29. Give families waiting something to do

Do referrers give families information about things they can do to help themselves?

Have you agreed with referrers what this information could be?

Do you give families something to work on between appointments?

Do you make good use of written and visual psycho- educational materials?

Have you got a book loan library with useful and relevant stories for children and young people to read (informal bibliotherapy)?

Make any time waiting a useful experience


How often do you ask families what they are going to do between now and the next session? How often do referrers give families something to do whilst they are waiting for their CAMHS appointment?

Referrers need to support and offer information and community interventions prior to CAMHS referral or whilst waiting for CAMHS appointment. Think of Disneyland and how they manage queues- lots of things to do and keep you occupied. How can you apply this to CAMHS?

Waiting is tedious and does not add sufficient value on it's own (although some problems improve spontaneously whilst on a waiting list). Ensure maximum change happens between first and subsequent appointments by agreeing tasks with the family. Added Bonus: makes waiting for treatment productive and empowers user.

Ideas for Action

  • At initial contact (referral or triage or Choice ) appointment, give tasks, reading materials, things to work on.
  • Referrers can give materials too as well as have lists of other available resources.