news bites
The #Hash Tag Group

A true story of drugs and alcohol misuse and the impact on a young person’s mental health

Life Matters at Surrey Libraries

My Autism Book

A helping hand for parents of school aged children

‘My CAMHS Choices’ website launched by young people for young people

Meet the Eating Disorders Team
news from CYA
An exciting time for CYA

Tier 4 – CYA meets with Jeremy Hunt, MP
New substance misuse service supports young people with drug and alcohol issues
Read how Surrey County Council has recently commissioned Catch 22 to provide a specialist substance misuse treatment service for young people

The Surrey Young Person’s Substance Misuse Service provides a range of support to young people aged 11 to 21 across the county who have problems with drugs or alcohol.


The multi-professional team of specialist support workers offer:


  • a 24/7 emergency referral and crisis line for young people: 0800 622 6662
  • a prompt response before motivation falters and problems escalate
  • specialist prescribing and pharmacological support for rapid response
  • a harm-reduction approach, which informs young people about the effects of drug and alcohol misuse and the risks involved
  • individually tailored help, based on an assessment of each young person’s needs
  • specialist support for mental health problems
  • help for the whole family
  • access to prescribing and needle exchange services
  • access to alternative therapies, such as acupuncture
  • access to mentors, aftercare and recovery support
  • transitional support to adult services 
  • additional support for care leavers and those with learning  difficulties or disabilities.


Anyone can refer a young person into the service using the referral form below.

Catch 22 is a social business providing services that help people in tough situations to turn their lives around.

It works with troubled and vulnerable people, helping them to steer clear of crime or substance misuse, do the best they can in education or employment, and play a full part in their family or community.

If you would like to know more about the service please contact or visit the Catch 22 website.

Anyone can refer, including young people themselves. Referring is simple:

Useful links and information

Risk and protective factors: youth and substance abuse
This article discusses what are risk and protective factors associated with young people and substance use, whether they make a difference and what teachers and schools can do.


Visit the NHS Choices website for more information on drugs, alcohol misuse and useful links to related websites.


Talk to Frank for friendly, confidential drug advice and to see videos of the effects of drug misuse on psychological well-being.



Read about ADEPIS (The Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Information Service) - a platform for sharing information and resources aimed at schools and practitioners working in drug and alcohol prevention.

The #Hash Tag Group
Sharon Snape, Youth Mental Health Nurse Specialist, Mindful Service for West Surrey talks about how Surrey supports young people with cannabis-induced psychosis

Sharon Snape, Youth Mental Health Nurse Specialist, Mindful Service for West Surrey talks about how Surrey supports young people with cannabis-induced psychosis

The #Hash Tag group was developed from my particular interest in cannabis and its effects on mental health whilst I was working for the early intervention in psychosis team. 

It was started in late 2012 by the Mindful Service for Surrey along with John Howard, Catch 22 and was attended by an average of six young people each week. 

Referrals were opened up to young people aged between 16 and 25 from CAMHS, Early Intervention in Psychosis, Catch 22, CMHRS, YMCA and the Youth Support Service. 

At the time we were receiving a lot of referrals for young people who were experiencing a cannabis- induced psychosis. 

I developed a workbook with Richard Lee, who has sadly since passed away, and a third year nursing student. 

The workbook contains information on the effects of cannabis on physical and mental health, information on harm reduction, relapse prevention, cannabis and the law and aims to identify why young people use cannabis and how they can develop alternative coping strategies. 

The #Hash Tag group meets weekly for four weeks and during the interactive sessions, goes through sections of the workbook.

I will be running a group with Anne Docherty, YMCA Supported Housing Coordinator at the YMCA in Guildford on a Wednesday, starting on 19 March until 9 April from 3 - 4.30pm.

See the Hash Tag group flier for more details:

Referrals will be opened up to the services listed above for all young people aged between 16 and 25 who either want to reduce their cannabis use or stop completely.  

Please email for a referral form and further information. 

A true story of drugs and alcohol misuse and the impact on a young person’s mental health
Read the uplifting story of how a young person from Surrey overcame their addiction to drink and drugs.

