxiety levels, but they felt she disnt need support. This is a child who was cutting herself continously at school and threatening to kill herself. Even the school were highly concerned but Cahms not interested. She still cuts herself and only last week put a bag around her neck at school trying to strangle herself. Where is the help for our kids?


  2. If it’s school related anxiety then the school needs to address it, not us.

    Yes dear, but the school refuse to accept that they are a cause and your refusal to get involved means there’s no incentive for school to change their attitude.


  3. My daughter is 15 and in year 10 at a mainstream independent school. I am having a total nightmare as she is autistic and suffers from severe anxiety that is preventing her from accessing school. Camhs have signed her off as they have no funding to provide what she needs- a private psychiatrist was good but couldn’t offer any regular follow ups (would have bankrupted me anyway) and the local council education welfare officers are passing us from pillar to post as she does not live in the same area that she goes to school. I am left with an incredibly anxious, sometimes self harming daughter that cannot attend school much of the time. This is so infuriating. I am a teacher myself so I understand some of what is needed in schools and what is not happening. Makes my blood boil.


  4. Not mental health related – but my son with ASD can not receive occupational therapy as and I quote from a Surrey OT working in a specialist ASD/ SLD school ‘his sensory and behavioural issues are within expected ranges for a child with ASD’.
    But the S in ASD means ‘spectrum’. At one end is Temple Grandin’ at the other end is a person who can’t talk and repeatedly self harms on a daily basis. My sons runs into walls at school for the sensory feedback, he gets the highest rate of care and mobility DLA. He has a disability buggy.
    But he’s got ASD so it’s fine.


    1. AND it doesn’t meant that there is nothing that can help, it just means that we may understand the need for feedback. not that that need should not be assessed supported and strategies recommended. I wonder if this sensory need would be reduced if anxiety measures were increased too? This was certainly the case for Peter. either way it is all a “barrier to learning” that should be recorded and so on according to page 100 of the SEN COP…. Thank you for commenting Tracy.


  5. My now 12 year old ASD, dyspraxic, dyslexic and visually impaired son was diagnosed with PTSD during 2014 as a result of experiences whilst attending mainstream primary school. Totally avoidable. 14 months wait and emergency expressing and attempting to self harm and kill himself allowed jumping to top of wait list to access the limited CAMHS available. Ongoing work now.
    Agree that front line staff are very frustrated by the situation, doing the best job they can and wanting things to improve.
    Also we went legal route via tribunal to secure specialist ASD day education placement. Remains with high anxiety and catastrophic thinking and has clear vivid memories of previous events that mix with current scenarios and difficult to separate current and past events, this has impact struggling with school refusal even though school are fantastic and supportive.
    My if only is that if proper and early identification and better understanding and support was a usual standard then so much disadvantage would have been avoided. Things must improve.


  6. Hi my nonverbal ASD son with high anxiety, OCD and self harming behaviour during meltdown was turned away from CAMHS last year because they said it couldn’t be treated as it was just part of his autism. I fought for 18 months to get them to assess him (mainly by making myself a royal pain in the bum!). They assessed him, turfed him straight back out the door and told us we need to access a parenting course we’d already engaged in. We’ve Dona all courses offered, early bird, etc, always fully engaged with services and have a great relationship with his SEN school. Yet it was us that needed to address his mental health issues by accessing the same support that hasn’t been able to help in the past. His consultant says he needs a functional behavioural analysis by a child psychologist who specialises in autism. But there isn’t a single person within our borough (Wigan) who is able to carry this out. He’s 11 years old.


  7. This is an excellent (albeit depressing) blog and I agree with you whole heartedly. We first approached CAMHS when our daughter (ASD, ADHD & epilepsy as primary diagnoses) was 7 and exhibiting self injurious behaviour. We were told this was part of her ASD diagnosis and that we were doing a good job of managing it. Fast forward 4 years – of which 2 were spent struggling with school phobia and an inability to be in school for more than 45 minutes a day, leading to a transfer to special school where the last 2 years have been spent trying to rehabilitate a traumatised child back into education – and we are on our 3rd CAMHS referral. What I have found is that in order to access the service, we have had to learn as much as we can about all of our child’s conditions, learn how the system works and how to navigate it successfully and learn how to keep on being persistent even when it is met with dismissiveness. Needless to say, all of this needs to be done IN ADDITION to supporting a child who is in acute emotional distress. I’m also conscious that my husband and I are privileged to be in a position to do these things whereas many people are not and the long term cost to our children and young people is so, so great.


