The site’s overall objective is to support ward staff in enabling young people to really make the most of this time away from their usual lives. However tough having to go into hospital may be, being an inpatient offers an opportunity for young people to attain new skills and achievements, to build up their muscles of resilience, discover hope, to feel validated and safe, be heard and involved, do something enjoyable and constructive, express themselves, make new friends, and move forward in their own developmental and recovery journey.
We hope that National Voices members whose work involves young people, and therefore necessarily their emotional well-being, will find ideas, information and resources of interest in CAMHeleon.
The ‘COLOURFUL themes’, around which CAMHeleon is structured, aim to help CAMHS teams to create a masterpiece of inpatient care from the wide-ranging compendium of inspiration provided:
While on a CAMHS ward, young patients need staff who will listen, notice, encourage and be able to boost good feelings, through a caring and genuine connection. Warm, one-to-one support is the most significant element in improving young people’s inpatient experience, and is an essential ingredient in any effective intervention.
Opportunity and expression
Through sensitive work, the ward team, always working at the young person’s pace, forms a relationship where young people can express themselves, begin to explore their experience, and gradually work through their difficulties.
Leisure and therapeutic activity
Wards can manage a balance between the setting being homely and the need to carefully keep an eye on everyone and run enjoyable and therapeutic daily activities.
On and off the ward
Staff can help the ward community feel safe enough to engage in and own their healing journey, and they do so by being a good example of respect and acceptance. While on the ward, young people can also be helped to retain and build on their community ties, including school or college and wherever possible their academic work.
Young people flourish when they feel truly connected and understood, and it’s within their emotional connections that they gain a deeper sense of themselves and develop healthy means for relating.
Relational and physical safety
Containment is the soothing space the ward community creates, conveying a foundation of safety to help young people move more comfortably through their recovery journey and move forward emotionally, socially and educationally.
Family and friends
Young people experience mental health problems within a family (or similar) setting. When the young person is in hospital there is a need to keep contact with family and friends.
Unique recovery journeys
From the start of a young person’s admission, staff aim to gain understanding around their current emotional world, which leads on to the individual tailoring of treatments and interventions.
Learning and growth
A supportive CAMHS ward stay is a good opportunity for young people to rehearse new coping skills, learn new healthier patterns of behaviour and develop stronger relationships.
Find out more about CAMHeleon, and promising work that other charities and community groups are doing, in our WOW Community.