Confidentiality means that there is a level of privacy to the information that's shared or discussed within individual sessions so that a young person feels they can safely share personal matters or things that they may not feel comfortable talking about elsewhere.
Unless you are under 16, you should be confident that whatever you discuss in a session remains private unless you consent to the information being shared. If you are under 16, your therapist may have to share some information with your parent or carer but will discuss with you what they share.
Whilst those working within CAMHS are very keen to maintain confidentiality, if they suspect that there is a high risk of a young person causing harm to either themselves or others then they may need to break confidentiality in order to keep you or others safe.
More info: Know Your Rights
If you are under 16, your therapist will try to keep your parents or carers involved and informed, but your parents don’t need to have all the information – just the parts that you and the therapist think will help them to help you. Usually a therapist will discuss and agree with a young person what they are happy to share.
If you are over 16, your therapist may ask your permission to share your progress with your parents or carers as it can allow you to build a stronger support network whilst you are going through treatment.
Not sharing anything at all tends to not be very helpful but if you are very clear that you do not want something shared then you should discuss this further with your therapist and they should always try to respect your view.
More info: Know Your Rights
It’s your right to decide whether to tell your friends if you are working with CAMHS.
Some young people do talk to their friends, and perhaps they know other young people that have also attended CAMHS, but it is really down to you and your friendships and how trustworthy those friendships feel.
If you have good friends that you trust, and feel would be able to help and support you, it can be useful to share with friends because mental health difficulties happen to people of all ages, in every school, college, university or workplace and support from your peers can prove very beneficial.
Ultimately, though, it’s a personal decision whether you want to share and who you might to share with. It is also something that you can discuss with your therapist who can also advise on how to start that conversation should you so wish.
More info: Helping Someone Else
CAMHS will not share information with your school without discussing it with you and, if under 16, your family and gaining permission from either yourself or your parents or carers.
There may be instances where, if, for example, a young person was having difficulties with school or were frequently becoming upset or angry, that a therapist may discuss with you whether it would be helpful to inform your school.
Sometimes it can be very helpful for school to have a better understanding of what is going on for you, so that they can better support you, and sometimes it is also useful for the therapist to hear the school’s perspective on certain issues. The therapist might be able to give them ideas about how to make school easier for you. It is possible for a therapist to work together with your school to help you without telling them everything they know about you. For example, it might be useful for a school to know that a child has recently been through a difficult time at home without telling the school all the details about what is going on. However, it is always about respecting the young person’s views and if there was a good reason not to share then your therapist would not go against your wishes.
Should you decide to give consent to your therapist sharing any information, you always have the right to remove consent later should you feel it is not helpful or you no longer wish to share.
More information: Know Your Rights
Your therapist has to balance your confidentiality with providing you the best help and support possible and, sometimes, it can be really useful for other people around you; your parents, a teacher, a social worker, if you have one, to have a better understanding of what’s going on for you so that they can help and support you better. They don’t have to know everything that you discuss with your therapist, but it can be useful sometimes to share some information with them.
It may also be that other services know you’re being seen without necessarily knowing all the details of what’s talked about in your sessions. For example, the person who may have referred you will usually receive information about what the outcome of the referral is and the support that’s been provided to you.
Any decision about who to share information with and what information you might want to share should happen in collaboration with you and, if you’re under 16, your parents or carers. And the only information that should be shared is information that’s really going to help them to help you.
There is an exception regarding your confidentiality if your therapist hears information from you which leads them to become worried that there’s a serious risk to you or someone else. At that point, a therapist can share your information to keep you or others safe.
The notes taken within a session become part of a clinical record a service will keep about your care. This information is kept securely and accessible to authorised people only. There are strict laws to protect your privacy and only the people involved in your care are able to access the notes about you.
If you would like to see the notes taken about you, you can ask your therapist who can then show you.