    1. it is just scary how common these stories are. Especially when you consider how each single story will have left a trail of destruction :(. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment.


  8. My son(7yrs), who is currently going through diagnosis for ASD was referred to CAMHS for his anxieties. After an hour in clinic with CAMHS they told me he ‘clearly has anxiety but it’s part of his ASD so no therapy we offer would help him, the ASD needs help’ The Communitu paediatrician won’t help either. It’s heart breaking seeing these anxieties control such a young persons life.


  9. Yes, us too. School refusing 7 year old with ASD/PDA made a suicidal statement in the hearing of his class teacher at school in year 1. The GP and the school both referred to CAMHS but we were rejected 3 times because he was awaiting autism assessment (which takes a year in our area). The paediatrician told us his extreme anxiety and suicidal thoughts were part of his autism. She said she would only refer on to CAMHS if the assessment came back as not ASD.


  10. My 8 year old gorgeous boy diagnosed with high functioning autism at 5 years old. Also has acid reflux, undiagnosed stomach issues, constipation, severe eczema and soiling which are apparently all secondary to his high levels of anxiety. School phobic although masks his behaviour when there, so teachers don’t see the difficulties and as he is so academically able they won’t even consider additional support. Regularly tells me he doesn’t want to live anymore. Been referred to Camhs 3 times and on every occasion in told he doesn’t meet the criteria! A new paediatrician has written a wonderful clinic letter outlining his intense anxiety and need to be offered support but again he’s been refused!! Absolutely appalling x


  11. Appreciate this blog and nice to read recommendations as opposed to (very valid) rants!
    Any advice / experiences out there for very rapid changes in anxiety and presenting behaviours? Our son was on the ASD pathway for 2 years and for 3 years prior to this we had suspected PDA. During these years he had very obvious but ‘manageable’ anxieties. School coped. We coped. He coped. Then came the day that stopped. He was excluded and they refuse to take him back. Interestingly this happened just weeks before his asd assessment was due and he went on to be diagnosed asd/PDA. From the point of exclusion onwards his anxieties have magnified and his volatile behaviours have hugely erupted causing severe stress and strain on him and the rest of the household. Luckily (I think) we have ended up with a very supportive tier 3 CaMhs psychiatrist who, although acknowledging the ASD connections, does seem to believe that some of this can and should be treated ( sadly this meant medication seemed the only option). My 9 year old NT son just commented to me in a few spare moments alone that he thinks littlest bruv has ‘changed loads since we found out about pda’… and that’s got me thinking… something I’ll no doubt blog about soon but what came first, the chicken or the egg? How do we support such a dramatic shift? Will it last forever or can we get back to the stage previous… or even better? It feels as though since having a diagnosis what we’ve actually started doing is saying “well he does have autism” as a way of explaining away this awful situation we find ourselves in.


  12. Have been bounced around the systems for 8 years and it still goes on! Will not formally diagnose ASD and have conjured up a very unhelpful label for our son ‘mixed neurodevelopmental disorder’! Anxieties and bad experiences with school have resulted in self harm and shut down yet camhs still won’t help even though there is no formal diagnosis in place. Do our children have to become another statistic of suicide before it is acknowledged that the systems need to change?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sadly, this blog is all too true. My 9 year old finally got an ASD diagnosis after many battles. Since then CAMHS have sent me on an anxiety course, that was poorly written and poorly delivered by people who are clearly not trainers, and I am clearly not qualified enough to deal with my sons level of anxiety no matter how many couses I go on! Having declined their ASD new diagnosis course because it too so,long to get the diagnosos I’ve read enough and paid to attend enough decent courses, and my son likely has PDA so most ASD strategies don’t work anyway…so now he’s ‘discharged from CAMHS’? So all’s fine………however, he hasn’t returned to school since last Sept due to extreme anxiety, he has painfully obsessive routines and is in a wheelchair to get him from a to b due to anxiety and sensory issues, but thats all fine because he has ASD and Ive been on a few courses? On the plus side, we are under the care of their child psychologist, who has seen him once last year and put him back on antipsychcotic drugs Respiridone, absolutely no offer of any kind of therapy whatsoever, then the psycologist has been off sick since that meeting and any replacements have left, so as far as I can tell CAMHS in Northampton have no one for us to see and no idea when there will be anyone to see….so thanks CAMHS, I’m not entirely sure why you have this title, as there is no mental health ‘service’ if you have ASD?!


