Children’s Mental Health Week 2024

Children’s Mental Health Week 2024

Children’s Mental Health Week 2024 Blog

Children’s Mental Health Week, ran from 5 February – 11 February. The theme  this year was My Voice Matters. The theme was about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves.

This week we celebrated Place2Be’s Children’s Mental Health Week. Place2Be wants all children and young people, whoever they are, and wherever they are in the world, to be able to say – and believe – “My Voice Matters”.

We used the opportunity to showcase how we as a Partnership encourage young people to use their voices across our services. If you missed any of our content, we’ve summarised it all below.

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Monday 5 February

Our wonderful service user Catherine brillantly expressed their vision for Children’s Mental Health Week through art!

Meet Oak, our amazing service user. Oak explains the importance and benefits of using your voice. Express yourself, be heard – whether through sign language or art.  ‘My Voice Matters’ is about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves.

Tuesday 6 February

Breaking the silence with a goal in mind! ⚽

This #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek Anton Ferdinand tackles the stigma around #mentalhealth with the same passion he brought to the pitch. Now, his new dream team includes his little ones, teaching them that their voices can shine as brightly as the stadium lights. ✨

Remember, it’s okay to talk about how you feel—every voice counts in this game!

Wednesday 7 February

Raised in Peckham, Anton Ferdinand is no stranger to the unique challenges faced by young people in London. Discover how our transformative Partnership and the innovative Pears Maudsley Centre have inspired him.

We were pleased to be featured by NHS Providers in their latest insightful blog. The latest blog feature shines a light on how collaborative design and service user-led innovation can lead to transformational changes in healthcare.

Our dedication to pioneering young people’s mental health services has received recognition, and it’s all thanks to the core of our mission: the young individuals, families, and carers who have been integral to the co-creation of the Pears Maudsley Centre. Our commitment to listening to and incorporating their perspectives is not just something we talk about; it has been at the very core of our design process.

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Thursday 7 February

On Thursday, our amazing Inpatient CAMHS Team held a successful ‘CAMHS Fete’ held for our young service users at our Bethlem Royal Hospital.

The event was held to celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week and had an amazing turn out. Thank you to all the young people, staff (humans and dogs alike), and various therapy animals who attended – even during the rain. Our young people were encouraged to creatively express the theme of the week #MyVoiceMatters. T-shirts, meaningful messages and artwork on megaphones designed by current inpatients were displayed proudly for all to see.

Meet is Kay*. She took part in the DISCOVER programme, our award-winning schools-based workshop programme supporting 16-18 year olds to manage stress and worry.

This week, she’s used her voice to support others deal with the aftereffects of grief.  Listen to her full story and find out more about the DISCOVER Programme

*Kay is a pseudonym used to protect her anonymity. In the video, her words are spoken by an actor.

In his third video of the week, Anton Ferdinand opens up about his mental health journey through grief after the passing of his mum . His powerful story of seeking support teaches empathy and strength.

Friday 8 February

“Speaking out doesn’t make you weak”

In his final video for the week, Anton Ferdinand reminds us to use our voices and ask for help when we need support with our mental health. 

Saturday 8 February

Art in healthcare spaces goes beyond decoration. It has the power to create a sense of calm and promote wellbeing for all who walk through the Pears Maudsley Centre doors when they open. Participation and engagement from those with lived experience is vital to ensuring our service users benefit from therapeutic artwork.

Discover how Naz helped shape our arts strategy.

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My Voice Matters: The Young People’s Art Group

My Voice Matters: The Young People’s Art Group

My Voice Matters: The Young People’s Art Group

The role of art has become part of wider discussions in relation to the design of healthcare environments as it can create an increased sense of calm, ambience, and impact positively on staff and service users’ wellbeing. Participation and engagement from those with lived experience is vital to ensuring our service users benefit from therapeutic artwork.

Taken from Marcus Coates’ workshop

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A new arts programme was developed with the Bethlem Gallery and includes site-specific artwork which will be displayed across the building. The Young People’s Art Group, a group of young people with lived experience of mental health conditions, was formed for this project and took a leading role in appointing the artists for each commission for the centre and providing feedback directly to the artist at each stage of their artwork.

