Ask Sam letter


To Sam

What happens at a mental health hospital?

Hi Sam,

I’ve been suffering with mental health problems since christmas. I recently had a CAMHS appointment but when I was in there the Dr that I saw mentioned the possible of going to a mental health hospital and staying there for a while. But I don’t know what one exactly is, the Dr didn’t explain it very well but I was wondering if you could kinda tell me about them and what happens in one. Thank you for reading

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Getting the right help and support for your mental health is really important. Most of the time you can be treated by your GP, but sometimes your doctor may think a stay in a hospital will help you. Your doctor or therapist will tell you what type of treatment you need and where you can get that.

Children and Adolescent Mental Health services, also called CAMHS, support young people with different types of mental health issues including depression, anxiety and eating problems. They can help by listening, support you to express your feelings and find ways to cope better. You might be offered counselling or other types of therapy, medication or an admission to hospital.

Being in hospital can give you time away from things that may be difficult in your everyday life so you can focus on your treatment. Sometimes you might need to go into hospital to keep you safe or because help is available 24 hours a day. Whatever the reason, the staff work together to help you.

You’ll be able to carry on with school or college work while in hospital, spend time alone or with other patients and play games and sport, depending on what’s available where you are. There will be set times for things like meals, bedtime and activities. Knowing what happens at different times of the day can help you settle in and have a routine to follow.

Wherever you have your treatment, you have the right to know what will happen and be given the chance to say what you think. Try to be involved with decisions about what you need, even if the outcome isn’t what you hoped for. Remember: taking part in your treatment can help you get well.

I’m glad you sent this letter to me. If you need more support, there’s a good guide to CAMHS and you can always talk about how you’re feeling to a Childline counsellor.

Take care


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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