We provide child and adolescent psychiatric wards with the 'little things' that can help brighten the school holidays.
What we do
Child and adolescent psychiatric hospitals provide care for children and young people under 18 who need treatment for their mental health. For some young people, their mental health crisis is so serious that it cannot be managed at home and needs treatment in hospital.
Hospital admissions may be for days, weeks or months and treatment can range from medication to art therapy, psychology to mindfulness. Sometimes, children and young people are detained under the Mental Health Act to keep them safe while they receive treatment. This is often referred to as 'being sectioned'. For young people under 18 a dedicated education service on the wards themselves helps them keep up with their school work.
For many, a stay in psychiatric hospital can be a difficult time.
Deck the Wards provides child and adolescent psychiatric wards with the 'little things' that can help make a difficult time easier. We hope that these things can help make hospital feel a bit less like hospital, and provide some of the comforts we often take for granted at home.
Why we do it
Spending time in hospital as a child or young person can be extremely challenging, scary and lonely. The hospital environment may be unfamiliar, and you may not understand what’s happening to you or why.
Sometimes young people have to travel to hospitals in a different part of the country to receive treatment, if a hospital bed isn't available closer to home. This can make contact with friends and family challenging, and being away from home during a mental health crisis can be very distressing.
This can be even harder during the school holidays, when education programmes stop and children and young people would usually be enjoying their free time with friends and loved ones or celebrating festive holidays like Christmas. Children and young people may spend a considerable amount of the school holidays on the ward and some will not be well enough to have any 'leave' (time away from the hospital) at all during these times. This can make the school holidays a time of boredom, frustration and loneliness.
This is why we set up Deck the Wards.
How we help
We provide boxes of home comforts, small luxuries and distracting items to child and adolescent psychiatric wards across England.
We ask the young people staying on the wards to write a list of things that will bring the ward together for fun, comfort and distraction during the Easter, Summer and Christmas school holidays. This can be books, games, DVDs, treats, luxury toiletries or seasonal decorations (depending on the time of year). We then buy the things on the list, package them up and ship them off.
When you're scared, bored or lonely it's the 'little things' that can make a big difference.
WHy PSYCHIATRIC UNITS?
There are already generous people and charities out there who are dedicated to providing toys and games to young people in hospital with physical health conditions throughout the year and during the holidays. As far as we’re aware, there is not really provision like this for children and young people in psychiatric inpatient care and our worry is that these children and young people are frequently overlooked.
Which psychiatric units?
To date, we have worked with units across London, Manchester, Sheffield and Chester. As we expand we hope to be able to reach more.
What do you mean by ‘home comforts, small luxuries and distracting items’?
We ask the children and young people on each ward to tell us what sort of things would make the holidays easier. This helps us to make sure that the items we provide are what they truly want.
Each box is unique, but common favourites include books, games, seasonal decorations, treats, luxury toiletries, arts and craft supplies and so on. You can read more about our boxes here.
We also work closely with the wards to make sure that the items we buy are safe and appropriate for the ward, and inclusive for all patients.
Why is ‘Deck the Wards’ not a registered charity?
We are currently in the process of registering the charity, which we hope to complete in 2020.
In the meantime we still take our governance and fundraising responsibilities very seriously. We are dedicated to fundraising responsibly, and in line with the principles and guidance of The Code of Fundraising Practice as published by the Institute of Fundraising. To this end, we will also register with the Fundraising Regulator as soon as possible.
How can I help?
We’re glad you asked!
If you're an individual hoping to volunteer with us then welcome! We're always looking for new ideas, skills, networks and resources and we'd be delighted to hear from you. Find out how you could volunteer by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a business looking to donate or partner with us then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing email@example.com.