What we do

ELCAS is a specialist mental health service for children and young people. 

Click here to download a copy of our ELCAS leaflet.

In many areas in the country these services are known as CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

Your journey through ELCAS

The start

ELCAS is a specialist service which means that you can’t just ring up and ask for an appointment. Referrals can be made by other people who have already met you and think that ELCAS might be able to help.

Those people include:

  • Your GP (family doctor)
  • Social Worker
  • Paediatrician (Specialist Children’s Doctor)
  • School with a supporting CAF Common Assessment Framework (CAF)

Once we receive your referral and we think we might be able to help; we get in touch as soon as possible to offer a choice of appointment dates. If we don’t think we can help we will give advice to the person referring you about other services. We will ask you to complete some standard questionnaires and give consent to the service.

We deliver specialist assessment, consultation, diagnosis, formulation and treatment in a range of settings, including the ELCAS department, community and locality settings. In certain circumstances we can see people at their home or school.

On This Page We Aim To Give You Some Information To Explain What We Can Do To Help.

ELCAS is a service made up of people from different professional backgrounds that have training and skills in working with children, young people and families.

If you are in a crisis

It is important to keep yourself safe. If you feel suicidal or have hurt yourself; let an adult know as soon as you can. It may be that the safest place for you to be assessed is through A&E at the hospital.

You can talk to somebody directly 24 hours a day at:

Lancashire and South Cumbria Mental Health Helpline:  0800 953 0110

ChildLine (Free 24 hours) 0800 1111

The Teams 


We have 3 area teams in ELCAS:

  • Burnley and Pendle
  • Hyndburn, Rossendale and the Ribble Valley
  • Blackburn with Darwen

Our professionals

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists are doctors who are specially trained to work with children and young people when they have problems related to how they feel, think or behave. They are medically trained and have an understanding of mental health disorders. As well as psychological treatments sometimes they will prescribe medication and will usually be involved if a young person needs to go into hospital.

Clinical Psychologists

The Clinical Psychologists who work in ELCAS all have special training about how children and young people develop as they grow up. They have an understanding about how young people think, feel and behave in different situations such as home and school. Sometimes they will work just with the young person but often it will be with the parents or whole family too.

Many psychologists who work in ELCAS are also called doctor but this is different to the medical doctors.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapists (CBT)

CBT Therapists have had special training in a type of therapy that is concerned with how people think, feel and how this affects what they do. The CBT Therapists have really good skills in understanding why we sometimes keep making the same mistakes or doing things which are unhelpful to us, and have ideas about how this might be able to be changed.

Useful leaflets:

Information for families

Content to be updated soon.

Art Therapists

Content to be updated soon.

Information for professionals

Content to be updated soon.

Intensive Support Team

Content to be updated soon.

                                 Family Therapists

                                                    Content to be updated soon.

What do the ELCAS teams do?

Our teams help when a young person is experiencing severe, complex and persistent mental health problems and mental health disorders. We focus on delivering measurable clinical outcomes.

There may be concerns such as:
  • Self-harm and suicide attempts
  • Moderate and severe depressive disorders
  • Adolescent Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Adolescent Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 11 years and over
  • Mental health Issues related to Autistic Spectrum disorders
  • Complex neuropsychiatric disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Phobias and Anxiety Disorders
  • Trauma and complex PTSD
  • Mental health issues associated with physical health problems.

Of course, having ADHD or being autistic or being anxious doesn’t mean someone has to come to ELCAS. Most people who need help are seen in other services. It is when these things are persistent, complex, and have a severe impact upon the young person’s daily living and ability to cope, that ELCAS becomes an option.  Mild to moderate problems can often be seen in community and if needing more input (but is not severe) then Clinical Child Psychology LCFT provides specialist input.

The specialist services for some concerns are not commissioned and provided by ELCAS but other teams and services e.g.

