Pirate FM News

A fresh appeal for Cornwall's first young mental health unit

sowenna entrance

Published by Emma Carton at 7:30am 9th January 2019. (Updated at 7:37am 9th January 2019)

A fresh appeal is being made as Cornwall's first mental health unit for children and young people moves a step closer to opening.

Sowenna got the green light in 2017 and the new building at Bodmin is set to open later in 2019.

It will stop 13 to 18-year-olds having to be moved hundreds of miles away from home for care and treatment.

The centre has recruited 30 new staff this week, from outreach workers to a manager, but still needs more nurses.

sowenna east view
Cornwall's first mental health unit for young people is appealing for more nurses as it moves a step closer to opening

Manager Steve Heath is one of the 30 new members of staff recruited to work within the Sowenna unit which is due to open this June.

"Steve will be a key player in developing and preparing the service and looking after the staff, so that the unit is ready to provide excellent clinical care at the time of opening.

"We are thrilled to be starting 2019 in such a positive way and welcoming new staff to our Sowenna Unit.

"This will give us time to develop our team working culture and relationships so we can provide quality care when we open later in the year.

"There are still nursing positions available within the unit and we are looking to recruit additional registered mental health nurses. Those interested should visit the recruitment website here".

Dr Elizabeth Myers, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

How will it make a difference to families?

sowenna chloe
An appeal to kit out Cornwall's Sowenna unit is backed by the family of  a youngster who had to travel for treatment

Jane, who lives near Truro, has told Pirate FM Sowenna would have made the world of difference to her young child.

Her daughter Chloe, who is now known to his friends and family as Matthew, is back in Cornwall.

However, when he was younger, Matthew spent time as far away as Kent and Birmingham.

She is encouraging everyone to donate to the Sowenna Appeal, to kit out the centre with things like a gym. a cafe and rooms for parents.

"I'm sure it delayed his recovery immensely and we could only see him once every three weeks when he was so far away because it was a whole weekend's travel.

"If you leave and he's a bit upset, you've got all those weeks before you can catch up again; it really isn't nice.

"If they just imagine how they might feel if a young member of their family was suddenly sent hundreds of miles away and was feeling very isolated an lonely.

"And how If they could donate even five pounds, that money could be used for all those young people in Cornwall".

sowenna north view
The Sowenna appeal hopes to raise over £1 million for things like a gym, a cafe and overnight rooms for parents

Sowenna: The Building

A new 24 hour assessment and treatment mental health unit for children and adolescent patients.

The service will deliver day care and educational services to both day service users and inpatients.

The unit will provide a total of 14 beds in on suite single room accommodation (two of which are for high dependency care) within bed clusters and associated inpatient accommodation, together with clinical space for inpatients and day service users to attend for therapy services and to meet their educational needs.

The principle of the layout is to create three separate smaller scale living clusters. There are two gender specific clusters comprising of six bedrooms each and designated living area with access to an external courtyard. The education block and the main entrance block complete the accommodation around the main central courtyard.

The built environment, both internal and external, can have a significant effect on the well-being of service users, staff and visitors alike.

The design of mental health service buildings can greatly assist in the therapeutic care of the service users, giving a positive experience for those who live and, as importantly, work within them.

sowenna west view
A Just Giving page that is part of the Sowenna Appeal has already raised over £64,000 of its £1.1 million target

What does the Sowenna Appeal need?

It is estimated that one in 10 young people aged between five and 16-years-old has a mental disorder. Most can be treated within the community, but some require a more intensive programme of treatment and care.

Currently some of our most ill and vulnerable young people are travelling hundreds of miles away from their family and friends to hospitals in Birmingham, Essex, Kent and Cheshire to access psychiatric treatment.

To ensure Cornwall has a leading-edge facility, the Sowenna Appeal has been launched to fund some of the items which will really make a difference to young peoples’ recovery, health and wellbeing:

  • A sports barn, gym, plus fitness and sports equipment
  • Parental accommodation, to allow families to stay over and make admission less unsettling
  • A café area to allow visits with family and friends to happen in a friendly space
  • Therapeutic gardens
  • Equipment for music, arts and cooking

How can I help?

A Just Giving appeal has been launched as part of the overall Sowenna Appeal and has already raised over £64,000.

You can read more at the link above or check the other ways to donate on the Sowenna Appeal's website or its Facebook page.

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