In September 2019, CWTCH conducted its first telehealth CAMHS ‘emergency assessment’ in White Valley, St Cadocs Hospital.

CAMHS Emergency Liaison Team Manager

Following a mid-morning phone call from a GP to the CAMHS Emergency Duty Line expressing concerns about a young person self-harming and suicidal thoughts, a triage assessment was completed. A telehealth appointment was offered and accepted by the GP and the family, and arrangements were made to conduct a virtual assessment in the young person’s own home. This appointment took place lunch time that same day.

The telehealth appointment was reported to go very well. The parent reported to have felt relieved to have received the support so quickly and without the hassles of traveling to a hospital setting. The young person reported to be pleased to have had the virtual assessment and said she had been put off by telling adults about her mental health difficulties in the past as she “didn’t want her family to worry she was suicidal”.

The Manager of CAMHS Emergency Liaison Team commented on this assessment, saying: “I was very pleased that the facial expressions, body language and non-verbal communications were clearly visible and understandable by tele-psychiatry, as I was concerned it may have been lost by a telepsychiatry assessment”.

After the assessment, the young person and her parent agreed to follow a safety plan and provided consent for a referral for work on low mood, superficial self-harm, low self esteem and poor body image. The young person is now receiving help and support from the SPACE and Wellbeing service in CAMHS.

The first emergency telepsychiatry assessment with the Emergency Liaison Team was a success. The clinician, young person and parent were all happy with the assessment, and high satisfaction was reported.

This successful outcome has helped pave the way for other clinicians to try out the technology for themselves and offer it to their patients.