What can we help with?

Mental health problems are very common – in fact, it's estimated that at least one in four people will experience a mental health issue at some stage in their life. All of us need some extra support at times to get through difficulties and deal with the problems we're facing. The Dorset CAMHS services is one of a range of services that can help children and young people when they are experiencing mental health issues, or are having problems with their emotions and behaviour.

Children and young people are referred to the CAMHS service when they are facing significant mental health difficulties. Below you will find explanations about some of the main conditions and areas that CAMHS can provide support with. You may also find it helpful to read our guide to feelings and emotions, which provides more advice and information specifically for young people.

Anxiety disorders

We all experience anxiety at times in our everyday lives, but anxiety disorders are different to normal anxieties or worries, as they can often impact on your day to day life and cause real distress to the person experiencing them.

Attachment difficulties

From birth, we develop a close bond with our main caregivers and the attachment a child forms to its carers helps them to learn and develop in a trusting environment. For some children, however, a safe and secure attachment bond is not formed.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is the a common behavioural disorder in children. Someone with ADHD may have difficulty concentrating for long periods of time, and get easily distracted. They may also come across as overactive; being fidgety, finding it hard to sit still, and talking a lot.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the name for a range of similar conditions that can affect social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder with a biological basis that is present at birth.

Behavioural disorders

For children and young people, their behaviour is a way of expressing their thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Children and young people can find it difficult to say in words how they feel, or what is on their mind, and so it can be really helpful to pay attention to their behaviours.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another. If you experience periods of time when you feel very happy or overactive and then feel very low and depressed you may be affected by bipolar disorder.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

BPD is a type of personality disorder. It is a diagnosis given to adults and is sometimes also called 'emotionally unstable personality disorder' (EUPD). When thinking about young people, we tend to talk about 'emerging' BPD.


Clinical depression is more than feeling sad or down for a few days – it is a real illness with very real symptoms. Depression can be a really serious issue for young people, but the good news is that with the right treatment and support, most people with depression can make a full recovery.

Gender identity

Some young people feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth whilst others are unhappy with the gender role that society requires. Gender dysphoria can be difficult and distressing, but help is available.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder, more commonly known as OCD, is an anxiety disorder. People experiencing OCD will have involuntary repetitive thoughts, feelings or images that can be very distressing for them.


A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more pronounced than fears and develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Many children and young people are exposed to traumatic events in their lives, and some go on to develop difficulties because of this. A traumatic event can be anything that causes the child to feel that their (or someone else's) life or wellbeing is in danger.


Psychosis is a mental health problem that causes people to lose touch with reality as other people see it, and interpret things differently to those around them. It is often a symptom of a serious mental health condition such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Selective mutism

Selective mutism is an anxiety disorder which means that a child or young person does not speak in select situations and environments – for example, at school. They are, however, able to speak well in other places – for example, at home.


Self-harming is when someone injures or harms themselves on purpose. Self-harming takes many forms, some of which involve cutting, hitting or burning. It can also include binge drinking and misusing substances.

Tics and Tourette's syndrome

Tics are vocal sounds or body movements that are made involuntarily not on purpose and are repetitive. People who have both vocal and motor tics for a minimum of six months may receive a diagnosis of Tourette's syndrome.