Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) provide specialist mental health treatment and care to children and adolescents up to 18 years of age.

These services assess and treat children and adolescents (0-18 years) with moderate to severe, complex and disabling problems and disorders, and assist those with less severe problems with information and advice about where and how to get help and facilitate referral as appropriate. Vulnerable children and young people and families, including those involved in statutory services, are prioritised.

Youth mental health services (CYMHS)

State-funded mental health services for young people aged 12-25 are currently provided by three service types: CAMHS, youth mental health services and adult mental health services. There is general agreement that current barriers between CAMHS and adult mental health services fall at a critical developmental time, and need to be addressed through a response tailored to this age group.

The barriers to seamless care are complex. They relate to the fact that problems arise at different ages and stages of development, with differing prevalence, placing different demands on each program. There are differences in the models of care and the models of service used to respond to demand, and in workforce knowledge and skills, interests and expertise. The barriers also relate to the impact of problems on families, carers and peers and their capacity to assist and support a young person with mental health problems.

The onset of mental health problems in this age group is set against a backdrop of rapidly changing roles and requirements of families and carers as children and young people grow, develop, become increasingly independent and pursue vocational and academic goals.