CHRIS (Crisis, Help and Risk Intervention Service)

Find out what types of mental health interventions the CHRIS team offers and how a child/young person can be referred to this service.

This webpage has been co-developed by the young people participant panel from NSFT.

Please note: CHRIS is a crisis specialist service and requires a referral from a practitioner.

What services does CHRIS provide?Art of a mountain scene

CHRIS is a mental health support service, which offers short-term support to Children and Young People (CYP) under 18 and their families who are high risk of going into crisis without support.

We work with young people under two pathways, direct and consultation pathway.

For the direct pathway, we work with child and young people, and at times their family, for up to 6 weeks. We will complete an assessment with the young person, and from this a plan will be created for support. Please refer to FAQs for further details of what this work will look like.Art from the Crisis, Help and Risk Intervention Service

Under the consultation pathway we will work with the existing professionals involved with the young person to better understand what isn’t working and what might help to make this better.

The views of the young person will always be at the centre of this meeting and included in the discussion.

The young people and their family will always be made aware of this meeting and the recommendations will be shared and agreed by the family, following the meeting.

Whilst we understand what defines a crisis will be personal and individual to the person experiencing this, the definition of crisis for our service is when a young person cannot cope/manage anymore, and they do not feel safe within themselves.

Referral criteriaYoung boy walking on a rocky road

CHRIS supports children and young people who experience the following:

  • Distress beyond their level of coping related to a mental health need
  • Concerns around a young person safety towards themselves or others
  • Young person who would benefit from a short term focussed intervention to bring them back from their level of distress, alongside current support being provided by professionals
  • In which a young person may need an individual approach to engagement. For example to be seen in their home.

To access the service the child/young person must have an allocated key worker from core Suffolk County Council and/or NSFT teams. Please refer to the FAQs for what constitutes as a key worker.

CHRIS supports children and young people aged up to 18 years old, registered with a GP within East and West Suffolk and residing in Suffolk.

The team

The team is formed of clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, family therapists, social workers, outreach workers and business support officers.

How we workArt of the CHRIS team dropping resources by helicopter

CHRIS’ hours are Monday – Friday, 8am – 8pm; and 9am – 1pm on weekends and bank holidays.

There are duty workers available from 8am - 1pm and 3pm – 8pm on weekdays, and from 9am -1pm on weekends.

These hours are for children/young people and families who already work with the service under a direct pathway, to be able to seek advice if their CHRIS allocated worker is not available.

Children/young people and their carers will be contacted within 7 days from referral at the latest.

People who are concerned about their mental health and need immediate help for their safety can contact the First Response Service at any time by calling 111 and choosing option 2.

How to make a referralArt of the CHRIS team handing out resources to people

All practitioner referrals will be made by email, on a referral form, to ensure the relevant information is known to CHRIS.

Referrals will be accepted within the duty hours and will be screened initially by the CHRIS duty worker.

We will contact the parent or carer to inform them that we have received a referral and give advice around safety based on the information we have received thus far.

All referrals are discussed at the Multi-Disciplinary Team (twice weekly). The outcome of the discussion will be communicated to children/young people and families, and the referring practitioner, within 2 operational days.


Useful links

CHRIS only accepts referrals from existing practitioners working with the child/young person who work in core Suffolk County Council and NSFT (Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust) teams.

This can also include NSFT services that have had contact with CYP (children and young people) in crisis, such as First Response, Crisis Home Treatment team, and Psychiatric liaison team in A&E.

CHRIS are not able to assess children/young people and families at the point of crisis presentation (e.g. when they first arrive in A&E). Our work is focussed on preventing crisis.

Children, young people and families living in Lowestoft and Waveney.

Where the needs of children, young people and their families are better supported through other intensive support services. This can be services such as Forensic CAMHS, intensive support team in Suffolk (Learning Disabilities & Autism Services - NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group).

Where the needs of the child/young person may better suit longer-term therapeutic support. For example family therapy work or psychotherapy.

We recognise that for many young people that these struggles, and feelings are just the tip of the iceberg of what they may be experiencing underneath.

We will continuously seek young people’s views as we believe this is key to better understand their situation and for progress to be made.

CHRIS will work together with other teams and services that exist at Suffolk County Council (SCC) or in the NHS.

It is hard to specify an exact time frame, but we are a short-term intervention team providing, safety planning advice, support, and intervention. CHRIS normally works with a family for up to six weeks, with our focus being upon risk assessment, understanding and support to prevent a crisis in occurring. We will also explore what longer term services may be helpful.

CHRIS sits within the THRIVE model.  The THRIVE model is developed by the Anna Freud Centre, provides a framework for developing ‘joined up’ multi-agency approaches to meet the needs of children, young people and their families. Within the THRIVE model, CHRIS sits within the ‘getting risk support’ quadrant; and forms part of the crisis response pathway for Child and young people in Suffolk.

A brief introduction to the THRIVE model can be viewed here:

Please refer to our referral criteria. The referring agency will let the family know they are making a referral to the CHRIS team. You will then receive a call from our duty worker explaining the referral has been received and will be discussed within a multi-disciplinary meeting (MDT), which falls on Tuesdays or Thursdays. The outcome of the MDT will then be shared with you the latest the following day.

If your young person is experiencing repeated high levels of emotional distress, you can speak to their key worker regarding making a referral.

A key worker can be but is not limited to your child’s social worker, early help practitioner or care coordinator from the community adolescent mental health team, youth offending worker or school nurse.

If the referral is accepted under a direct pathway, we will make contact within 24 hours of the multi-disciplinary meeting. Your CHRIS worker will meet with you and the young person, to put an immediate plan to help make things feel safer. We will continue to review this safety plan with the young person on each visit. This will be in consultation with the young person, carers and other important people in their lives.

From this we will create formulation and a care plan. Formulations is a way of making sense of what has gone on/is going on and can help people to understand how and why they might have come to feel the way they do.

For example we will look at what triggered things, what things are keeping the crisis going and what is helping the young person to manage this now or has helped in the past.

This helps with planning what needs to happen next, to start tackling the situation and to begin to help young people to feel or cope differently.

We typically allocate two workers and visit frequency will be determined once we get to know the young person. We will see a young person at least once a week.

Yes, if this is felt useful for you and your family and is linked to risk stabilisation. This will be discussed in consultation with the family and will be agreed in Multi-Disciplinary Meeting.

Feedback on your experience with the CHRIS can be submitted on Compliments and complaints | Suffolk County Council.