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Presents for children in mental health wards

(27 Posts)
Dipankrispaneven Tue 15-Dec-15 22:02:49

MN invited us to start over with this discussion, so here goes with an edited quote from the doctor the original OP referred to:

Last year I worked in a children's hospital at Christmas time, and there were so many presents donated, mostly from corporate donors. The entire large meeting room was taken over with gifts to sort. There were hundreds too many presents, so some were leftover for birthdays and other occasions. We still had boxes full of Lego packs in June.

This Christmas I'm working in child and adolescent mental health, still in a hospital ward. We have had no presents donated and I don't imagine we're going to. Our patients will have one present each, chosen by the therapy team, paid for out of the ward's budget - scrimped and saved from the budget that is meant to cover food, activities, and other expenses.

If your company, or RAG society, or someone you know is thinking of donating gifts to the children in hospital this Christmas, ask them to donate them to the children in the mental health hospitals. Any gifts to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) would be appreciated, both by the young people, and by the staff trying to stretch the budgets to give the patients a nice time.

It would be lovely if the world could start to address the stigma of mental health.

EDIT: This is the link to the list of CAMHS wards in alphabetical order. They aren't all NHS, but even the private ones will have lots of NHS patients because of CAMHS underfunding and bed crisis.

This link shows you CAMHS units on a map, by region, but doesn't seem to work from a mobile

Good generic presents include things for an older child or teenager: arts and crafts things, colouring books, cookery things (my patients love cooking and baking!), remote control cars and helicopters, nail varnish, age-appropriate DVDs, nice smellies. Nothing sharp or that could easily break.

Corporate or larger gifts for a CAMHS ward would include games consoles, sports equipment, cooking equipment (smoothie maker?!), a TV or radio - but best to consult with the ward you're donating to.

Cards would also go down well, even if it just says eg "to young people and staff at [hospital], seasons greetings".

Fingers crossed ...

PurpleDaisies Tue 15-Dec-15 22:14:48

Thanks for raising this. Mental health services are terribly underfunded. A close friend has bdd and ocr and has spent a lot of time as an inpatient on adolescent mental health wards. She said the worst thing was feeling like no one cared and that people thought her illness wasn't real. I'll definitely be contacting my local cahms ward to see what the most suitable donation would be.

gruffaloshmuffalo Tue 15-Dec-15 22:19:00

Thank you. I have a wooden fairy castle which is brand new but would need building. I'm going to contact them and see if the local hospital wants it

BrianCoxReborn Tue 15-Dec-15 22:26:14

My DD is under CAMHS at present (if that's the right terminology!?) for severe anxiety and depression. She's 12. She hasn't been in school for 2 months.

Last week, out of the blue, a knock at our front door revealed one of her classmates with a miniature poinsettias and Thorntons chocolate.

He didn't know what was wrong and he hadn't asked. He had explained to his mum that he wanted to make my DD feel better and let her know he is thinking of her.

I can not tell you how much that lifted my DD's spirits - a welcome reprieve from the hourly battles/arguments/consoling/mania that we are living with and struggling through every bloody day.

I live in a town which has a CAMHS inpatient facility. On the corridor leading to the ward there is a list of items that can't be taken into the ward. So any body who is kind enough to send a present, please do call and get a list of items that are allowed.

And thank you. It's such a lonely place to be.

BrianCoxReborn Tue 15-Dec-15 22:28:00

Sorry, my post makes it sound like DD is an impatient. She isn't and I hope she never has to be. I meant that child mental health crisis is a lonely place to be.

HackerFucker22 Tue 15-Dec-15 22:29:50

Genuinely interested as to why you had to start a new thread op? Why was wrong with other thread?

HackerFucker22 Tue 15-Dec-15 22:30:11


PurpleDaisies Tue 15-Dec-15 22:32:00

Very poor choice of wording, not intended badly but completely derailed the old thread. It would be great if that thread didn't influence this one. The op genuinely didn't mean any offence.

UpsyDaisy123 Tue 15-Dec-15 22:35:39

Thank you. This is really good to know. I used to work at a school who choose a different charity to support each term. Several suggestions are put forward which students get to vote on. I'll definitely suggest they consider CAMHS.

Besom Tue 15-Dec-15 22:42:40

Briancox what a lovely act of kindness. I hope your dd gets all the help she needs.

Playnicelyforfiveminutes Tue 15-Dec-15 22:43:45

Hello, not read the thread, but have a brand New Xbox that I've been asking my husband to take to a children's hospital. I don't want to post it so ill see if there is one near us. Also I have a couple of 2nd hand iPads.

I know this isn't relevant but what sort of mental illnesses can children get ? Do you mean brain damage after an accident or maybe personality disorders?
Ever so sad to think a child might be I'll enough to be in hospital over Christmas with something anxiety related.. I didn't know children could get things like that. But maybe they can't and I'm wrong.

