Skip to main content
Sign In

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) 

The Phoenix Centre  Raigmore Hospital  Old Perth Road  Inverness   
IV2 3UJ 
01463 705597 

Welcome to the Phoenix Centre in Inverness. We are a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). We are based on the Raigmore Hospital Site.

Our webpage is a work in progress and will be updated regularly with more information.

We hope this page will give you an increased understanding about what we offer and who we are.

9am-5pm Monday-Friday 

If you have concerns about a child or young person being at immediate risk out with these hours, contact either your local GP surgery, NHS 24 (dial 111) or go to your nearest A&E department.

If you are a young person seeking immediate help with mental health problems, use one of the above options, or contact a counsellor at Childline (0800 1111) or at the Samaritans (08457 90 90 90).


What is CAMHS
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) is provided by NHS Highland and The Highland Council. We work with you to understand your/your child’s difficulties and offer a range of therapeutic interventions to help you make the changes you want to make.

The Phoenix Centre- What we offer


When you come along to CAMHS, the first thing we do together is to try and make sense of the difficulties you are experiencing. Dependant upon the age of the referred child/young person, this might involve talking, using art or creative materials, playing or questionnaires. We will do this at your pace and in a way that suits you and your family. We also offer some specialist assessments, which are offered when there is a specific question we want to try and answer. These include:

•Family therapy assessment
•Art therapy assessment
•Assessment of the parent-child relationship
•Developmental assessments (e.g. ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder)
•Psychiatric assessment and diagnosis
•Neuropsychological assessments (e.g. memory, cognitive functioning)
•Behavioural assessments (at home or at school)
•Social work assessments (in the context of a child/young person experiencing significant mental health difficulties)

Once we have an understanding of your difficulties, we will offer a therapeutic intervention to try and address them. As with assessment, an intervention will be delivered in a way that suits you/your child. Sometimes a combination of different interventions will work best. We will always discuss with you what type of intervention we would recommend and why. The interventions we offer include:

•Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT)
•Art Therapy
•Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
•Family Therapy
•Family Based Therapy (FBT)
•Complex Behaviour Clinic (for young people with Learning Disability and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder)
•Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Parenting Groups
•Attachment based therapies
•ADHD monitoring/behavioural interventions
•Medication monitoring
•Mindfulness based therapies
•EMDR (a specialist intervention for trauma)
•Behavioural Family Therapy (BFT)
•Group based interventions

We offer specialist consultation to other professionals working with children/young people with complex mental health difficulties. Please see our leaflet below for information about our consultation service.

Our staff team includes clinicians who have trained as Clinical Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Nurses, Art Psychotherapists, Psychological Therapists and Social Workers. In addition many people have additional training (please see interventions sections for details). We also have reception, secretarial staff and cleaning staff that help run the service.

We often have professionals undertaking clinical training on placement with us who are supervised by a qualified member of the team.

Everyone in our team has experience of working with children and young people who have mental health difficulties and their families.

Admin Staff
The admin team within CAMHS consists of two Medical Secretaries, one Support Secretary, one full time Receptionist and one part time Receptionist/Support Secretary.

Their duties are to support the Clinicians in all their administrative duties.  They are your first point of access when you telephone in to the Department.  They type correspondence, ensure that appointments are sent out and update I.T systems.

When you enter the Phoenix Centre you will be greeted by one of the admin team who are happy to help and answer any non clinical queries that you may have, such as with regards to appointment times and travel expenses.

All admin staff have undertaken a full disclosure to ensure that they are safe and capable of working with young people.  They are bound by the same confidentiality agreement as all staff working within NHS Highland.

Nurse Practitioners
Nurse Practitioners assess and formulate treatment plans for children and young people and their families. They provide therapeutic interventions to these children and their families. They work collaboratively within the rest of the CAMHS team in the Phoenix Centre and in the community. Some of the nursing team have specialist skills to work with the following disorders: Learning Disability, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Eating Disorders and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Some of the nurses prescribe medication.

Clinical Psychologists
Clinical Psychologists work with families, children and young people to understand their difficulties and why they have occurred. They develop with you a psychological ‘formulation’, based on psychological and developmental frameworks, to aid this understanding, and guide interventions. Interventions delivered by psychologists aim to improve the psychological well being of children, young people and families. They often use a combination of therapies to do this, based on you and/or your child’s needs. At times they carry out specific assessments that look at memory, concentration, attention and other thinking skills.

