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John Hunter Hospital School

John Hunter Hospital School

School, Family, Community

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Strong Partnerships

Strong Partnerships in Adolescent Mental Health

School-Link, CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) and Nexus Education create a triangle of care around our most vulnerable young people. These three key services work collaboratively with the multidisciplinary team within Nexus to improve the outcomes of those who require support while on the ward and to transition into the community after admission.


Hunter New England Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is a family inclusive service providing assessment and treatment for young people experiencing significant difficulties in their day-to-day life due to their mental health.

CAMHS accepts referrals for people with more severe mental health presentations. Young people experiencing moderate or mild symptoms should initially seek treatment with a primary health service, such as a GP, private psychologist or Headspace.

Referring to CAMHS

CAMHS Community teams are located in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and Hunter Valley. Wiyiliin Ta, the CAMHS Aboriginal Team, is located in Newcastle. Referrals to CAMHS are made through the Mental Health Line (MHL). Young people and families can self refer by calling 1800 011 511. School Counsellors can refer students via email using the School Counsellor CAMHS Referral Form.

Mental Health Line (MHL)

MHL clinicians speak directly with young people and /or their parents depending on the client's age. The MHL determines if there is a likely mental illness and if the severity or complexity of the problem meets CAMHS criteria. If so, the MHL hand-over to the local CAMHS team for an assessment. The local team offer the young person and their family an assessment appointment. Following the assessment, next actions will be recommended. These may include ongoing involvement with CAMHS or recommendations for engagement with other services. 

CAMHS School-Link

CAMHS School-Link is a non-clinical service delivered as a partnership between NSW Health and NSW Education. School-Link works closely with Department of Education Network Specialist Facilitators, Leader of Psychology Practice (LPP), Senior Psychologists Education (SPE), School Counsellors, School Psychologists and other specialist wellbeing staff. The School Counsellor CAMHS Referral Form, and the 'School to CAMHS Consultation Liaison Team (JHH ED) Handover and Guidelines on Imminent Risk of Harm' are available from School-Link by contacting

CAMHS Assessment

CAMHS can provide assessment and treatment for young people experiencing significant difficulties in their day-to-day life due to mental health concerns. These difficulties can include:

  • Self-harming behaviours with risk of significant harm, suicidal ideation, or attempts 
  • Threats or behaviours with high risk of harm to others and/or property 
  • Severe eating disorders with compromised physical and psychological wellbeing 
  • Severe mental illness such as psychosis or severe mood disorder 
  • Significant behaviour changes or functioning impairment related to anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorder that has resolved following interventions at a primary or secondary health care level.

The Mental Health Line can help you work out if CAMHS or another service is best fit for the young person.

CAMHS Consultation Liaison Team (CAMHS CL)

The CAMHS Consultation Liaison (CL) Team is a specialist CAMHS service based at John Hunter Children's Hospital. Part of the CL Team role is to provide mental health assessments to patients aged 17 years or younger presenting at the Emergency Department. The CAMHS Consultation Liaison Team (JHH ED) Handover Form allows schools to share information directly with the CL Team. Using the form assists the CL Team with their assessment by providing critical information regarding the school’s observations of the student’s mental health and complexity of needs. It should be completed when sending a student by private transport or ambulance to the John Hunter Children's Hospital for a mental health assessment. Ideally, the form should be completed and emailed to the CL Team as soon as possible after the student has left the school  and is on their way to ED. A copy of the CL Handover Form is available from your SPE, Networked Specialist Facilitator, or from CAMHS School-Link. Following assessment, the young person may be discharged home with recommendations for community care, or less frequently, an inpatient admission may be recommended. 

What Can I Do?

When facilitating access to mental health care, Schools and School Counsellors can:

  • recommend the young person see their GP for mental health support. This is a crucial general starting point unless an emergency. A GP can raise a Mental Health Care Plan to allow a young person to access the Medicare benefit for Psychological support, and is vital in the ongoing coordination of mental health care. 
  • contact those services that the student is already  connected with and request an urgent appointment (including CAMHS, Headspace and private psychology services). 
  • suggest specialised services, such as Victims of Crime, where appropriate.
  • provide the Mental Health Line number for people experiencing high risk who are not already connected with services and would like to self-refer to CAMHS 
  • refer to CAMHS using the School Counsellor CAMHS Referral Form. Before referring to CAMHS, School Counsellors should endeavour to liaise with any other service providers, such as private psychologists, involved in providing mental health care for the young person. School Counsellors can follow up on the outcome of their referral by email. 
  • recommend a presentation to the nearest hospital Emergency Department for those young people at imminent risk of harm. Schools should complete the School to CAMHS Consultation Liaison Team (JHH ED) Handover Form if they advise a student to present to the John Hunter Children's Hospital ED. 


School-Link is a state-wide initiative funded by the NSW Ministry of Health working in partnership with the Department of Education and other services. School-Link Coordinators are located in most Local Health Districts across the state. Hunter New England School-Link is a service within the Hunter New England Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (HNE CAMHS).

Three School-Link Coordinators deliver the HNE CAMHS School-Link service in an area extending from lower Lake Macquarie in the south, to the Queensland border in the north, to Pilliga in the West. The HNE CAMHS School-Link Coordinators provide consultation to CAMHS clinicians, Education staff and external services.

School-Link coordinators work to bring everyone together to collaborate with the care of young people, to address shared areas of concern, and to establish working partnerships between services and organisations. They also provide professional development opportunities or work directly with staff in Health and Education to build capacity to support the mental health needs of young people.

The following clips provide some interesting and important information from our School- Link partners.

Medical Clearance for Risk

Considering Culture 

Practical Strategies for Supporting Students

Nexus Education