The commissioned artists, Bethany Williams, Marcus Coates, Sahra Hersi, Sarah Carpenter and Carlos Cortes have also held workshops with several young people using our services and are currently preparing their final artwork to be installed at the Centre.

One of the young people to take part in The Young People’s Art Group was Naz. Most recently Naz edited text for pears Maudsley artwork interpretation to make text more accessible for young people. Speaking on her numerous involvements in the project, she explained:

“”I felt as if I’ve been encouraged to share my voice and had my opinions heard and given value during the participation work, I’ve taken part in. Participation work has been an important part of my recovery since I was 16 years old as it’s helped me set goals and achieve them and keep my mind occupied with something productive and purposeful. It has led me to many new and exciting opportunities and pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

Taken from Sahra Hersi’s workshop

“The most recent participation project I’ve taken part in is the Young People’s Art Group for Pears Maudsley. Exploring wellbeing and art is something that really interests me as I’d love to be an art therapist and art has always been something that has brought me a lot of comfort and helped me express myself during difficult times. I felt as if my voice mattered when I helped choose the artists who created the display cabinets for the Pears Maudsley Centre and when I was invited to speak at a roundtable discussion at the Science Gallery on behalf of the Young People’s Art Group.”

“In the past, I’ve also done participation work with other charities and organisations including one that helped me learn debating skills. It was a really enjoyable experience that still means a lot to me as debate training helped me feel more confident and learn to advocate for myself and express my needs and have open discussions about mental health. I feel debate training has opened a lot of doors for me and has been a stepping stone in the journey of participation work I’m involved in now, collaborating with Pears Maudsley and even continuing my participation work in a professional setting.

Taken from Bethany Williams’ workshop

My Voice Matters: The DISCOVER Programme

My Voice Matters: The DISCOVER Programme

My Voice Matters: Kay’s Story

It’s Children’s Mental Health Week and the theme of this year is My Voice Matters. The theme is all about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves.

This is Kay*. She took part in the DISCOVER programme, which is an award-winning schools-based workshop programme supporting 16-18 year olds to manage stress and worry. The DISCOVER team is based at South London and Maudsley. This week, she’s using her voice to support others.

Kay acknowledges that she used to be reluctant to open up, instead preferring to deal with things on her own. When her mum sadly passed away, she found it even more difficult to talk to people about her loss, and kept her feelings to herself. She thought that withholding her voice would mean protecting herself, and others too, from her pain. However, this left her feeling low, isolated and unable to focus on other things.

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I’ve always liked to be independent…I don’t like asking people for help.

Kay signed up to the DISCOVER programme after an assembly at her school advertising the workshop and how it could be helpful. It was in a 1:1 meeting with a member of the DISCOVER team that she first decided to ask for help. Although her family, friends and teachers were aware of her bereavement, they were not fully aware of how it had impacted her. In addition, she was feeling a lot of pressure to succeed at school, and was staying up late working, not getting enough sleep, and not taking any breaks to recharge.

You’re not alone. Genuinely, you’re not alone.

Everyone who comes to a DISCOVER workshop set themselves a goal to work on for the following three months, and are supported by a DISCOVER clinician to achieve their goals. Kay chose to ‘stop overthinking and think positively’ by practicing mindfulness regularly and making more time for herself and her hobbies. The programme helped her to feel listened to and she learnt to use her voice to open up more to others. This helped her value other people’s support, and their perspectives on her problems and to be kinder to herself.

With the right support and help, you can get through it.

As part of their commitment to person-centred care, DISCOVER continuously evaluate their work with young people. We use student feedback forms, online surveys and representative advisory groups to ensure that DISCOVER stays relevant, accessible and impactful for young people. In a project that we ran recently, to seek young peoples’ feedback on existing DISCOVER sessions, a clear message arose: enhance the student voice. ‘They felt that while DISCOVER’s tips for stress and anxiety management were useful and clear, they were more motivated to try them out if relatable peers could vouch for them and show how these ideas could be applied to the real lives of young people. 