Assistant and Trainee Clinical Psychologists
This group of staff can provide assessments and interventions under the direction and supervision of a qualified psychologist. Assessments include neuropsychological assessments as part of a comprehensive multidisciplinary assessment and specified behavioral observations and assessments. Interventions can be provided for a number of difficulties.

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists
Psychiatrists are doctors who specialise in diagnosing and treating mental illness. While psychiatrists are trained to deliver some types of therapy, within CAMHS they often work alongside another team member and advise on diagnosis or medication. A psychiatrist will almost always be involved if a young person has an eating disorder or psychotic illness, or if a young person is admitted to hospital.
One of the main safeguarding roles of a psychistrist is ensuring young people are not put onto medication unnecessarily.

Social Workers

Psychological Therapists & CAMHS Practitioners
This group of staff are trained therapists who work with children and their families to manage their emotional and mental health difficulties. Our therapists are trained in interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Art Therapy.


CriteriaPlease find our referral criteria document below. Please use these criteria to assist you in filling out our referral form. We require all of the information requested before we can make an informed decision about whether we are the right service for you and, if so, how best to help.

CAMHS Referral Criteria

Paediatric Health Psychology Referral Guidelines July 2015

How to refer

Referrals can be made from professionals with service user consent. Currently our referrals come from a variety of different professionals including Primary Mental Health Workers, School Teachers, GPs, Paediatricians, Educational Psychologists, Nurses and Community Social Workers.

Alternatively, you can self-refer.

Please be aware that if the referral form does not include all of the information we require, we will be unable to process the referral and will return it to you for completion.

Please fill in the referral form below and email it to:

CAMHS Referral Form

If you wish to speak to a member of staff to discuss whether it is appropriate to make a referral, please phone the department between the hours of 12.30-1.30pm on a Tuesday or Thursday.

Coming to CAMHS

What happens after a referral has been made?
Once we have received a completed referral form with all of the information required, we will process your referral. We will get in touch with you (and the professional who referred you) by letter to acknowledge receipt of this referral and let you know if the referral is appropriate for our service. If the referral is not appropriate we will do our best to signpost you to a service that is more appropriate. We aim to process referrals within 24 hours of receiving them.

Once we are able to offer you an appointment, we will write to you again. This letter will tell you when your appointment is and who you will see when you come to the Phoenix Centre. We aim to offer an appointment with the staff member from our service who is best placed to help you.

At times, you may need to wait before you are seen at the Phoenix Centre. We are trying hard to reduce our waiting times and our vision if for every young person to be seen within 18 weeks of their referral being made.

Sometimes it is unclear from the referral information we receive how we can best  help. If this is the case, we will ask you to come in for an appointment in our Assessment and Advice Clinic.

What to expect if you are asked to attend the Assessment and Advice Clinic
You will be asked to attend a 90 minute appointment with one or two members of our team. The purpose of this appointment is to gather additional information to help us understand how best to help. The clinician meeting you will ask about the difficulties you are experiencing. We will also offer some initial advice on things that you and/or your family can do to help, when this is possible.

Straight after your appointment, the clinician who has met with you will meet other clinicians in the team to discuss how we can best meet your needs. We can provide feedback following this discussion in person (if you choose to stay at the Phoenix Centre), by phone or by letter.

What to expect in your first appointment
We understand that it may feel daunting to attend CAMHS for the first time. It may bring up strong feelings to talk about the difficulties you are experiencing. Some people have mixed feelings about coming to CAMHS: they want to understand their difficulties and what can help but are worried about what might happen. We hope that the information below will help. 

The Phoenix Centre
When you arrive at the Phoenix Centre, you will need to tell the receptionist that you are here. They will ask for your name. You can take a seat in our waiting room (photo below). The clinician who is going to meet you will collect you from the waiting room and take you along to a private room for your appointment.

Your first appointment will last around 50 minutes. Appointments in the assessment clinic tend to be a little longer, around 90 minutes. We would always take account of how a child/young person is managing the appointment and time can be adjusted to suit them.

Who should I bring to the appointment?

Young Children
We request that parents/guardians of young children come to the first appointment. We would like to meet you and gather as much information as possible. We might ask to have some time with you alone without your child present so you can discuss what you would like to freely.

Older Children
We prefer young people to bring their guardians to a first appointment. We would like to be able to gather information from all family members. If there are things you want to talk about privately with us, without your family present, we will give you the time and space to do this. There are times, if we are very concerned about a young person’s safety, that we have to speak to their parent/guardian. We would always try to let you know how and why we are doing this.