    1. Sounds like my story too. My son was diagnosed in 2012 with ADHD then ASD in 2014. For the last 4 years no medication has worked for ADHD. He had OCD behaviours and rituals from about the age of 2 but nothing has been done about it. No one in CAMHS sees my son apart from regulate this medication. His anxiety has been through the roof the last couple of years and is avoidant ( possibly PDA) he is now on Risperidone ( does nothing) and has been out of school since October 2016. He was also diagnosed with Tourette’s in 2016. A referral was made in December 2016 to CNDS but just got letter back yesterday that their is not enough evidence from CAMHS and assessments need to be within the last 2 years. It’s a complete joke the system, my son can’t attend school because of his OCD (intrusive thoughts) causing his compulsions that is not good behaviour in school.


  14. Such a great blog on this thank you! We are about to go for a third CAMHS referral this time via a paediatrician, though I expect by the time we get through the waiting list it will be too late for our son’s current specialist placement which is breaking down. He is diagnosed Aspergers with demand avoidant behaviour. Staff at his specialist ASD school have told us that we won’t succeed unless we can convince CAMHS that he has a mental health issue ‘outside’ his ASD. I’m convinced this is a form
    of rationing. I also wonder though whether his sensory issues play a major part in his difficulties in the classroom, he cannot bear being surrounded by too many people. Perhaps the sensory sensitivities feeds the anxiety, and if you can change their environment enough it will bring anxiety down. Now that is an ASD ‘thing’, but the anxiety from that causes depression, self harming, etc which need treating too! And there is nothing apart from CAMHS on the NHS! So where are ASD kids supposed to go to get this kind of help? Thank you for writing about this issue.


  15. After my son got to 14 (near enough dead on his birthday) he was then offered drugs (antipsychotic drugs) to deal with his anxiety. I felt they were waiting for him to get to this age to give him this crutch. I refused and was called “a silly girl”, a mum with 3 kids aged 36! He apparently “needed at least a trial on the drugs!” I was told. What, my son that has been abused and neglected for his special educational needs within education for 11 years and the quick fix answer was more drugs? (already on a high level of ADHD drugs) I complained and it was taken to the CAMHS panel meeting as I wanted cognitive behavioural therapy instead. I was told it wouldn’t work as my son had ASD. Apparently he couldn’t learn from what he was being taught in the therapy. I used their terms that he “needed at least a trial on the CBT!” I had to take it to a manager in the end, and they really dug their heels in. Anyway we had 3 months therapy and my son was feeling much better and much more optimistic by the end. He did learn from it. Unfortunately it finished during the 6 week summer break. By half term, (October) so 6 weeks back in school he was back self harming and had slid down as low as before. The joke that our mainstream schools bring! That my son is apparently coping fine!!!! Anyway trying to get CAMHS to document this, is like trying to get blood out of a stone. They will say how damaging his school is in appointments but will they write it down, no no no! Which again bring another complaint to higher levels. One fight after another!