PurpleDaisies Tue 15-Dec-15 22:48:11

Sadly there are all sorts playnicely. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, psychosis, ocd, bdd, depression can all present in young people. They can have devastating effects on the kids affected, and their families too.

Playnicelyforfiveminutes Tue 15-Dec-15 22:49:01

Sorry I see its only one page long!
Brian I'm so sorry about your daughter. I know she's not in a hospital, but I had no idea that a 12 year old child could have depression or anxiety! Well at least not badly enough to need treatment. I hope you have a nice Christmas and she gets better in the new year

GracefulSwanPaddlingLegs Tue 15-Dec-15 22:59:37

Brian DD1 only got a quick referral last year after I had to get her admitted to hospital 2 years ago. We've since sat in shit loads of meetings but no help & every fucker is taking credit for changes I've made without help flowers

BrianCoxReborn Wed 16-Dec-15 00:26:22

Thanks everyone.

Yes, unfortunately.children can suffer with all the problems that adults have.

Some through trauma or abuse and others, like my DD, just "because" lots of factors that another child would breeze through but for some reason it's enveloped her and she can't pull herself out of the fug.

CAMHS so far have been brilliant but it's early days, I fear we have a long journey ahead.

(Sorry, didn't mean to "me-rail" the thread)

BrianCoxReborn Wed 16-Dec-15 00:27:35

Grace flowers you have my sympathy

ReallyTired Wed 16-Dec-15 00:52:08

"I know this isn't relevant but what sort of mental illnesses can children get ? Do you mean brain damage after an accident or maybe personality disorders? "

Sometimes serious lifelong genetic conditions like scrisophrena, bio polar disorder appear for the first time in teens. sonetimes the pressure of exams is too much or children have experienced abuse or trauma. Anorexia can lead to hospitalisation. Children of all social backgrounds or levels of intelligence can be affected.

Part of the reason that mental health services are underfunded is that many people don't want to believe that something as awful as mental breakdown can happen to a child.

kali110 Wed 16-Dec-15 01:00:33

play unfortunately children are not immune to mh illnesses.
I have suffered with anxiety (and i now know ocd) all my life.
I was put on medication at 17 for depression.

Wagglebees Wed 16-Dec-15 01:08:42

Brian flowers💝 To your daughter. I wish I could send real ones. I hope she can feel brighter soon. It will get better. xx

MummySparkle Wed 16-Dec-15 01:31:16

I was an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital as a teenager. It was a lonely and boring time. The wards I was on were all for young people aged 12 - 18, although I know there are units, particularly eating disorder units, that take younger patients. I spent a long time in a private hospital, however every single patient on the adolescent ward was NHS funded. Don't think there were any NHS mental health hospitals in my area then, don't think there are now.the weekdays tended to be pretty structured, but the evenings and weekends were very long.

Things we loved having on the ward (and could have done with more of)
Colouring books - the adult colouring books are great
Board games
Packs of cards (there were always some missing)
Books suitable for teens (nothing too dark)
DVDs (again probably up to 12a)
Play doh / modelling clay
Watercolour paints and brushes
A pad of watercolour paper / cartridge paper
Puzzle books (sudoku etc)
Face paints

If places are doing individual presents for patients then we would have enjoyed
Nice smelling shower gel / moisturiser sets
Funny slippers
Slipper socks
Note books
Sets of felt pens
Cuddly toys
Tactile things - things like the little stretch men you get from Hawkins bazaar
Pretty plastic travel mugs (China mugs a no-no)
Friendship bracelet kits
Writing sets - note lets and envelopes

Each unit will have its own rules on contraband, but as a general rule
Nothing sharp (scissors, pencil sharpeners)
Nothing made of glass
Nothing made of China
Nothing that you cold break into sharp pieces
Nothing containing alcohol
Nothing that gets hot
Nothing flammable

And if you are even considering donating something to a young persons mental health facility - thank you. The littlest things make a big difference when you are stuck in a boring wars, a long way from home.

AliceScarlett Wed 16-Dec-15 06:11:19

Glad there is a new thread because its a really good point to raise.

Staff (should) risk assess everything anyway so even if you're not sure about a gift it will be checked over beforehand.

Rinoachicken Wed 16-Dec-15 07:18:08

Staples in books can also be problematic

EmilyPunkhurst Wed 16-Dec-15 10:01:25

Just bumping this so more people may see it.

BrianCoxReborn Wed 16-Dec-15 11:03:01

Another bump for an important cause and a thank you to Waggle x

SpecialistSnowflake Wed 16-Dec-15 11:32:48

This is definitely something I'm going to look into OP, and I may be in a position to influence corporate charitable giftgiving in my company next year. I've found a CAMHS ward near us, so I'm going to contact them and find out if they're looking for anything specific.

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