  • Psychosis (Aged 14 over – Early onset service LCFT)
  • ASD assessment (Under 11y Community Paediatrics ELHT and over 16 years Action for ASD)
  • ADHD Diagnosis and treatment (Under 12y) Community Paediatrics ELHT)
  • Substance Misuse (Addaction)

Record Keeping

At ELCAS we keep detailed records of the times we have seen you. Your records will have details such as:

  • Diagnosis
  • Care plans
  • Goals
  • Reports
  • Letters
  • Test results

How to access the service

Abou us.jpg

Our services are accessed via referrals from other health professionals. ​​​​​​

Service Lead

Jo Weller - Clinical Service Lead & Clinical Director

General enquiries

Telephone - 01282 804806 / 0800 1699994

Opening times

Office hours 9am - 5pm – {Clinics 8am - 7pm}

Social media

Follow us on social media; Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @elht_ELCAS

Understanding CAMHS - What is it?

The term CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) is used in different ways to mean both individual services and as an umbrella term for all services dealing with child mental health. This can cause confusion. Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) deliver services in line with a four-tier strategic framework which is used as the basis for planning, commissioning and delivering services.

CAMHS are organised around a four-tier system:

Tier 1 – non-mental health specialists working in general services providing general advice and treatment for less severe problems

Tier 2 - usually CAMHS specialists working in community and primary care. E.g. ELCAS primary care team, Clinical Child Psychology

Tier 3 - usually a multi-disciplinary team or service working in a community mental health clinic providing a specialised service for more severe disorders. Eg ELCAS specialist Teams, ELCAS IST

Tier 4 – highly specialist services for children and young people with serious problems. Eg Cove inpatient unit


Most children and young people with mental health problems will be seen at Tiers 1 and 2. However, it is important to bear in mind that neither services nor people fall neatly into tiers.  For example, many practitioners work in both Tier 2 and Tier 3 services.

Similarly, there is often a misconception that a child or young person will move up through the tiers as their condition is recognised as more complex. In reality, some children require services from a number (or even all) of the tiers at the same time.

It has been a long-term government plan that all children and young people, from birth to their eighteenth birthday, who have mental health problems and disorders, have access to timely, integrated, high quality, multidisciplinary mental health services to ensure effective assessment, treatment and support, for them and their families. Currently about 25% of young people with a disorder have access to such services. The immediate aim (By 2020) is for 35% of young people with disorders to have access to specialist care. This of course means that the majority will not have such access.

Future plans

In order to make best use of the limited resources there is a concerted effort to invest and change services to bring them up to the 35% access target. The Lancashire and Cumbria transformation plan is aiming to move to CAMHS services being commissioned and provided following a model called THRIVE. This aims to be in place by April 2020, with CAMHS going up to 18 years of age.


Frequently asked questions

Q. When I come to see someone, how long will the meeting last?

A. Appointments usually last 45 to 60 minutes.

Q. Do I have to be seen in the ELCAS department?

A. The first appointment is usually at ELCAS but we can make arrangements to see you somewhere else like at your school, at home, health centre or Children’s Centre. If there is space.

Q. Are the meetings confidential (private)?

A. Your visits to ELCAS are confidential and private to you and ELCAS, and we will always ask you first before speaking to anyone else. We record our clinical appointments on a secure electronic record system (IAPTUS).

We do sometimes need to talk about your worries with other people in our team, so they can help us to help you. We also need to let your doctor, and the person who referred you, know what we agreed at our first meeting.

If we are really worried about you and your safety, we may have to tell someone else outside our team, but will always try to speak with you first.

Q. Why do my parents have to know?

A. There are three reasons. Firstly, your parents are legally responsible for you until you are 16 years old, so we usually need their agreement to help you.

Secondly, your parents may benefit from ELCAS too by learning ways to help solve problems and support you better. 
Sometimes it is helpful to make changes outside of the home, such as at school, and parents need to know so they can help make sure these happen.

Q. Will my friends know that I am going to ELCAS?

A. Not unless you choose to tell them.

Q. Will I need to go into a hospital to stay?

A. This depends on what your problems are and what kinds of treatments we can offer. Nearly all the young people who use our service just attend for appointments with an ELCAS worker on a regular basis.

Q. Will I be able to see the information ELCAS has about me?

A. We try to be as open as possible and share as much information with you as we go along. If you want, you can apply to see your files. A care plan will be developed which will be shared with you. Just ask your ELCAS worker for anymore information.

Q. Are mental health problems common for young people?

A. Probably more common that you might think. Almost everyone experiences mental health problems at some stage – worry, sadness, fear, loneliness and grief, etc. Sometimes people need a bit of extra help to deal with these feelings and thoughts.

