For many children and young people across NSW, the mental health services across the Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (SCHN) are a lifeline. Caring for patients experiencing acute emotional or mental health problems, the teams consist of a range of mental health professionals, from doctors and nurses to peer support workers and art therapists, all with a common goal – to help young people in need.
In collaboration with patients and their families, the mental health teams work to support each young person admitted through the crisis that lead to their admission, and aim to connect them and their family with appropriate care in the community for ongoing support.
In 2021, after learning about the effects of extended lockdowns on our state’s children and young people, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation’s Gold Dinner committed over $4.1m in funding for mental health over the next three years. This incredible amount has helped fund 11 new mental health positions, 1 specialist training program, three mental health research projects and one Postgraduate position to support children like Jasmine*.
(Image: Gold Dinner Committee 2021)
Eighteen-year-old Jasmine* was admitted to Hall Ward, one of the mental health units at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, in 2020. She explains just how important the services and programs offered to her during her stay.
(Image: Young child paints the blue outline of a side portraint. Photo credited to Phil Bayly).
“During 2020 I was an inpatient on Hall Ward and I wanted to share all the things they have to offer kids who are struggling. When I was an inpatient we did group therapy every week day which gave us a chance to talk about what we were going through and also have fun at the same time. The Hospital School was really great because we got our work done but we were also taught ways to make it less stressful. The nurses were amazing, super supportive and all-round kind-hearted people. The Occupational Therapists and Peer Support Workers really helped me too. It’s so important for people to know that there are places such as Hall Ward where people can be helped if there is a crisis. There needs to be more awareness for mental health generally- it’s nothing to be ashamed of and is just as valid as any other medical conditions.” – Jasmine*, age 18
Jasmine* is right; mental health can be a ‘taboo’ topic, but it shouldn’t be. Over 75% of mental health issues occur before the age of 25, and devastatingly, suicide is a leading cause of death in young people.
As one of the largest and most trusted kids’ health charities in the country, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Foundation makes sure the funds we raise go directly to the frontline of children’s healthcare. To help make a difference today and shape tomorrow for children and young people like Jasmine*, join our Movement of Many today.
If you, or someone you know, needs help managing mental health, click here for more information on treatment across the state, and resources available to help including Beyond Blue, Headspace and Kids Helpline Official.
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.