  16. Our son is 12 he has a diagnosis of ASD and an EHCP. He spent a year out of school year 6 signed off with anxiety. He went into a new school this September who couldn’t cope with him so he’s back at home again very low. At school he threatened to kill himself, has told them he is being watched, and has assaulted 2 people. He is very paranoid at home and out – thinks he is being watched and people are trying to kill him and has attempted suicide (thankfully didn’t hurt himself) says he wants to kill himself all time, has been hearing voices and seeing things that are not there. He is so terribly anxious he can’t sleep until the early hours of the morning, has not gained weight in a year and a half and is painfully thin, his dietitian, OT and continence nurse have said his problems are all psychological and they can do nothing to help. He has been referred to CAMHS at least 5 times in the last year and finally was seen by a consultant psychiatrist who spent half an hour with him and told us to use PDA techniques with him (as we have been for the last three years) and said he needed a PDA assessment (our county don’t assess this so we have to pay privately) and that he didn’t have mental health problems it was all his autism and that CAMHS in our county are not commissioned to work with children with autism unless they have a mental health problem not associated with their autism. The disability social services team are not able to take him on because he doesn’t have a learning disability (though the social worker has been great and given some support short term) and so the only longer term support for us is our local autism charity who are so overstretched and who will offer strategies only and don’t work with mental illness (and who charge for the service). Our son is so unwell at the moment his brothers are living long term at their grandparents (with Dad and I running between them). Our county admit they don’t have a maintained school that can meet our sons needs and we are looking for an independent placement. Basically there is no commissioning/provision in our county to support children like my son in education, health or social care help! I really want to do something about this not just for our son but for all the children affected but have no idea where to start.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. My son is 9 and has high functioning autism. He has always struggled with anxiety and has talked of wanting to die and killing himself since he was 6. He has been self harming for the last 18 months. Educational psychologist won’t get involved because ‘in school he’s fine’ and he’s been referred to Camhs twice and declined because ‘he doesn’t meet the criteria ‘ and apparently ‘its to be expected because he’s autistic ‘. Camhs even suggested it was my fault and gave me a telephone number so I could access some counselling so I could ‘get my head around the fact that my son is autistic.’
    The whole system is a joke for children with ASD especially those with HFA as they are constantly turned away from services because they are either too autistic or not autistic enough!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. My son had an emotional breakdown within 5 weeks of entering secondary school. Been told he is “too ill for therapy” and offered Prozac which, if we refused (we did!) he would be discharged from the service. Social care wont see us and keep throwing us out despite my referrals back in, gp is at a loss, still awaiting peads appt all while I have a severely mentally ill suicidal child. I have been here with my eldest asd child 6 years ago. Despite pledges by government, nothing has changed.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. This post and these comments have been a life line this morning! I spent yesterday with a Social Services team who have finally concluded they will pay for CAHMS support it we don’t get on the waiting list after an appeal. It is great to be finally getting some help, although I manage his behaviour so much better now and i feel they should have made this fuss years ago. Argh..


  20. Excellent blog. I just think its disgusting that once you are labelled with Autism all of the underlying issues get ignored because they think they’ve cracked it.. they’ve given you a diagnosis but in reality that’s only the very beginning. They don’t say to someone with cancer ‘there’s your diagnosis now go away and accept it oh and by the way you might have severe constipation and lye awake all night but hey ho that’s just cancer’. Blatant discrimination.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I’ve been passed around mental health services a lot over the last couple years (well, mainly the gp referring me to them and them saying I’m not eligible for any treatment because they don’t treat ASD but it felt a lot like being passed around) and it got to the point that my college (I’m lucky enough to be supported by them at least) tried to send me privately only to be told that the private consultants didn’t feel it was right for them to be seeing me because I was clearly eligible for nhs treatment (GAD, panic attacks, PTSD, OCD, depression, self harm which has landed me in hospital on numerous occasions and suicidal thoughts and actions). At this point the nhs mental health service finally accepted my referral and sent me through their assessment process again (every time I go there it seems to be just an assessment and then a random discharge for some inconsequential detail, eg one time I went home to London for a few days because I was too stressed and severely not coping and so they discharged me because I wasn’t in their treatment area). Anyway my dad did lawyer speak at them saying that the process is ridiculous and getting very clearly annoyed at the first meeting with the assessment team and so they repeatedly assured him/us that nobody had even been considering discharging me and that obviously I was eligible for treatment and would be treated. Today I had my first meeting with the person who is supposed to be organising my ongoing treatment and the very first thing he said was “I understand from your notes that you have a diagnosis of ASD, I was wondering if you had considered going privately for treatment as we are not obligated, well, treatment of ASD doesn’t fall under our authority at this clinic and we don’t have the funds to be treating your ASD.” I didn’t really hear the remainder of what was being said in the meeting and I still don’t know whether they will actually treat all of the things that I’m not coping with (I’ve never been great at functioning with everyday tasks but I used to be far less bad than I currently am) or just discharge me again. I’m considering whether it would be possible to sue the NHS on the basis of discrimination against those with ASD if they don’t treat me, but then I’m not functioning well enough at the moment to do that really so I don’t know what to do.


