Victory for families who campaigned for mental health unit for youngsters

An MP has thanked the parents and children who spoke out as part of a campaign for a new mental health unit after the Government finally approved £7.8m funding.

Artist's impression of the new unit in Hull

Work will begin within weeks on the inpatient unit for young people from Hull, the East Riding and North and North-East Lincolnshire which should dramatically cut the numbers of those treated far from home.

Families campaigned for local services after the closure of the West End unit in Hessle in 2013, which left parents having to travel across the country just to see their children.

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Sally Burke - whose daughter Maisie has been in and out of hospital since the age of 12 - has been at the forefront of the campaign.

The teenager who suffers from autism, depression, and has a history of self-harm, has been sent to Manchester, Birmingham, and more recently to Leeds, because of a shortage of beds, sometimes for months at a time.

Speaking to the Yorkhire Post last year, Mrs Burke spoke of how difficult for her daughter when she was at her most vulnerable and needed more than ever to have the support of her family.

Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust expects the unit, in Walker Street, Hull, to open by early autumn next year.

Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy said: “I think I speak for everyone when I say that it has certainly taken the government long enough. I’d like to thank everyone at the Trust for the hard work that they have done in putting the case together.

“The biggest thanks though should go to the parents and children who raised their stories at the beginning of the campaign to highlight the problem, without you we never would have been able to achieve this.”

The unit - nine general Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services beds and a four-bedded Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit, all with en-suite bedrooms - will be for children aged 13 to 18, suffering from illnesses including depression, psychoses and eating disorders.

Clinical lead Paul Warwick said youngsters recovered better when they were around the people who knew them best and the new unit was designed to “create more of a home than a hospital.”

“It has been very thoughtfully designed and the more you move through the building it becomes more safe and peaceful,” he added.

It will have its own school, gym, “lots of outdoor contained space” - and a family visiting area complete with dining room, sitting room and kitchen.

Trust Chief Executive Michele Moran said: “It’s fantastic to finally be in a position to build a facility that our young people and their families have been demanding for so long and which we all know will make such a hugely positive difference to their health.”