Tag Archive: opportunity

Opportunity and Expression Are Vital for Young People

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By Allie Carr, Modern Matron, St Andrew’s Adolescent Pathway Northampton

It’s exciting times here at St Andrew’s as we are nearing the completion of our new building, FitzRoy House! This is a unit which is specifically designed for young people. And the best bit is, a lot of it was designed by young people!

As we know within the world of CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services), opportunity and expression are vital for young people, and one of the things which have enabled this new build to be so fantastic is the relationship between staff and young people in creating the designs, the art work and allowing young people to be involved at all stages.

FitzRoy House holds 11 wards, a therapy and education suite, two gyms, an activity hall, a multi-faith room, therapy kitchens, visiting areas, meeting rooms, a café – you name it, we probably have it! We’ve involved our young people at every step of the process – helping to design the layout of the new building, naming the wards and making sure that the environment is as peaceful and welcoming as possible.

By asking young people how different colours made them feel, how they affect mood and can define different types of indoor space, an overall concept was developed to reflect nature throughout the building. Themes were developed by appointed artist, Eric Klein Velderman from Cantoo Design, within hands-on art sessions involving the young people.

As a result, the ground floor of FitzRoy House now reflects an ‘earth’ theme, with the first floor designed to represent the sky.

Young people also directed how the 11 wards are named, choosing emotive words from the British countryside. The wards are: Brook, Fern, Berry, Acorn, Bracken, Maple, Willow, Oak, Sycamore, Marsh and Meadow. Each will reflect its theme through artwork on display. A competition was held amongst the young people, to name the café, the winning entry was ‘The Branch Out Café’.

The director of P+HS Architects who designed the build said: “One of the things that makes this scheme so special is that the ideas and creativity have come from the young people at St Andrews. This is even more important because FitzRoy House will be their home as they progress along their path to recovery.”

As you can see in the photo’s, our young people had some very creative sessions with the resident artist, designing different artwork for the building, they had great fun and really showed their creative side! These designs will be reflected around the building in different guises including on the walls, in bathrooms, as decals on the windows and on canvass for everyone to enjoy in years to come. One young person said: ‘It’s been fun doing this, it’s really nice to think that everything we are doing now is going to influence how people feel in the future, that we have the ability to express ourselves and tell the people who are building FitzRoy how things will work, what we like and don’t like and what will help us and other young people with our recovery.’

 

Read more about opportunity and expression in CAMHS here

 

 

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Identify and name strengths

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It is important that any service helps young people to identify and name their strengths, giving them an opportunity to talk about how they have done things differently, or how they coped with situations that were complex. This can increase their confidence in talking to people around them. From: theguardian.com

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Tensions between friends and friendship groups are a key feature of young people’s lives. These are expected and accepted. It’s a learning opportunity.

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All families are invited to attend a weekly Parents’ Drop-in Group on Monday mornings. Coffee, tea and biscuits are provided and there is the opportunity to talk together with other parents.

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Within the programme, breaks are seen as therapeutic opportunities. They allow young people to take a break from cognitive effort, they provide an opportunity for exercise, fresh air and fun, and they offer an opportunity to develop negotiation and relationship-building skills.

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Clear information about sources of help, and mental health problems is needed for young people and families to give them more opportunity to help themselves. (See YoungMinds’ Where Next)

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During their stay, the young people have the opportunity to learn adaptive skills which can prevent re-admission.

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The daily community meetings provide an opportunity for the young people to review their activities and “check in”. The practical and emotional stuff is attended to. Everyone is given the chance to say something within the boundaries held by staff. The meeting is really important because it can air and sort out tensions before they blow up. It’s not just nursing staff who attend – other parts of the MDT are represented. But we are always mindful about not outnumbering the young people!

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… the need for physical activity, for example [a punch bag]. Following on from the likelihood that there will be times on the unit when stress levels are high, the opportunity for young people to release anger and frustration in a constructive way seems useful. (From YoungMinds’ Where Next 2)

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Life Skills Group

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“The Life Skills group is run by two staff members. It is an opportunity to think about and explore issues affecting everyday life including topical issues. Some of the subjects that might be explored include bullying, self-esteem, growing up issues, environmental issues, safety and practical day-to-day tasks. The group can also concentrate on topics that the children, parents and team think would be helpful at the time. The children set the expectations of the group, for example: not sharing the information outside the group, respecting each other and listening to what each other has to say. Staff try to make the group fun and interesting, although it can be a tough group when thinking about difficult feelings and experiences.”

Source: gosh.nhs.uk – read more here

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