Who will I meet?
Usually, you will meet with one member of our team, who will be named on your appointment letter. Sometimes more than one team member works with a child/young person, but this would be discussed with you. From time to time, we may ask if a student or a new member of staff can join the appointment. You can refuse this if you wish.

Questions to expect

We will spend some time getting to know you. We might ask a bit about you/your child’s school,, what you like to do in your spare time, who lives with you and what your likes and dislikes are.

We will ask what your current concerns are, when you first noticed these concerns and how it affects you (e.g. how it feels, if it has changed how you behave) and other people in your family.

We will ask you if there are/have been any significant life events happening within the family such as divorce or bereavement.

We will ask what has been tried in the past to help, what has worked and what has not.

We will ask what changes you would like to make and what your goals are.

We will always be guided by you/your child as to what you/they feel comfortable talking about and there will be no pressure to discuss anything you are not ready to.

How can I prepare for my first appointment?
If you feel able, it is helpful to let your child know that they will be attending an appointment. You will know best as to when is the right time to tell them. Some children do better with a lot of notice, others with just a little. Let them know that you want to get some help to make things better – whether this is help to have less arguments at home or help to feel less worried or upset. Give them a brief description of what to expect – who they will meet, what they might do here and how long they will be here for. This website will help you do that.

Let your child’s/your school know that you will be missing some time there.

You might want to bring something to do in the waiting room to keep yourself busy. We have a small selection of toys, paper and pens. Younger children may want to bring a few of their own toys. Older children may want to bring a magazine, a book or electronic device.

You might want to write things down on a piece of paper to help you remember what you would like to say in the appointment. You might like to write down examples of your concerns, if you have noticed any patterns to your problems, what helps and what doesn’t.

You can bring someone along that you trust for support, if you would like to.

Give yourself some time after your appointment to digest what has happened.

What happens after my first appointment?
You will probably be asked to come back for further appointments. It is likely that further appointments will be required to explore your difficulties fully. Once we have gathered all of the information required to help us understand how best to help, we will make a plan together about how we will help.

From time to time, we will send reports to you, your family and professionals involved in your care. We will always tell you if we are going to send a report about you and you will have the opportunity to see this report and discuss it with your clinician. We will not send out information to people that you do not want us to. The only time we would break your confidence by talking to others without your consent is if we had serious concerns about someone’s safety or well being.

We will discuss ending your appointments with you, taking into account your feelings and opinions regarding this. Ending an intervention normally happens over an agreed period of time so that you feel prepared to be discharged.


The Phoenix Centre information leaflets

Complex Behavioural Clinic Leaflet

Consultation Leaflet

Deliberate Self Harm Leaflet

Family Therapy Leaflet

Paediatric Health Psychology Leaflet

Phoenix Leaflet

Paediatric Psychology Special Care Baby Unit Leaflet

Advice Leaflets

The leaflets below have not been created by the Phoenix Centre but you may find them useful.

Self Harm Advice For Friends And Family

Self Harm Advice For Young People.pdf 

Sleep Tips For People with Autism

Self help guides

Please find some self help guides below.  We have not created these resources; however, they are resources that we would recommend.

Beating Eating Disorders Embracing Change

Please click the 'MoodJuice' link at the bottom of the page to access self-help guides for a variety of difficulties.


Other useful services in Highlands

The Primary Mental Health Worker Service

The Primary Mental Health Worker (PMHW) Service builds capacity within other agencies and provides early intervention to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children, young people and their families, within their local communities, through consultation, direct intervention and training. We work in partnership with the PMHW service by delivering a stepped care approach.

This means that if you are referred to CAMHS we might ask one of the Primary Mental Health Workers in your area to see you first. We are likely to ask a PMHW to meet with you if your difficulties have been present for less than 1 year and you have not had contact with any other services before being referred to CAMHS.

There is a link at the bottom of the page for the Highland Council's Additional Support Needs webpage. You will find additional information about the PMHW service there. Please note- this page is currently being updated.

Voluntary Organisations

Please find below an extensive document that lists helpful voluntary organisations in the Highlands.

CAMHS Voluntary List

Useful Links

 Below is a list of useful websites.

  • YoungMinds
    YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people.
  • MoodJuice
    Self-help guides for a variety of topics including anger, anxiety, depression, phobias, sleep and trauma.
  • MoodCafe
    Self help guides for children including MP3 relaxation guides.