Anxiety disorders stop young people living the happy lives they deserve and referrals continue to rise.


You may have seen the news about a large increase in referrals to Alder Hey and CAMHS featured recently on BBC News. Most of us experience varying levels of anxiety as adults or young people when worries, concerns or fears affect what we feel able to do. When these worries, intrusive thoughts and connected behaviours become too big they can severely impact our quality of life. When anxiety symptoms affect us in this way, they are often referred to as anxiety disorders and could include:

Generalised anxiety disorder – this could be excessive, debilitating worry about anything, big or small, severely impacting our ability to do the things we would like to do.

Social anxiety disorder or social phobia – fear or worry about negative outcomes in social situations, this could include being in busy areas or even seeing our school friends.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – unwelcome obsessive thoughts or activities that the we don’t want to do but feel compelled to carry out or repeat to manage our anxiety trigger. This can severely impact our daily life and routines.

Panic disorders – anxiety and worry can escalate and result in panic attacks, where we may perceive threat or misinterpret our anxiety symptoms as anticipation of something catastrophic.

At Alder Hey our CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) team supports children and young people who are experiencing anxiety symptoms to start to feel better and work towards goals improving their quality of life. For many children and young people with anxiety disorders their mental health condition can have a negative impact on daily life. Missing school, becoming isolated from their friends and effects on their relationships with family can stop them from living the happy, fulfilling childhood they deserve. Anxiety can also negatively impact children and young people’s sleep patterns, appetite, concentration and general health and wellbeing. Early intervention remains key to helping young people.

COVID-19 lockdowns have resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of children and young people referred to Alder Hey for support with their mental health, including anxiety disorders. Adjusting to being back in school or returning to social settings and group activities are just some of the difficulties faced by children following the long period of isolation. Our team supports children and young people struggling with their mental health 24 hours a day. They help to support children and their families to work through the challenges they encounter through face to face, video and telephone appointments, as well as working with partnership organisations across the community.

You can self refer on this link if you are in the Sefton and Liverpool CAMHS region, or find out more information here . Alternatively call the CAMHS Crisis team - 0151 293 3577 & 0808 196 3550 or text GREEN to 85258 for immediate support.

By supporting our mental health appeal, you are helping us to enhance the facilities available for children and young people who need our support. 7 in 10 children who are struggling with their mental health do not access the support they need early enough. We want to change that, and you can stand with us to help today.


Read our patient stories:

Read Lydia's Story - in her own words

Read Adam's Story - in his own words



7 in 10 children do not access the support they need early enough. We know that by developing the facilities and services needed, Alder Hey can change the future of children’s mental health. We can provide the listening ear that is urgently needed in child-friendly surroundings where we can hold these conversations. Together we can help to build a brighter future for children and young people. Read more about our 7in10 Appeal here.