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Eating Disorder Services Under ‘Constant Pressure’ After COVID Lockdown | UK News

Disclaimer: This report contains references to self-harm, suicide, eating disorders, and nasogastric tube feeding.

Each door of this unit has a lock. This is the first thing you notice. The constantly vibrating sound of keys or the electronic beep of a key fob is always in the background here.

There is a writing on the walls: “Destroy your thoughts and not your body”, one reads, while another says: “You are not alone”.

I am shown a typical room belonging to one of the adolescent patients. It’s full of teddy bears, posters and cards. Clothes are strewn on the floor and the bed is not made. It could belong to any teenager anywhere.

But it is a secure psychiatric unit for children and most patients are being held against their will under the Mental Health Act. This means that they cannot come and go as they wish. It’s for a reason: to keep them safe. It is a last resort when all else has failed.

Each door of the unit has a lock
Each door of the unit has a lock

“It’s constant pressure”

The Hope and Horizon units are adolescent mental health services in Bury, North West England, run by Pennine Care NHS Trust.

In the Hope Ward, children spend between two days and four weeks being treated for conditions such as drug-induced psychosis or after a period of self-harm. The Horizon service has 10 beds and currently six are reserved for children with eating disorders. Patients can stay here for up to 18 months.

NHS data on eating disorders shows a fourfold increase in the number of children and young people awaiting urgent care.

Mental Health Nurse and Service Manager Lindsey Baucutt
Mental Health Nurse and Service Manager Lindsey Baucutt

Every day at 7.15 am, the night shift nurses hand over to the day shift. There is no average night but this one is quite typical.

Mental health nurse Emily Sheppard lists some of the incidents, including: “She tied a ligature at 10 o’clock. She was kidnapped by the …

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This notice was published: 2021-05-18 07:52:00