A NSW Government website


The Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is a speciality service of the Hunter New England Local Health District – Mental Health Services. It provides assessment and treatment to care for young people up to 17 years old, or who attend school, and are experiencing complex or severe mental health problems. Services are provided in community and hospital settings.

CAMHS services for the northern area of the Health District are based at Tenterfield, Gunnedah, Narrabri, Moree, Inverell, Glen Innes (outreach to Tenterfield), and Armidale.

CAMHS is a multidisciplinary health service. This means clinicians from a range of disciplines work together in CAMHS. Most teams include mental health nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers, psychiatrists and psychiatry registrars (qualified doctors training to be psychiatrists). CAMHS does not provide psychiatrist only consultation. CAMHS works collaboratively with schools and other child & youth services whenever possible to promote and sustain health gains.

Who can go to CAMHS?

Young people experiencing the following difficulties may be seen by CAMHS:

  • Suicidal intention or attempts.
  • Self-harming behaviour with risk of significant harm due to mental health problems.
  • Recent changes in behaviour or reduced day to day functioning possibly due to psychosis or major depression.
  • Threats or behaviours with high risk of significant harm to others or property due to mental health problems.
  • Severe eating disorder.

Generally, young people seen by CAMHS have already received treatment from their GP, a private mental health practitioner or a service such as headspace, yet their mental health symptoms remain problematic for them. CAMHS may accept referrals for young people at high risk due to their mental health problem, or with very complex needs, even if they have not had previous treatment.

Depending on other factors such as having limited response to previous treatment, complex family factors or having more than one health problem, CAMHS may provide assessment and treatment for young people experiencing moderate impairment in their day to day functioning due to the following:

  • Depression or anxiety disorders including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,
  • Eating disorders
  • Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with emotional dysregulation.

CAMHS understand that families / carers can play a key role in supporting their young person, therefore whenever possible families / carers are included during assessment and treatment.

CAMHS usually does not provide services for young people with the following difficulties unless they also have a significant mental health problem:  child protection issues, recent trauma such as an assault, intellectual disability, autism, substance-use disorder, gender identity issues, ADHD, truancy, bullying, or brain injury.

How do I make a referral?

Referrals to CAMHS can be made by a young person themselves, parents or carers, or services such as health, education, legal or child protection services, or community managed organisations (with consent of the young person and / or their parents / carers).

Referrals are made by contacting the Mental Health Line (24 hours a day / 7 days a week) Ph. 1800 011 511

A mental health clinician will answer the call and determine if CAMHS is the most appropriate service to help the referred person. If it is not, they will suggest alternative services. The Mental Health Line will speak directly with young people over 16 years of age, with parents / carers of young people 14 years or younger, and with parents / carers and the young person if aged between 14 – 16 years.

CAMHS aims to see new clients for assessment within two weeks or sooner where a mental health clinician determines there is an urgent need for assessment. CAMHS will advise the young person and their family of the appointment time and place by phone and letter. All family members in the household are invited to attend the first assessment.

Emergency and Crisis Support Numbers


In an emergency situation call 000.

If someone has attempted, or is at immediate risk of attempting to harm themselves or someone else call 000 immediately.

Crisis support


13 11 14


Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Suicide Call Back Service

1300 659 467


A free service for people who are suicidal, caring for someone who is suicidal, bereaved by suicide or are health professionals supporting people affected by suicide.

Kids Help Line

1800 55 1800


Kids Helpline is a free, 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.

Child Protection Helpline

132 111


If you think a child or young person is at risk of harm from abuse or neglect, contact the Child Protection Helpline. The Child Protection Helpline is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, state wide call centre staffed by professionally qualified caseworkers to receive and screen all reports.

In addition to clinical services, there are other specialty programmes in CAMHS that focus on Prevention, Promotion and Early Intervention. For the northern area of the Health District there is:

School- Link: The NSW School-Link Initiative is a collaborative partnership between NSW Health and the Department of Education. School-Link Coordinators work with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and the Department of Education to improve the mental health, wellbeing and resilience of children and young people. HNELHD has three School-Link Coordinators located at Tamworth, Taree and Newcastle.

School-Link Coordinators work collaboratively with schools to provide:

  • Advice and implementation of evidence-informed mental health and wellbeing programs
  • Guidance in collaborative care planning
  • Psychoeducation for staff
  • Links to local services
  • Support in implementing suicide prevention guidelines

School-Link Coordinators also work alongside the CAMHS to provide:

  • Assistance in devising school-based support for children and young people
  • Consultation around school contexts
  • Specialist support for transitions between educational and health settings
Youth Mental Health Project

The Youth Mental Health Project (YMHP) delivers a range of early intervention, prevention and mental wellness promotion initiatives, primarily to engage adolescents and young adults at risk of, or with unidentified, mental illness, their families / carers and service providers. The four strands of the YMHP model of care are:

  1. Health education and promotion
  2. Predictable, mobile outreach
  3. Flexible provision of clinical services in partnership with existing youth service providers (the clinical role within this model of care focuses on engagement, assessment, referral and linking)
  4. Consultation to, and service development with, existing youth service providers