Our child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) paediatric liaison service provides psychological assessment and support to young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties in relation to their physical health condition.

This includes acute, chronic or life-limiting physical conditions. The service also supports the families of the young people.

The service uses a range of methods that, for example, might target the psychological barriers to physical care or help with the psychological management of physical symptoms, such as pain. 

Psychological assessments are also offered for young people considering plastic surgery via tribunal pathways (tribunals make decisions about whether the NHS, in exceptional cases, can provide cosmetic surgery), to discuss the preparation for and expectations of surgery, and to assess them for psychological barriers.

The team includes experts in psychiatry, clinical psychology, psychotherapy, and family therapy.

The CAMHS liaison/emergency service helps young people in crisis who have attended the emergency department at the Royal Free Hospital. 

The team includes experts in psychiatry, nursing, clinical psychology, psychotherapy, and family therapy.
Assessments usually take place in the emergency department. The young person may then either be discharged or admitted to our paediatric ward.

Following discharge from the emergency department or the paediatric ward, all young people will be offered a follow-up appointment within seven days, either from the service itself, or a local CAMHS. 

Very rarely, some young people will need to be transferred to an inpatient adolescent psychiatric unit for further treatment. 

If you are concerned that you or your child may be at significant risk of harming themselves, it is advised that you bring your child to your nearest emergency department as quickly and safely as possible. 

This may be by ambulance, by dialling 999, or by an alternative mode of transport, if you think they will be less distressed and provided they will be safe. 

Young people in crisis should ideally come to hospital with an adult, especially if they are having difficulty keeping themselves safe. 

If you live in Barnet, Enfield, Haringey, Camden, Islington or north central London, you can call the 24-hour crisis telephone service for north central London on 0800 151 0023

If you are worried about yourself or someone you know, but it is not an emergency, there are steps you can take: 

  • Talk to your GP. Your GP may be the first person you talk to about how you are feeling. Your GP may refer you/your child to the paediatric liaison service if they feel this will help you/your child. If you have not got a GP, you can find one near you.
  • Talk to Childline. Childline can be contacted at any time on 0800 1111. Calls are free and confidential. Calls are not recorded and your number will not show up on any phone bills. You can also visit their website.
  • Dial 111 for general health enquiries. This is the NHS number to call for urgent non-emergency advice. You can still contact your GP or local pharmacist for care advice. The NHS 111 service does not replace the emergency 999 service.

The paediatric liaison service accepts referrals of patients who are under the care of paediatricians and paediatric services at the Royal Free Hospital, primarily from the boroughs of Barnet and Camden. 

The service also provides psychological support to all young people and their families staying on the Royal Free Hospital’s children’s ward for medical reasons, for mental health difficulties related to their inpatient stay.

To refer to the CAMHS paediatric liaison service, please email rf.camhsreferrals@nhs.net.

For telephone advice, you can contact the following organisations:

  • NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (24 hours — for adults concerned about a child/young person)
  • Samaritans on 116 123 (24 hours)
  • Young Minds parent helpline on 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm)
  • Papyrus on 0800 068 41 41 (9am to midnight every day)
  • The Mix on 0808 808 4994 (11am to 11pm every day)
  • Beat Youthline on 0808 801 0711 (under 18s) or Beat Studentline on 0808 801 0811 (Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm; weekends and bank holidays 4 to 8pm)

For support via instant messaging, email or via a website:

  • Shout — text "SHOUT" to 85258 (24 hours a day)
  • Kooth — (online support for young people)
  • Papyrus — via text, 07860 039 967 (9am to midnight every day)
  • The Mix — via email (response is typically within 24 hours)
  • Beat one-to-one — web chat
  • Good Thinking — (digital mental wellbeing advice for young people in London)