Read the uplifting story of how a young person from Surrey overcame their addiction to drink and drugs.

When I was 13, I started to feel really down about myself and didn’t have much confidence or self esteem.  This is when I first began to smoke cannabis.

I thought it made me feel better about myself and because of it I had made new friends. I knew that it wasn’t good for me but I didn’t really care as it was something that helped me to feel better.

At first I kept it a secret from my school friends as I didn’t know what they would think but after a while some of them had started to smoke weed too (not because of me). 

Using cannabis helped me to relax and sleep better, at first I felt it blocked some of my negative thoughts I had and gave me a break from worrying about things.

By the time I was 14 I was smoking cannabis every day and at the weekend I would go out drinking.

This was a release for me and I could forget about what was going on in my life. I started to become so used to it that when I wasn’t high or drunk I really struggled and I began to feel paranoid a lot. 

I noticed I was beginning to feel more depressed and that my self- harming had increased but I still thought my bad cannabis habits were helping me and I did not want to give it all up.

I had started to go to CAMHS because of my mood but I didn’t feel able to talk to my CAMHS worker about my drug use as I was worried that my parents would find out so I kept it a secret and try to hide it.

After a while I started to find that alcohol and cannabis weren’t enough and I had begun to use cocaine and ketamine recreationally, whilst still smoking cannabis up to 15 times a day and would often take them between lessons at school.

I was struggling at school and often would argue with my parents, probably due to my drug use. I often couldn’t eat, I was struggling to sleep and my mood was very low. 

I was still self-harming and I found it all very overwhelming. I used mephedrone heavily for a few months but my mental health really suffered and I knew I needed to stop taking it.

The drugs were expensive and I started to commit petty crimes to enable me to buy them. This affected my self-worth as I started to see myself as a bad person. My group of friends were all using and selling drugs and I found myself surrounded by a very negative atmosphere but it all still seemed better than giving it in and admitting to the feelings I needed to cope with.

My school teachers and parents had now noticed what was going on and I was given a Catch 22 worker to support me. I found my worker really helpful and built a good relationship with her.

My mental health got a lot worse and I started receiving support from Catch 22 and CAMHS. I went to the Amber Foundation which is a charity that provides accommodation and support to rebuild your life and stay clean. I was really nervous to go at first and was worried that I wouldn’t get on with the other people who were there, but I became good friends and started to feel ok without needing to use drugs.

With their help, I now have been clean for two and a half years and would never go back to the way I was.

Anon, HOPE Service.

Life Matters at Surrey Libraries

Read how libraries throw the book at what life throws at us

Throwing the book at what life throws at us

Surrey Libraries have a collection of books that will help inform and guide anyone who is experiencing challenging situations.

Life Matters
is a virtual collection where reading lists can be found online and the books available to reserve to local libraries.

From picture books for young children, informative books and fictional novels for teens and adults, topics include:


  • Grief and bereavement
    • Drugs, alcohol and gambling
    • Family and relationships
    • New experiences
    • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
    • Domestic abuse
    • Self harm

Understanding a situation can be achieved through empathy by reading about it as well as learning in a traditional sense.

The Reading Well collection covers more specific mental health issues such as depression and anxiety and is aimed at teens and their parents/carers as well as professionals.

A selection of mood boosting books that have been chosen by young people from all over the country will help reassure readers that they are not struggling alone. 

For more details on what’s on offer for younger readers visit the Surrey libraries’ children and teen's pages

Additional library information for parents/ carers and teachers is also available, together with details on health and wellbeing events in libraries.

For Life Matters leaflets, flyers or posters or to make any suggestions for book titles that will compliment the collection, please contact Holly Case, Senior Team Officer, Health and Well-being on 0300 200 1001.

For more information on facing challenging situations including substance misuse, difficult family relationships, bereavement and more please see the Life Matters booklet

My Autism Book
Dr Gloria Dura-Vila, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist explains how her new children's book helps parents to discuss their child's autism

In an interview with ‘NHS Choices’, Dr Gloria Dura-Vila, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Mole Valley Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service explains how her new illustrated book for children, ‘My Autism Book’ helps parents tell their child that he or she has been diagnosed with autism.


