We provide child and adolescent psychiatric wards with the 'little things' that can help brighten the holidays.
The story behind Deck the Wards
Child and adolescent inpatient settings provide care for children and young people under 18 who are experiencing a serious mental health crisis that cannot be managed in the community. Some young people will be detained under the Mental Health Act and may have very limited leave from the hospital. Treatment can be wide ranging; from medication to art therapy, psychology to mindfulness. There is also a dedicated education service within the wards themselves that supports children and young people to keep up with their school work during their admission.
Spending time in hospital as a child or young person can be extremely challenging. The hospital environment may be unfamiliar, and you may not understand what’s happening to you or why. Owing to the high demand for hospital beds you may have to travel long distances across the country to receive treatment, making contact with friends and family even harder. At a time of a mental health crisis, being away from home can be very distressing.
This can be even harder at during the Easter, summer and Christmas school holidays, when children and young people would usually be spending time with friends and loved ones, enjoying their free time out of school and taking part in holiday festivities. 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 at all during these times.
This is why we set up Deck the Wards.
We provide child and adolescent psychiatric wards with the 'little things' that can help brighten the holidays. This can be books, games, DVDs, treats, luxury toiletries and seasonal decorations (depending on the time of year), or whatever the children and young people tell us they would like.
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 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?
We currently work with four local units in South East London, but we hope that we will be able to reach more units each year.
What do you mean by ‘home comforts and small luxury 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 by February 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?
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