I'm wondering if anyone has had any experience of Healios. If so, what impact has it had?
My 15 year old has been under CAMHS for the last six months and has been diagnosed with depression, PTSD and anxiety. He was diagnosed with high functioning autism when he was 6.
He's been through the group therapy under CAHMS and he's now going to be referred to something called Healios. I'd never heard of it before. It's basically 121 counciliing through the app on a facetime/Skype basis. It looks really good and for my son it sounds like it would work really well but it sounds too good to be true. Does anyone know anything or had experience with this?
Many thanks x
We have just received exactly the same letter and information.
Initial thoughts were "Yes, this may be the correct route for our son" - though it did seem to me a bit too good to be true.I asked the school SEN and Headteacher who had no knowledge of Healios and went off to google it.
The Autism Care Team (ACT) come in to school on a regular basis to help other children with a diagnosis - we have been lucky enough to speak to her and also provide some (amazing) assistance to us, school and our son to understanding Autism/PDA.
Even She hadn't heard of Healios.
My main concern is how can they make a diagnosis via Skype/Video call - given our Son has suspected PDA, and is an award winning actor when it comes to masking his true feelings.
To see un-masked version, he has to feel very safe, secure and familiar.
I feel, the Skype/Video assessment will only show him masking and putting on a brave face.
I have emailed Healios to try and gather some further information on Diagnosis - and received a very "sniffy" reply asking why I want to know this and quoting that they use Diagnostic Manuals used by CAHMS.
There is also no mention of PDA either.
So as it stands - I don't want to gamble; as if we take the online assessment route, I feel, we will be removed from the CAHMS waiting list (this is the whole idea of the scheme) - and we will have to start again.
We've been on the list 2 years already (which isn't as long as some other people).
I have read a few scare stories where - Parents have taken the online route and not been happy with the result - and left with nothing - and having to start again with CAHMS.
Going to try calling Healios to see if they can provide any further information before we make a decision.
Yes, I had the same trouble. No one had heard of it. After this message, we decided to go ahead with Healios and my son finished a 10 week course in November last year. I can only go from our own experience, but it was so good for my son. However, this is just our view and he was referred for depression and anxiety. I have no experience on PDA or diagnosis, but I can tell you about our experience and hopefully this could help? I hope so.
He was referred after CAMHS tried to discharge him as they stated his depression was due to autism (trying to refer us to MIND). This was following a difficult year for him where he was hospitalised twice. To cut a long story short, he then took an overdose and ended up back in hospital. He felt like no one was listening to him. At this point CAMHS offered Healios. 10 weeks of hourly CBT therapy and then CAMHS would assess the results at the end. The therapist writes a report and it is referred back to CAMHS for review. I don’t think your son would be discharged to take the therapy, at least that wasn’t what happened with us.
I had my reservations but at this point I was desperate for help for him, and he wanted help, so he agreed to sign up to it. It took about 12 weeks from when we said yes. To start you get log on details (myself and my son) and we both had to fill in a few questionnaires before we started. They then match you up with a therapist that best matches your needs. You log at the appointment time. My son generally was in his room (this is where he felt most comfortable) I was downstairs, and the therapist logs on and you can see all 3 screens. I have to say our experience was really good. They work for the NHS and have a PHD in psychology. They report directly back to CAMHS. He completely “got” him. In fact, my son said it feels like he’s in my head. There were times when my lad didn’t want me in on the conversation, so I left until asked back. Everything is recorded and you can review each session after. I can still access mine now.
He’s learned coping strategies by completing this. The therapist spent about 5 of the weeks unpicking what was wrong so didn’t follow the plan as it was set but that was OK because he identified things and wrote a review back to CAHMS. He was brilliant.
After it finished, my son was asked in for a psychiatrist assessment 3 weeks ago. He has been diagnosed with severe anxiety, ASD which we knew and also query- emerging personality disorder. This cannot be diagnosed under 18 and she stated that although there are some signs there, they may be heightened due to his extreme anxiety it's just a 'query' at this stage. He’s also got a stomach ulcer through the stress of it all. He has been prescribed anti-depressants now to help with his anxiety.
It’s still early days its been 3 weeks since he started taking them and he has started to say in the last couple of days that he doesn’t feel so anxious. He has been advised he will be under CAMHS for the foreseeable future and they are arranging DBT type therapy for him. This is all a bit of a shock the new diagnosis or potential diagnosis that I am still trying to get my head around it.
The most important thing is my son is happier and more stable now. He only has fleeting suicidal thoughts and he’s much more relaxed with himself because he knows now what is wrong.
I am sorry for the long post, I know how confusing it all is, so I hope I have helped you in a small way.
I hope it works out for you x
Firstly, sorry it's taken time for me to reply!
Secondly, a huge thank you to posting your experience with Helios and explaining the process.I am glad your son has got the assistance he needs and is much happier. That is great news :-)
We are still undeicided on what to do, but was contacted by a local Autism/PDA parents group - who held a Q&A meeting with Helios last week, we have been invited to attend a seminar the (group) are running for parents to explain Helios and answer any questions.
We are going to this on Tuesday and I will report back my findings here.
Once again - a huge thank you for your replay!
Hi there, no worries
It's good that you're getting all the information before deciding. I had a quick peek after your message and didn't see anything on the Healios website regarding PDA, but it sounds like they must address it if they are running Q/A meetings.
I hope everything works out and yes please I'd love to know how you got on.
Good luck and thank you :) x
Sorry this has taken a long time to respond.
We decided to stick with CAHMS and not go on to the Helios route.
Suprisingly, during the lockdown - CAHMS contacted us to inform us that our son was now at the top of their assessment list; and wanted to arrange the assessments and do them over the phone - which consisted of two phone calls; one to catch up and update their notes taken on our first meeting back in 2018.
The second call lasted about 2 hours with a clinician and covered (literally) everything, from birth to more recently.
We were told at the conclusion of the second call, that as soon as there is some kind of "normality"; it's a case of our son attending a 1-1 assessment; and then that is all that is required before a diagnoses is made - all this (we were told) should be done before Christmas.
So, some progress at last with CHAMS.
Hello! We haven't had counselling via Healios, but they did DD's diagnosis earlier this year and I really can't fault them! The clinicians were great, the fact that we had the appointments from home was really helpful for DD (I was worried she wouldn't be 'auty' enough, but needn't have!) and the timescales were fantastic.
Whether counselling works this way will really depend on the child and how they cope with skype/zoom etc. It's become evident through lockdown that mine really does not like this as a means of communication!
However, as a service, Healios are great in my opinion.
Hope it helps x
Thanks for your response. I am glad that you and your daughter are getting the support - that is good news.Indeed, the use of Social Media/Zoom/Skype as a means of communication has been more than useful to many - for but for our Son - as well as your Daughter - they both struggle with it.
Hopefully, we should be hearing from CAHMS for their 1-1 meeting soon; I am hoping it's before 2021 as our Son will be starting Comp - so he needs to prepare for that.