The north Durham learning disabilities child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) team is based at:

North End House

42 North End

Durham, DH1 4LW

Tel: 0191 5945770

Fax: 0191 5945771


The service is open Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm. If you have a patient crisis outside of these hours, please contact the CAMHS crisis service on telephone 0191 4415733 between the hours of 8am and 10pm, seven days per week, or access your GP or local accident and emergency department.

About the service

The service provides high quality, specialist multi-disciplinary assessment (tiers 2, 3 and 4), diagnosis and intervention for children and young people with learning disabilities and their families, for a range of complex problems where universal children's services have proven insufficient to meet the child's or young person's needs.

Early intervention by the service enables the team to support children experiencing significant mental health problems or complex needs (health or neuro-developmental) in addition to their learning disability, including challenging behaviour, depression/psychosis, anxiety disorders, epilepsy, autism, ADHD, sleep difficulties, developmental delay, toileting and attachment disorder.

The team work in community settings, schools and family homes, as appropriate to the needs of the child or young person.

Examples of treatments or therapy which may be provided include:

  • Psychological therapies - in particular family therapy, play therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, solution focused therapy
  • Medication, often in collaboration with the child/young person's GP, through transfer of prescribing arrangements
  • Referral to tier 4 services, including admission to in-patient facilities
  • Referral to other agencies such as specialist substance misuse services
  • Community work
  • Support to address physical health care needs in collaboration with the child/young person's GP and paediatrician
  • Parenting support and parenting interventions, either on an individual basis or through more formal, structured group programmes where these are available
  • Liaison with agencies and professionals involved with the child/young person or family.

The team

The north Durham team includes:

  • A consultant learning disability child and adolescent psychiatrist
  • A clinical psychologist
  • Registered learning disability nurses
  • A primary mental health worker
  • An associate practitioner
  • Nursing support workers
  • An assistant psychologist
  • Team secretaries and a medical secretary.

How to access the service

Referrals to the service are accepted from GPs, primary care staff, education staff, social services and other children and young people (CYP) services.

The child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) across County Durham and Darlington has a single point of access for referrals and self-referrals to CAMHS services. To contact the team please email or call 0300 1239296.

How the assessment process works

  • Within four weeks of referral each child/young person and their family or carer will receive a specialist multi-disciplinary assessment of their difficulties. This includes an assessment of the impact of these difficulties on their education, family (especially parents and siblings), development, friendships and day-to-day functioning.
  • The service will ensure that each person and their family or carer is involved in the assessment process. The assessment outcome will be communicated promptly to the child or young person, their family and the referrer.
  • A lead professional or care co-ordinator will be assigned to the child or young person. This person will have overall responsibility for ensuring appropriate assessment, care and review by themselves and others in the team.
  • A specialist risk assessment, designed for use in learning disability services, will be completed for each child or young person within the service.
  • The contact each child or young person has with the service will depend on their needs and can range from daily for complex cases to six monthly for routine management of long term medication where no other intervention is needed. Frequency of contact will be reviewed on a regular basis with each child or young person and/or their families and a record will be kept of all contacts with the child or young person.