DISCOVER subsequently set out to develop new videos that portray a diverse range of experiences, using the exact words of young people. Kay was a willing advocate for this project and volunteered her voice once more, in the hope that it would inspire others experiencing any kind of loss to reach out for support. Her voice represents that of thousands of others voices who take part in the DISCOVER programme each year, and who have shaped the service into what it is today.

 *Kay is a pseudonym used to protect her anonymity. In the video, her words are spoken by an actor.

Dr Philip Shaw announced as new Director of King’s Maudsley Partnership for Children and Young People

Dr Philip Shaw announced as new Director of King’s Maudsley Partnership for Children and Young People

Dr Philip Shaw announced as new Director of King’s Maudsley Partnership for Children and Young People

As Director of the King’s Maudsley Partnership for Children and Young People, Dr Shaw will be responsible for driving clinical and research excellence to improve outcomes for children and young people.

a young girl holding a leaf

We are delighted to announce Dr Philip Shaw as the new Director of the King’s Maudsley Partnership for Children and Young People, taking up the role from October 2024. Based in South London at the Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People, the work will benefit local communities with impact and collaborations nationally and globally. Dr Shaw was part of an interview process that included input from a panel of young people.

The issue of children and young people’s mental health is one of the most significant health and societal challenges today. Long waiting lists for mental health services cause long term impacts on children, young people, and their families, so early identification and intervention is key to seeing long term benefits. The ultimate driving force behind our Partnership is a desire to enable future generations of children to enter adulthood leading happier, healthier lives.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Partnership next year and to have the opportunity to lead a centre of such significance and potential.  I look forward immensely to working with research and clinical colleagues and those who receive care at the Pears Maudsley Centre, their families and the local community. As a psychiatrist working with children and families in the clinic as well as having researched ADHD for many years, the chance to investigate, develop and offer new, and potentially life-changing interventions for young people is the driving force behind my work. By bringing together young people, their families, clinicians and researchers, we aim to gain a deeper understanding of challenges to mental health, and to provide innovative, effective new treatments and approaches to care.”

Dr Philip Shaw

Director of the King's Maudsley Partnership

A member of both the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Philip Shaw is currently a Senior Investigator at the Neurobehavioral Clinical Research Section of the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States. His key interest is in the genetic and environmental factors that influence the development of brain and behaviour, focusing on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

He is both a researcher and a clinician who works with families to translate neural and genomic discoveries into tools that can help predict the likely adult outcomes of childhood ADHD. His group is also developing novel treatments, delivered in virtual reality, that respond to a young person’s individual profile of cognitive strengths and challenges.

“Dr Philip Shaw is uniquely placed to draw on and bring to the partnership his experience enabling scientific and clinical communities to collaborate to catalyse breakthroughs and support the study and treatment of children and young people’s mental health and neurological disorders. As a former alumnus of King’s it is heartening that he is returning to undertake such a crucial role in children and young people’s mental health here.”

Professor Shitij Kapur

Vice-Chancellor & President of King’s College London

Dr Shaw trained as a psychiatrist at the Maudsley, has been a lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the New Childrens’ Hospital in Sydney, Australia. He has degrees in experimental psychology and medicine from Oxford University and received a Ph.D. in psychological medicine from the former Institute of Psychiatry, now IoPPN, King’s College London.

“I am delighted that Dr Philip Shaw is joining the King’s Maudsley Partnership. Through Dr Shaw’s vision and expertise, and with the support from philanthropists and the public we can improve mental health outcomes for young people and their families now and for the future – the Pears Maudsley Centre is the physical embodiment of that vision.”

David Bradley

Chief Executive Officer, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

The King’s Maudsley Partnership is a unique partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, with Maudsley Charity as its charity partner, that will see researchers and clinicians working more closely together to find new ways to predict, prevent and treat mental health disorders for children and young people, and maximise translation of research and evidence into improved services, locally but also nationally and globally.

