Enhancing engagement in CAMHS


  • Joanna Appleby Registered Social Worker. Began work at the Kari Centre before joining the Regional Youth Forensic Service.
  • Deb Phillips Registered Social Worker working at the Kari Centre.




child and adolescent mental health services, mental health, children, adolescents, social work values,


Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are tasked with working with young people with moderate-severe mental health needs. However, for many of those young people who are in most need, there are several barriers to engaging with CAMHS. These barriers can be environmental, cultural and psychological.

For CAMHS to provide effective services, these barriers must be addressed by both clinicians (including social workers) and referrers. A review of the literature suggests engagement interventions that target all levels of barriers, providing an ecological approach to enhancing engagement. New Zealand CAMHS are trying new initiatives to improve access rates. Social work values of choice, self-determination and collaboration underpin these interventions.


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How to Cite

Appleby, J., & Phillips, D. (2016). Enhancing engagement in CAMHS. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 25(1), 24–34. https://doi.org/10.11157/anzswj-vol25iss1id92