She discusses how she feels that parents can provide a loving and safe space to tell their child about their diagnosis rather than being told by a professional.


Once the child knows about and develops an understanding of their diagnosis, they can often explain the differences they may have noticed between themselves and other children, and shed light on the difficulties they are facing.


“Children I have diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have told me about the positives of knowing what their condition was. I even had a card from a teenager I diagnosed who thanked me because he now ‘liked himself more’, as he now knew why at times he didn't fit in,” says Gloria.

To see the ‘NHS Choices’ article, find out more about Gloria’s book and read facts about autism click this link.


A helping hand for parents of school aged children
See the new ‘Parents’ Pages 5 to 19’ bulletin and subscribe here

See the new ‘Parents’ Pages 5 to 19’ bulletin

Parents, grandparents and carers of 5 to 19 year olds* now have the chance to subscribe to a new e-bulletin offering features, tips and advice on getting children and young people through the school and college years.

The first issue focuses on getting the most out of parents' evenings and minimising the impact of separation and divorce on children.

The e-bulletin Parents' Pages 5 to 19 will be sent out twice a term to subscribers.

Find out more and subscribe here

‘My CAMHS Choices’ website launched by young people for young people
Read about the new website that helps young people understand more about CAMHS and accessing the service and see videos featuring young people and clinicians

All that you would want to know before going to CAMHS 

A new website has been launched to help young people understand more about CAMHS and accessing the service

‘My CAMHS Choices’, written by young people for young people, features videos of clinicians and young people talking about the kind of help offered by CAMHS, questions about confidentiality and diagnosis, and what to do if things aren’t working out.

This informative collection of videos and other resources have been created by young people in collaboration with the Evidence Based Practice Unit at UCL and AFC, YoungMinds and Off the Record, Bristol.

Take a look at the website then let them know what you think by completing a short survey.

Meet the Eating Disorders Team
Find out what the team does, their successes, challenges and what is planned for the future.

Find out what the team does, their successes, challenges and what is planned for the future.

The specialist eating disorders service specialises in the treatment of children and young people with Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). 

The aim of their treatment is to address both the physical and psychological aspects of eating disorders. 

Treatment goals include:

  • Supporting parents and families through the recovery process.
  • Correcting any medical problems caused by the eating disorder.
  • Helping the young person to reach and maintain a healthy weight and to develop healthy eating behaviours.
  • Helping the young person to communicate their feelings and learn healthier ways of coping with difficulties.
  • Enhancing motivation to recover.

If you have any questions about the service please visit the Eating Disorder Service web pages or contact

CAMHS Youth Advisors (CYA) is made up of a group of young people who have their own personal experience of accessing CAMHS. 

We have a say in what goes on in CAMHS and take part in a variety of projects.

CYA works to ensure that children and young people who use CAMHS have a voice, through being involved in recruitment, staff training, service development and lots more. 

Our main aim is to get more users involved with the decisions within the service, because a service aimed at young people should be developed by them too. 

CYA Update

  • CYA met with Jeremy Hunt, MP to discuss how the change in commissioning for Tier 4 services has impacted young people negatively.
  • The Dementia Friendly Surrey project began and CYA members took part in activities with residents at the Anchor Care Home for people with dementia, in Woking.
  • CYA meetings have been held across Surrey for children and young people to attend.
  • CYA Awards 2014 planning has begun.
  • Our Voice Edition 10 has been printed and distributed.

CYA Awards 2014

After the success of last year’s CYA Awards, CYA has already started to plan and prepare the 2014 ceremony to ensure that it is even better this year! The CYA Awards 2014 will be held on the 11 July from 6-9pm so make sure you save this date! The venue is to be confirmed.

CYA West

CYA West is a fortnightly group for children and young who have had experience of accessing mental health services in Surrey. The group is held at The Bisley Youth Centre, from 5.30-7.30pm on Tuesdays. It is open to young people of all ages who live in or around the Surrey Heath area.

The group has been involved in consultation work and has started to plan this year’s CYA Awards.


CYA East

CYA East is now changing location and because of this we have to postpone our meetings until a new venue and dates are confirmed. We will be giving out the new details about the changes very soon.