    1. Oh George, you aren’t asking them to treat your ASD you are asking them to treat your mental health onditions. Jeez. I hope that you can show them your Dad and College this blog and maybe you can all together ensure that you see a MH professional who understands ASD and can treat your mental health conditions. Thinking of you lots. Thank you for taking the time to comment.


  22. My eldest was not diagnosed until 15. I always suspected, school assured me she was fine just shy. Battle to get to Camhs, she refuses medication they say her anxiety is too high for her to engage in CBT…..severe social anxiety: depressed: rarely leaves the house


  23. I know for sure this happens in our area.

    CAMHS refused my daughters referral for anxiety because she has ASD and signposted us to a voluntary organisation that supports parents of children with ASD, but doesn’t deal with mental health problems.

    My GP re-referred her for same problem, her but omitted her ASD diagnosis, and she was offered an appointment.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. My son was referred to chams after he gave me concussion during a violent meltdown and we wanted help with his increasing agression. They refused as he was on the asd pathway and his issues have developed into him being permanently excluded from school, crippling anxiety, separation anxiety, ocd behaviours and self harm. he hates himself and I am still bearing the brunt of these violent meltdowns.


  25. Reading the comments is so depressing. My ASD D 16 has developed ED and BDD. We have got ED under control. BDD is getting better but when she is discharged from CAHMS for that ( not fully recovered) no one will be dealing with the anxiety she has suffered with for years. She rarely attends school but her treating psychologists say that is now ASD related. When I said do she needs help for that I met a brick wall.


  26. I wish I had it, then i could get treatment for my bipolar disorder. It’s the popular illness and its where ALL the money goes these days. Have fun in your hug box.


  27. I don’t know where we’d be without CAMHS as when my 8 year old was expressing her wish to die and threatening to run into the traffic and frequently hitting herself we were seen (we’d been on the waiting list for 7 months anyway, yes I did beg, every day for a week.) CAMHS put us on the pathway to her ASD diagnosis and in-school observation showed that our daughter had entered into the first stages of dissociation (school said she was “just fine” and the problem was poor parenting). We removed her from that school (although we should have removed her sooner.) The CAMHS support worker (who was kind, human and bloody brilliant) was at one point the only person supporting us while the machinery of the Education Welfare System tried to force me to put our daughter back into school, or “deregister properly” with various threats and incompetence, and without her I don’t know what we’d have done. My daughter was severely traumatised and I realised that I had started my own little trauma reactions to everyday things like the door bell ringing or a phone call from school. After diagnosis she was seen by the NDT psychologists (who were kind and supportive but had nothing else to offer but CBT) and our daughter couldn’t/wouldn’t engage with the CBT and was discharged. She said, quite reasonably, that it made her feel horrible to talk about horrible things (school trauma). Recently, after a period of shut down where she stopped eating, she was re-referred to CAMHS and we were informed the waiting list is now a year, and, in a bid to stop our daughter from getting worse we went to a private paediatric psychologist who realised immediately that talking therapy was not going to work and referred her for private sensory integration therapy, which is working brilliantly. We can’t afford any of these therapies, but as the alternative is a mentally ill, malnourished child, who isn’t able to function at all we don’t have a choice.


  28. Our son was admitted to hospital after climbing onto the roof and threatening to jump. He was brought down by the fire brigade only to lock himself in the bathroom and drink bleach. Discharged the following day without a psychiatric assessment as the camhs practitioner dealing with him said it was due to his autism. We are two years on and massive anxiety has prevented him being able to attend school or leave the house. Of course it is all our fault according to the professionals.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s