3rd - 7th February is Children's Mental Health Week. Read a story of how POhWER support children and young people in CAMHS units to have their voices heard.

Lottie is a 17 year old patient who came to the secure hospital. Lottie currently resides on an eating disorder ward. Lottie has now been moved to the PICU unit due to various incidents that took place on the eating disorder ward. Lottie has been on the PICU for around 5 months. Lottie can communicate very well and is outspoken about issues she has on the ward.

Lottie has approached Advocacy on several occasions and is confident to ask for support with her issues. Lottie approached advocacy to discuss requiring support with an issue she had regarding information that is fed back to her parents and restricting some of this information. POhWER Advocate met with Lottie on several occasions to discuss her issue and gave her different options to think about before she made her mind up in how she wished to proceed with this issue.

Lottie decide on a plan to address her issues. Lottie made it clear that’s she didn’t want her parents to be informed of every incident she was having on a daily basis and to give her parents a general idea of how her day had been rather than to go into detail of every incident. Lottie said that this made her feel worse and would heighten her need to self-harm and also would have a negative impact on her mental health due to the fact that she knew her parents would become distressed by hearing details of the incidents which would then have an impact on Lottie’s thoughts and feelings causing her to feel emotionally unstable and upset.

It was decided that a best interests meeting should take place to discuss Lottie’s concerns. Present at the meeting would be Lottie, her parents, Advocate, Doctor, Consultant, OT, dietician and therapist.

During the meeting Lottie was empowered and also supported by her advocate to explain her reasons as to why Lottie wanted to restrict certain information given to her parents. The MDT said they would take Lottie’s views and wishes into consideration by the team, Lottie’s parents were in agreement with Lottie as they felt it would support her journey at the hospital. The team explained the risks and the worries of excluding some of the information filtered to the parents but overall the team seemed to understand and agree with Lottie’s views.

It was decided that Lottie would be granted her request and a brief outline of Lottie’s day would be discussed with her parents on a daily basis including any serious incidents but anything other than that would not be discussed. Everyone was happy with the decision and Lottie was satisfied that she was listened to and given the opportunity to make this decision.

Lottie thanked the advocate for her support and said she felt very supported which made her experience so much better than speaking up on her own.