Redhill drop in

This group meets monthly on the 4th Wednesday of every month at the Redhill CAMHS Clinic. The group is aimed at children and young people from the ages of 11-15 years old living in north east Surrey. Young people who are older than 15 are more than welcome and may be offered a facilitating role in the group.

Redhill drop in always welcomes new members so feel free to contact us if you are interested in coming along or know of someone who may be.


CYA Woking

CYA Woking meets monthly on the third Tuesday of every month from 5.30-7.30pm at Quadrant Court, Woking. Young people of all ages are welcome.

The group has recently been looking at funding ideas to raise money for CYA, planning the CYA Awards 2014 and is looking to create a poster for CAMHS receptions.


If anyone would like more information about the CYA groups please check out the CYA page on the CAMHS website. Each group has a page and shows all of the upcoming meeting dates and how to get involved!



Upload training is mandatory for any professionals working in CYPS. We are currently working on setting training dates for this year. More information will be out soon with information on how to book your place!


Recruit Crew

Recently CYA members have taken part in three interviews. Four CYA members were involved in interviewing and helping to recruit a CAMHS Social Worker.


Our Voice

The 10th Edition of Our Voice has now been printed and is out in all CAMHS clinics. The magazine is great for reducing young people’s anxiety whilst sitting in waiting rooms for CAMHS appointments. It provides service and mental health information, whilst reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

 We are always looking for articles for the magazine! If you would like to have your article, poem or picture featured in the next edition email it to us on:

The articles voted top three by the CAMHS Youth Advisors (CYA) will receive a £5 voucher!

To receive a copy email .



Dementia Friendly Surrey

Just before Christmas a group of CYA members visited residents with dementia, at the Anchor Care Home in Woking.

The members planned and facilitated different actives for the residents to take part in, including cake decorating, a quiz and games.

The members had the chance to speak with the residents and find out more about dementia. A young person who took part said, “I really got an insight on how people cope with dementia.”

We are planning another visit in the February half term to give more young people the opportunity to take part in the project.


CYA in School

We go into schools to raise awareness of mental health issues and reduce the stigma that may surround them.

Young presenters will share their journey of accessing mental health services and share what it has been like for them. The presentations are tailor-made for each school.

To find out more or to book a CYA in Schools presentation please contact us on or call 01483 519571.



Parent involvement group

At the end of last year we created an online survey to collect parent’s views about their experiences of CAMHS.

We have now collated all the responses and are now working on a magazine to share the information.

The first draft has been sent to parents we are working with for their feedback. The magazine will include service information, useful resources and parent’s stories of their experiences of having a child accessing mental health services in Surrey.

The magazine will be printed and distributed soon.


Come and join us
We are always looking for young people to join CYA.  Just contact us directly via our email address below or give us a call.

Professionals should always get the young person’s permission before passing their details on to us.  We will contact the young person as soon as we can.

Contact the team on or call 01483 519 571.


At the end of last year CYA met with Jeremy Hunt, Member of Parliament for South West Surrey and Secretary of State for Health to discuss how the change in commissioning for Tier 4 services has had a negative impact on young people.

CYA has been supported by Caroline Budden, Surrey County Council’s Deputy Director for the Children's, Schools and Families Service who has helped us to raise this concern and have young people’s voices heard. 

A meeting is to be arranged for CYA to discuss this issue further with NHS England (current commissioners for Tier 4 services nationally) with the aim of improving the experiences of children and young people in need of the support of Tier 4 services.

Read Young Minds’ round-up of policy developmentsin children and young people's mental health during 2013

Read a list of the policy developments in children and young people's mental health during 2013 including the formation of Public Health England, the Chief Medical Officer’s report on the need for the prioritisation of, and investment in mental health services for children and young people. 

See a parliamentary debate on in-patient mental health services and much more.

Read how the Government plans to
improve the standard of mental health services and encourage people to talk about mental health problems.

The Government has launched ‘Closing the Gap: priorities for essential change in mental health’, a mental health action plan intended to improve the standard of mental health services and encourage people to talk about mental health problems.

