Helping young people with mental health problems to get the most out of their inpatient experience is the focus of a new website launched by “Star Wards”


CAMHeleon provides online resources for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) to help staff identify small changes that can have a big impact on a young person’s quality of life on a ward.

Whilst admission to a mental health setting can in itself be a traumatic experience for a child or young person, it also has the potential to be a time of healing.

CAMHeleon has been designed in collaboration with staff and is designed to ensure the young person has the best possible inpatient experience.

It outlines ways to encourage healing, such as learning to manage their emotional health and resilience, making friends, and even having fun in the process.

The resources on the CAMHeleon website are informed by research into young people’s wellbeing and are adapted to help wards collaboratively use this knowledge in their work with young people.

It offers a collection of best practice themes with accompanying ideas, articles, quotes, research and resources. Dr Miranda Wolpert (Director Service Improvement and Evaluation Anna Freud Centre) and Professor Peter Fonagy (Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre) said: “CAMHeleon offers an accessible body of understanding and the potential tools and practice ideas …which may benefit the work done with some of the country’s most vulnerable people and their families, and … enhance the inpatient experience.”

Nina Martynchyk, (former CAMHS patient, blogger and campaigner) said: “As CAMHeleon makes clear, what matters most is the good relationships staff build with each young person and the caring things they do that make them feel better – these were definitely key to my recovery. I really hope all members of staff working within CAMHS inpatient settings will take a look!”

Star Wards is the flagship project of the social justice charity “Bright (Voluntary Sector Communications)”. Star Wards works collaboratively with mental health wards to improve patients’ daily experiences and treatment outcomes. www.starwards.org.uk

The sections of the CAMHeleon site are split into distinct topic areas making the word “COLOURFUL”:

Caring Relationships

Opportunity and Expression

Leisure and Therapeutic Activity

On and off the Ward

Understanding Relational and Physical safety

Family and Friends

Unique Recovery Journeys

Learning and Growth.

We know that staff on wards are determined to provide the best care they can and we want CAMHeleon to support them in their crucial work. Contact the brilliant Nic Higham for more info – [email protected]

About the Author:

Geoff Brennan
Working to make inpatient mental health wards as good as they can be and share how good they are.

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