Q. Will I be listened to?

A. It is essential that we listen to you! ELCAS staff are specially trained to listen and help you work through your thoughts and feelings. We want to know what you have to say and to understand more about the difficulties you are experiencing.

Q. Am I different to other young people?

A. Everyone is different to each other but this is a good thing. It just might feel at the moment though, that no one seems to understand you or that you don’t feel as though you have anyone to talk to. Lots of the young people we see feel exactly the same way. Just because you feel this way at this time doesn’t mean that there is something different or unusual about you.

How do I get a copy of my health (medical) record?

Access to Health Records

You have to request this from the Access and Records Department. The team can be contacted by emailing AccessandRequests@elht.nhs.uk and will help you with the process. A copy of your health record can be provided free of charge.

Sometimes young people or their parent/carer are unhappy with a diagnosis or want to consider a different course of treatment. If this is happening firstly try speaking with the member of staff about this; they will be happy to go over anything you don’t understand. If you still don’t agree then you can ask for a second opinion.


HeadMeds is a unique website about mental health medication for young people created by YoungMinds. It has been developed by pharmacology experts and young people, and has been endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners and the College of Mental Health Pharmacy.

HeadMeds provides accessible, useful information about mental health medication during a time which is often confusing, frightening and isolating.

HeadsMeds provides information about potential side effects of medication and when a young person should go and get help.

Complete with real life stories and created with young people at its heart, HeadMeds provides much needed straight talk on mental health medication.

Youth offending service

Youth Offending Services are key to the success of the Youth Justice System.

These are known locally as Youth Offending Teams ( Lancashire ) or Youth Justice Service ( Blackburn with Darwen) They are made up of a range of staff from social, health, education, housing, police, probation, and drugs and alcohol misuse services. This multi-disciplinary team works together to find out the specific problems that make a young person offend and measure the risk that they pose to themselves and others. Based on these two factors, the service can create a suitable programme that aims to meet the young person’s needs and so reduce the chance of them further offending. The programme is as tailor-made as possible to each individual.

In ELCAS, each geographical team has a YOT (Youth Offending Team) worker who sees young people who are having mental health problems while they are supported by the local youth offending team. Together these professional are known as the Integrated Mental Health Team.

If staff members in YOT are concerned for a young person’s emotional and mental health, they refer the young person to this specialist Practitioner. The Practitioner will then meet the young person to see if they need support for mental health problems. The Practitioner can act as an advocate for young offenders deemed to have mental health problems. The Practitioner can also help lessen, where possible, the extent to which someone’s mental health problems contribute to their offending.

The Practitioner can support a young person on a one-to-one basis, or in partnership with other services in the area, and can give someone further therapeutic support if this is needed. In cases where it appears to be in the best interests of the young person, the Practitioner can refer them to staff working in ELCAS, who will then support the young person. Occasionally, and after discussion with the young person, carers and YOT worker, the Practitioner might make a referral to another service and then help make the transfer as smooth as possible.

National links and resources

link icon.jpg

Below are some links to national organisations useful for information, support and advice on mental health issues. We have read and recommended them and the links that they then provide, as they are written specifically for young people or young adults.

It's best to look through them and see what makes most sense and what is most helpful to you.

Young Minds

A leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. There are excellent sections on information and advice, with a comprehensive list of publications, websites & helplines.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists

The website has a specific section for young people with factsheets about mental health problems and a list of useful advice and links.



The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence publishes guidelines on high quality, evidence based care for patients using the National Health Service. Many of the difficulties young people we see in ELCAS are experiencing are covered in NICE guidance.



Confidential telephone counselling for any child or young person with a problem.

Freephone: 0800 1111 (24 hours)


Other resources and information on mental health issues


Local Links

ADHD Northwest - ADHD North West is committed to providing a free unique support service to empower and improve the wellbeing of individuals and families affected by an Attention Deficit Disorder and associated conditions.


Action for ASD

Action for ASD is a charitable body for people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Child Sexual Exploitation



Other useful sites



Healthy Young Minds

You can find a variety of advice, guidance and support related to children and young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing on the Healthy Young Minds website.