It will have its home at the new Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People, a £70m purpose-built centre that will include an in-patient adolescent unit, and a child and family friendly research facility with cutting-edge imaging methods, virtual reality and a digital lab. The centre has been designed with input from young people and their families alongside clinicians and researchers to provide a welcoming and therapeutic environment conducive to clinical research and clinical excellence.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Dr Phillip Shaw. As a psychiatrist with incredible clinical and research experience he is uniquely placed to help realise the vision of the partnership. The work of the partnership, based in the Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People, will transform knowledge and understanding of young people’s mental health and reduce the time it takes to bring new treatment to patients that can improve their lives.”

Rebecca Gray

Chief Executive of Maudsley Charity

The new Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People is set to open in 2024 and will provide world-leading mental health support to young people. This collaboration between the IoPPN, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Maudsley Charity will transform the treatment and care of children and young people in the UK and across the globe.

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IoPPN researchers celebrate wins at the ACAMH Awards 2023

IoPPN researchers celebrate wins at the ACAMH Awards 2023

IoPPN researchers celebrate wins at the ACAMH Awards 2023

The ACAMH Awards recognise work of exceptional quality in the discipline of child and adolescent mental health.

a young girl holding a leaf

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) won awards and commendations at the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) Awards ceremony on 9 November 2023. To be nominated for an ACAMH Award is a prestigious recognition of those who are at the forefront of the advancement of child and adolescent mental health research, and practice.

Digital Innovation Award for Best Digital Intervention

Dr Johnny Downs was announced as winner of the Digital Innovation Award at the ACAMH Awards Ceremony. This award is presented to a clinician who has put evidence base into practice within the information technology and digital fields of child and adolescent mental health.

I feel incredibly honoured to receive this award from ACAMH, although naming me as individual belies how much of the work is driven by the team I’m a part of. I am so grateful to my wonderful colleagues at the CAMHS Digital Lab, who are driven by a shared mission to enhance the access and engagement of evidence based mental health interventions for children, young people and their families, and crucially, support CAMHS practitioners and make their working lives better.

I do want to say a very special thanks to my colleagues: Dr Alice Wickersham, Craig Colling and Jess Penhallow who are wonderful to work with, and who mischievously submitted this nomination without my knowledge. And finally thank you to ACAMH, who through this award category highlights those who do important interdisciplinary CAMH research and practice using mental health digital interventions. I would urge everyone to look all the nominees for this category, and great work they are doing.

Dr Johnny Downs

Senior Clinical Lecturer (Honorary Consultant) in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at IoPPN

Dr Johnny Downs is an NIHR Clinician Scientist at the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent lead, Centre for Translational Informatics. His research focuses on the use of digital information for epidemiological studies examining risks factors and outcomes for childhood neurodevelopmental and mental health disorders. Dr Downs is the founding lead of the CAMHS Digital Lab with the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre and is a co-investigator at the NIHR Children and Families Policy Research Unit.

Research Trainee of the Year Award

The Research Trainee of the Year Award was presented to Dr Genevieve Morneau-Vaillancourt, from the school of Mental Health and Psychological Sciences at the IoPPN. This award is given to a trainee or student who is less than two years post PhD and who has shown initiative or made a significant contribution to child and adolescent mental health.

“I feel very honoured and privileged to receive The Research Trainee of the Year Award from ACAMH! I have the privilege of working with fantastic colleagues from the EDIT lab, TNG lab, and TEDS team at the SGDP Centre. I am lucky to be supported by great mentors, particularly Professor Thalia Eley, who inspires me and has taught me so much about research, making important decisions as an early career researcher, and managing work-life balance in academia. This award is a fabulous recognition of the work I have conducted along with my colleagues on the role of peer relationships in driving risk for mental health problems in children and adolescents and will support me in further examining these questions using different genetic approaches. Huge congratulations to the other nominees!

Dr Genevieve Morneau-Vaillancourt

Post-doctoral Research Fellow at IoPPN

Dr Genevieve Morneau-Vaillancourt is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow whose research interests include understanding why some children and adolescents suffer from persistent anxiety and depression and which factors exacerbate these internalising problems over time.

David Cottrell ‘Education of CAMH Professionals’ Award

Dr Mark Kennedy was highly commended in the category of Education of CAMH Professionals Award, an award which focuses on professionals having a significant impact upon the education or training of those working in child and adolescent mental health care.

