As a warning – this blog post may read as more of a rant than much else. It may also be quite short.
The last post I wrote was on social media and mental health. This is a branch of that – the #camhslogic tag. For years people on Twitter have used it (and lolcamhs) to express their annoyance with CAMHS services. I first became aware of it when I was around 13 in 2011 on Tumblr and I still come across it to this day on various social media platforms.
But the tag seems to deter people from accessing CAMHS services. Countless times I have seen young people asking others about what CAMHS is like, only to get told that they are disastrous and a service to be avoided. I honestly believe that the tag has damaged the reputation CAMHS has, both online and offline. Which is awful! I have been in services since the age of 13 and I have generally had positive experiences. There will always be exceptions but I do think that all staff do the best that they can to care for their patients. This isn’t just in my local mental health trust (SLaM) either, yesterday I found myself in a crisis in Sussex and the staff I came into contact with were brilliant. But the world of social media for a teenager can be convincing and I know that if people slate CAMHS to the extent which they are slated online it does have an effect. When I was first told that a referral had gone through I tried to research it online (although initially spelt it as cammes so didn’t get very far haha!) and if I’d found some of this content, I’m not sure I’d have gone to my assessment.
I only ever hear “CAMHS are rubbish/I hate CAMHS/they don’t know what they are doing” I’m sure that some comments are warranted, I’m not saying that all care is top-notch all the time, but it is unfair. There’s no money. Many staff are over-worked. They have to make difficult decisions day in day out. Depending on who they are seeing they may be constantly managing risk. When do they let someone who is alluding to the possibility that the may harm themselves go? There is 1 free CAMHS bed in the whole of England tonight, who aren’t accepting admissions overnight. So hospital isn’t an option. They’ve got to let them go and manage risk in the community. That’s their call. That’s not an easy call. Even if they aren’t working with high risk patients, it’s not a walk in the park.
I think that young people should cut them some slack. I also think that professionals should also take a look at the tag and see what they make of it! Maybe we should be making more of an effort to involve young people in PPI events and encourage them to make a difference within the service, rather than turn to social media.
(The #crisisteamfail is also a hashtag which is fairly similar that was quite popular a while ago, but more geared toward AMHS/crisis teams.)