What is the Paediatric Psychology Service?
This is a CAMHS specialist service that works with children and young people (aged between 0-19 years) who have a physical health condition and are experiencing difficulties adjusting to, or coping with living with, their condition.
Not all children and young people who have a physical health condition will need to access the support of the Paediatric Psychology Service (PPS). This will be an option for you, if your health condition is having a significant impact on your psychological wellbeing. (Psychological wellbeing means enjoying good levels of emotional health and living well.)
The role of the team is to support you to adjust to the changes a physical health condition can bring. It is also to help you be able to live as happily and healthily as possible, where your health condition becomes a manageable part of your life.
For example, if you are diagnosed with a physical health condition there can be a lot of things for you and your family to think about and to do. If you are struggling with elements of this, for example, taking medication/preparing for surgery or dealing with negative thoughts/feelings/behaviours linked to your health condition, the PPS are there to support you and your family to work things through.
Because the Paediatric Psychology Service works with children and young people with a varied range of physical health conditions, each patient will be offered support that is tailored just for them and their family.
Who can refer to the PPS?
To be treated by the Paediatric Psychology Service you will need to be under the care of and referred by, a medical Consultant Paediatrician who works at one of the UHL hospitals or in the Community. You are not able to self-refer to this service, but you can talk to your medical consultant or a trusted adult if you are struggling with your wellbeing linked to your health condition and ask them to talk to your medical consultant who can refer you.
Who works in the Paediatric Psychology Service?
The PPS team is a group of healthcare professionals who specialise in mental health issues, particularly in the context of a physical health condition. The team is mostly made up of psychologists who help you manage the demands that your physical health condition has on your mental health. You might see a clinical psychologist, a counselling psychologist, an assistant psychologist, a family therapist or a consultant psychiatrist. They work with you and any adults who support you to create a joint plan, to help you achieve better psychological health and enjoy a better quality of life. The Paediatric Psychology Service will often work with your medical team, if you are happy for them to do this, to ensure that they know what you’ve agreed so they can understand what support you are receiving.
Where is the Paediatric Psychology Service based?
The team are based at Artemis House which is on the Westcotes House site, near Leicester City Centre. They also have rooms at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.
What do they do?
When you come to the Paediatric Psychology Service, one or more of the team will meet with you and your family, to assess your psychological difficulties and listen to your concerns. They will be known as your Lead Professional. With that clinician, you will decide what the best way forward is for you and what the right therapeutic approach is. An assessment simply means that they will talk to you and listen to you, in order to gather information about your psychological wellbeing. They may also ask you to complete some questionnaires either before or during the initial appointment. Your family will be invited to join in this conversation. There will not be any physical examination during this assessment, or any of the follow-up PPS appointments.
By the end of the assessment, which usually takes around 1 to 1 and a half hours, there will be a plan. Your Lead Professional will continue to check in with you after this assessment to manage your care after this point.
Options in your plan might include working with you individually, working with you and your family or you might join in with group work and, if you give your consent, working with your medical team too. The kinds of therapies that might be offered include Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Family Therapy to help the whole family start to adjust to the changes that living with a physical health condition can bring. What is included in your treatment plan will very much depend on these ongoing conversations and exploring what you and the team think would work best for you, your psychological wellbeing and your family.
What will happen once I’ve been referred to the PPS?
What happens next will depend on the outcome of the assessment. The team will jointly make an action plan with you that fits with what you need. It may suggest further treatment by the team, or referring onto a different service specialising in emotional and mental health that might be helpful for you. Whatever the outcome of your assessment, you will have an action plan to help you. Your Lead Professional might also speak to other people, including your medical team and school/college to make sure they know the best way to support you.
Other places to find support and advice:
Or ask your medical team if there is a charity website for your health condition that provides free, reliable information and support, for example Diabetes UK.
If you need urgent help for your mental health, you can call the Central Access Point (CAP) on 0808 800 3302 who have an 24 hours urgent mental health support line. You can also