Most 17-year-old are so excited, counting down the days until their 18th Birthday. The day then can officially drink, go to clubs, have fun with their friends. Well for me it was the exact opposite. Turning 18 for me was a mixture of feelings; for those who don’t know CAMHS stands for Child adolescent Mental Health Services and CMHRS or CMHT stands for Community Mental Health Recovery Service or Community Mental Health Team.
Now what is the difference between CAMHS and CMHRS? Well, CAMHS is mainly the professionals making the decisions along with your parents and carers. You have some say in your care but they help you a lot more in decision-making and what they think is best for you, they work alongside parents or carers to create the best care plan for your needs. CMHRS on the other hand, the decisions are in your hands, from the moment you turn 18 you are expected to make the decisions about your care and what you want to do. You have a care coordinator but it is all you, you decide what you want; even if what you want isn’t the best for you. Suddenly your parents can’t have anything to do with your care unless you specifically ask for them to be involved (this is something my parents particularly struggled with). Also CMHRS works with a lot more variety of people and have a wider age range to deal with meaning they are cut very thing when accepting people to help. It may not seem like a lot but for this to happen basically overnight is very stressful and unsettling. Most people have next to no support with this transfer, making it extremely hard for them.
The thought of my 18th Birthday was daunting going from a Day Patient to a lot of responsibility and only weekly appointments with a new person who doesn’t know me. It was petrifying and I’m sure a lot of people who have gone through that felt the same. In a way it was nice, a fresh start, more responsibility to do whatever I wanted, even if the responsibilty wasn’t a good thing. Now my transition it was OK as far as ‘transitions to adults’ goes. I had a lot of support and a few months of getting prepared up until I turned 18. But the difference between CAMHS and CMHRS is so so different, the amount of support you get goes drastically down, I didn’t really like my new care co and found it hard having my diagnosis change where I didn’t think it fitted me, the only stable thing I had, was Emerge (another blog post coming soon about Emerge). Leaving day patient and CAMHS was emotional, I finally though I was getting somewhere then I had to go to adults and start all over again. It was a hard time, it was almost 2 years ago now and a lot has happened in those 2 years and I probably have had my worst times in these 2 years but I now have *another* new care co (due to lack of funding and staff I had to move CMHRS teams) but I’m having DBT therapy again. It may be slow but “it does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop”.