“Firstly I’d like to say a big thank you to those who contributed to the course and to all the students on it. Also, I would like to say a huge congratulations to the winners and other nominees for their inspiring work.”

Dr Mark Kennedy

Lecturer in Mental Health Education at IoPPN

Dr Mark Kennedy is a Senior Teaching Fellow as part of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Department at the IoPPN in the School of Academic Psychiatry. He was also a researcher on the English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) study at King’s College London. His work has focused on the developmental outcomes of extreme early adversity, including ADHD/neurodevelopmental disorders, attachment and mental health.

Further IoPPN researchers were shortlisted for awards: Ms Alice Stephens for Digital Innovation Award for Best Research on Digital Impact, Miss Emelia Pasternak-Albert for Clinical Trainee of the Year Award and the SPARK Research Team for Innovative Research, Training or Practice in Low and Middle Income Countries.

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Change the Story: Nina’s Story

Change the Story: Nina’s Story

Change the Story: Nina’s Chapter

Our CAMHS inpatient ward – The Maudsley Adolescent Unit (MAU) is an open unit offering mental health care for young people with serious mental illness such as psychosis or problems relating to their mood and require hospital admission. We have developed a national and international reputation for innovation and pioneered the introduction of a comprehensive, all-hours emergency admission service.

Within this unit, individuals such Nina, are the driving force behind our efforts to support and nurture the mental health of the next generation. Their commitment forms the very core of our Partnership. In this spotlight, Nina tells her story on how her team went above and beyond to support a young person to attend college from an inpatient CAMHS ward.



Ward Manager, CAMHS PICU

Young people admitted to inpatient CAMHS wards usually attend the on-site hospital school. The school is independent of the hospital and is run by Southwark council and staffed by an incredible group of teachers and support staff. They work with young people at various ability levels and support young people who are just starting secondary education, right up to young people who sit GCSE and A-Level exams whilst in hospital. However, fantastic as the school is, sometimes they aren’t able to provide the exact course a young person wants to do. Previously in these instances we may have encouraged a young person to look at alternative courses; ones which the hospital school could support them with. Or suggest doing different courses for a year and applying to the one they really wanted next year. However, over the summer we spoke with one particular young person on the ward and realised that this approach didn’t really work for them and wouldn’t be supporting them to achieve what they could.

This young person had been an inpatient with us for a number of months. Due to this she sat her GCSE exams at the hospital school at the Maudsley. During this period, she was also able to meet with a careers advisor at school to begin thinking about what she wanted to do post-16, as well as more long term. As a nursing and education team, we also began thinking about how we could support her with achieving her goals. She told us that her ultimate goal was to train as a nurse and work in healthcare; so, we started looking at what she would need to do to start on that path. After lots of conversations she decided that a college course in health and social care would be the best next step.

During evenings and weekends (when not revising for her GCSEs!) she began looking up different colleges and the courses they offered. Staff on the ward gave her advice on her applications and her parents were able to take her to some open days to meet with college staff. After a lot of work she found a college in South London that felt like the best fit for her and applied. Then following her fantastic GCSE results she officially enrolled in August!

Despite all the incredible work she had done towards getting her college place, the young person wasn’t able to be discharged before it started; and so, we began thinking about how best to support her to attend. Everyone was agreed that we wanted her to start college and that doing a course she was passionate about was so important. We were also conscious of not making too many big changes at the same time, so we all agreed that starting to attend college from the ward first made the most sense. We were really keen (as was she!) to make this as ‘normal’ as possible whilst ensuring she had all the support she needed.

We suggested doing some practice journeys between the ward and her college before her first day. Ray, an activity support worker on the ward, met with her to look up the route on public transport and plan the journey. The two of them the caught the bus there together to get familiar with the journey and where to go once she was at the college campus. Since then, she’s been attending all of her classes at college, and has begun making her own way there and back each day.

It was a tricky journey to get there at times, and the easiest solution all those months ago would have been to say the young person needed to be discharged before going to college full time. However, we all knew this wasn’t the best solution for her at the time; and we wanted to make sure we were thinking of what was important to her and doing whatever we could to support her in safely achieving those goals.

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