'The challenges of sharing information when a young person is experiencing severe emotional difficulties': implications for schools and CAMHS

Tania Hart, Michelle O'Reilly

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle


Background: Supporting the education of children and young people with complex emotional mental health difficulties requires schools to have knowledge of their needs. Exchanging information about less visible mental health difficulties is, however, known to be complex. Exploring the perceptions of young people experiencing problems can explicate some of this complexity and identify solutions. Yet their views are rarely given credence in this context. Methods: The findings were derived from a broader qualitative study exploring the school experiences of young people, aged 14–16 years, identified by CAMHS as having severe emotional difficulties.Their parents’ and teachers’ perceptions were also explored. Data were collected via semi structured interviews and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Findings demonstrated that young people experiencing emotional difficulties need to feel safe about exchanging private information pertaining to their mental health. Teachers having a basic knowledge of mental health promoted their safety as this ensured confidentiality.Participants reported that CAMHS practitioners needed to be more proactive regarding the practicalities of exchanging information. Conclusions: Arguably, teachers need to have basic knowledge of mental health and schools need clearer mental health confidentiality guidance. CAMHS also have responsibility in identifying more information exchange mechanisms and young service users and parents can play a part in this.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild and Adolescent Mental Health
Early online date6 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2018



  • CAMHS and schools
  • information sharing
  • school mental health
  • interprofessional working
  • interviews
  • qualitative
  • children's voice

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