Actions are set out in five key areas:

  • Increasing access to mental health services
  • Improving the quality of mental health services
  • Integrating physical and mental health care
  • Starting to promote mental wellbeing and prevent mental health problems
  • Improving the quality of life of people with mental health problems

Read more here.

The charity, Young Minds, has launched a major campaign to improve young people's mental health.

It will be running five mini campaigns targeting five issues identified as causing young people the most distress: sexual pressures, bullying, unemployment, school stress and access to counselling.

‘YoungMinds V’s’  was launched in January at an event at the House of Commons after a poll commissioned by the charity found that one third of children and young people don’t know where to turn to get help when they feel depressed or anxious while half of children and young people have been bullied.

Visit for more information about the campaign.

Read the NSPCC Childline report that reveals worrying issues affecting children and young people in 2013

ChildLine has helped over 3.2 million children and young people since its launch in 1986.

As times have changed, so have the risks and concerns affecting young people.

The figures in a NSPCC Childline report show an alarming increase in the number of contacts from children and young people related to self-harm, online bullying and suicide.

For more details and to discover what children and young people are experiencing today read the report on the NSPCC website.

Watch this video to see depression explained in an informative, yet simple way

Many individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles with depression and don't know where to turn for help.

Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical step towards recovery.

This short video tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".


The NSPCC says that one in five children is now bullied online and that the problem is getting worse.

Luke Roberts, national co-ordinator of the UK's Anti-Bullying Alliance adds that "Cyberbullying increases isolation and impacts on mental health more than other forms of bullying."

Read the full BBC article here.


A two-day basic child and adolescent mental health awareness course for multi-agency professionals and volunteers who work directly with children and young people.

Course aims:


  • To increase mental health awareness for front-line professionals and volunteers so that they can improve access to mental health advice and support for children and young people across Surrey
  • To promote inter-agency working and understanding on child and adolescent mental health within the 4 Surrey areas.

For course dates, more information and to book using the application form provided, please
visit the CAMHS website.


Hi everyone, hope you’re well!


Just to let you all know that we are already getting ready for the CYA Awards 2014!


The awards will be held at the HG. Wells Centre in Woking, on the 11July 2014, from 6-9pm.


The awards are planned and facilitated by the young people of CYA (The CAMHS Youth Advisors) who are a group of young people who currently access or have experience of accessing mental health services in Surrey.


The aim of this evening is to celebrate the achievements of children, young people and their professionals. Children and young people can nominate professionals, and professionals can nominate children and young people!


Please propose any young person who you feel deserves recognition for their efforts!


Due to the popularity of the event please be sure to send us your suggested names as soon as possible to avoid disappointment, as we will (as last year) only be able to accept 200 nominations due to the event's audience capacity.


By the end of February you will see the nomination boxes for young people appear in all clinics!


The nomination deadline is Friday the 6 June 2014.  Please make sure that nominations arrive with us before this date as we will be unable to accept them after this time.


See below for a nomination form to this email. You can nominate by completing the form and returning it to us via post, email, or via the nomination boxes.


Nomination boxes (and young people nomination forms/posters etc) will be given to clinics within the next month and we would like to ask clinic staff if they could kindly forward nominations to us by checking/emptying the boxes and posting to us (we will be in touch with every clinic to confirm and to check boxes).


By post: Charlotte Williams, CAMHS Rights & Participation Officer, 1st Floor, Quadrant Court, 35 Guildford Road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 7QQ


This year registration is through 'Eventbrite'. Please follow this link to book your place and to see more event information.


 We would recommend early booking as the CYA Awards Event is always very popular!

CYA team

CAMHS Rights and Participation Assistant

Have you finished an apprenticeship, or a similar course, and are interested in starting a career working with children and young people in the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)?

Our newly created post of CAMHS Rights and Participation Assistant will work as part of the CAMHS Rights and Participation team and with children and young people who access mental health services.

The role will be based in Woking.

Salary - £15,857 per annum
Hours - 36 hours per week, office hours with occasional evenings and weekends

See the Surrey County Council jobs pages for job description and person specification.

The closing date for applications is 21 February 2014.

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