Alder Hey Children's Charity launches £3m Children's Mental Health Appeal
BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing head judge Shirley Ballas is leading a major fundraising drive that will transform the way mental health services are delivered to children and young people.
Highlighting that 7 out of 10 children and young people who experience a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age*, Shirley is backing Alder Hey Children’s Charity’s ‘7 in 10 Children’s Mental Health Appeal’. The Appeal is aiming to raise vital funds to enhance inpatient and Community mental health services at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, enabling more children to access treatment at the time they need it.
Long term supporter of Alder Hey Children’s Charity, Shirley Ballas was keen to back the campaign and become the Appeal Ambassador: “Alder Hey means so much to me; it’s a world class place and the work they do there is inspiring and pioneering. To be asked to be part of the new £3m ‘7 in 10 Children’s Mental Health Appeal’ is an honour.”
“I know from my own personal experience how important this work is. There is a very real need for children to have access to appropriate care and treatment as soon as possible. This Appeal is a chance for everyone to help shape the future of mental healthcare for children and young people across the whole country.”
As part of wider plans to create a unique dedicated children’s and young people’s healthcare campus, Alder Hey is set to soon begin building a new ‘Clinical Hub’ which will include new mental health outpatient facilities and a brand new twelve bed specialist inpatient mental health Unit, alongside other cross dependent community health services.
Located right next door to its state-of-the art specialist hospital and within a modern, child-friendly building, the enhanced provision of mental health services will increase current available inpatient bed capacity and enable more children and young people to be seen and treated quickly by experienced, specialist clinicians.
Patients and their families will be able to receive rapid and early access to co-ordinated multi-disciplinary care, benefitting from the most up to date assessment and diagnosis facilities. The Hub will also enable Alder Hey’s community services to link more closely with its specialist hospital services, enhancing care for children with long term conditions such as neurology, cardiology and infectious diseases.
Closer shared working across teams will also enable more responsive, coordinated health assessments for Alder Hey’s most vulnerable children and their families.
The ‘7in10 Children’s Mental Health Appeal’ is aiming to raise £3m to ensure that the building itself is designed to the highest standards, creating the best possible child friendly environment for our young patients.
To kick off the campaign, family retailer Matalan has announced that £500,000 will be donated immediately, following the successful ‘Together For Alder Hey PJs Campaign’ in 2019. Matalan’s highly anticipated 2020 annual pyjama campaign for Alder Hey due to be revealed in September will also raise much needed funds for the Appeal.
Matalan CEO Jason Hargreaves said: “I am immensely proud that Matalan are able to support Alder Hey Children’s Charity and the invaluable work they do. Having worked with the charity for over six years and raising over £3.2 million, I have been lucky to meet some of the families who have received vital care from Alder Hey and it fills me with great pride that we can and will continue to support. I’m thrilled to be part of the ‘7 in 10’ appeal and that we are able to kick it off with a £500,000 donation from our #TogetherForAlderHey campaign. I am excited for what’s to come, and looking forward to raising even more money with our 2020 campaign and over the years to come.”
Alder Hey’s new mental health facilities have been designed with the help of past and present service users who have had their say on how services should be delivered and what the new building should look like. The Group will also be involved in naming the building once it’s completed.
19 year old Lydia is one of the young people who has used Alder Hey’s Mental Health Services and is supporting the launch of the campaign said: “ My journey began when I was 15. I had been struggling for a long time - I knew I needed help but was so scared and feared how those around me would react. Telling my parents was the hardest thing of all. Admitting that I was unwell and couldn’t help myself was scary. I was quickly assessed here at Alder Hey and have since had regular weekly appointments. I’m extremely grateful to all the staff at Alder Hey who have supported me in my darkest times. I have learnt to live and accept that my illness will always be with me; but I have been able to find ways to cope and can now look forward to the future - something that was not possible only a year ago. I joined the ‘Fresh CAMHS participation group’. This has enabled me to use my own experiences of the service to have a voice in how the service can be improved and help many other children and young people. We recently created a ‘smashing stigma’ animation video, as well as working on the plans for the new building! I love meeting with other young people to help improve the service and feel part of the Alder Hey community. I’m also a member of the Alder Hey Youth Forum - and have been able to represent the hospital at conferences. I cannot believe how many exciting things I have been a part of - all of which have come out of a not very good situation. I have so much to thank Alder Hey for - I can’t wait to start my training to become a children’s nurse; something that wouldn’t have been possible without all of Alder Hey’s support”
Fiona Ashcroft, Chief Executive of Alder Hey Children’s Charity said: “We believe that no child or young person should ever go without help and the ‘7 in 10 Children’s Mental Health Appeal’ will greatly enhance the delivery of mental healthcare and the number of children and young people diagnosed and treated by the service. The money raised will help us create treatment facilities that our most vulnerable patients need and deserve.”
As one of the leading children’s hospitals in the country, Alder Hey offers specialist services to support children and young people up to the age of 18 who are experiencing mental health difficulties including: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-harm, emotional and behavioural difficulties, obsessive and compulsive behaviour and post traumatic stress disorder. The Trust also has one of only six paediatric inpatient mental health treatment centres across England, providing residential care and support to young people aged 5 to 13 years old who present with the most complex and enduring mental health conditions that cannot be safely managed at home. Many of these children have to travel hundreds of miles from across the country and some stay in the Unit for several months.
If you would like to make a donation to our Appeal click here.
*Mental Health Foundation