Dumfries & Galloway Health & Social Care

Understanding Mental Health in Care Experienced Children
for Professionals

What is Attachment?

  • Attachment is the relationship a child has with their parent or primary caregiver from the child’s perspective.
  • Children learn about themselves through the responses of their parent/caregiver.
  • Early experiences influence how a child understands themselves, other and the world – their core beliefs.
  • Attachment difficulties can occur when a child’s needs are not consistently met in a loving and emotionally responsive way. This can result in an insecure attachment style.

When to refer?

If a parent or carer is experiencing frequent challenges in parenting their child and difficulties with their behaviour that is impacting the child’s wellbeing and ability to engage with school, peers and home activities despite a settled home life then a referral may be appropriate.

What should I tell the family?

Discuss with the family what CAMHS can offer parent/carers and young people in the context of their difficult early life experiences. Often very early negative experiences of trauma or loss are not seen as influencing a child’s current difficulties. 

Opening with a general conversation around the impact of early experiences on child development can be helpful for carers to understand what the team do and why the work offered may be directed to the carers in the first instance.

What resources do I suggest:

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