Feeling safe and comfortable internally and externally: that’s what this theme is all about. This is a main purpose of CAMHS wards, to create an environment that reduces anxiety and enables young people to feel emotionally and physically secure, especially when in crisis. Wards can manage a balance between the setting being homely, and the need to carefully keep an eye on everyone and run daily activities. Staff can help the ward community feel safe enough to take part in their healing journey, and they do so by expressing and being a good example of respect and acceptance.
A safe ward provides supportive and containing boundaries, together with opportunities for young people to try out new ways of coping on their own. 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. Structure helps create safety. When there is a structure to the day, through staff and young people thoughtfully organising space and time for example, young people are able to focus on building more positive ways of coping. When you respect a young person’s right to privacy, you build trust and foster an environment where they can feel held in safe hands.