Ardenleigh CAMHS are committed to providing a service to our young people, families and carers that is caring, compassionate, safe and inclusive. We believe in having fun and that all young people have a right to enjoy themselves. We provide care that safely uses humour and playfulness and offer daily opportunities to celebrate and enjoy ourselves. We remain hopeful at all times for the recovery and futures of the young people and families we work with.
We empower young people to have choice, to be involved with and responsible for their care and future, to understand and exercise their rights and to design and co-produce their environment and services they receive. We actively work to destigmatise mental health and support young people to be proud of who they are and the strengths that they have.
We recognise how difficult it is for a young person to be placed in inpatient care, and take great responsibility in ensuring that their time with us is meaningful, holistic and results in recovery that is long-term. We therefore not only consider reducing risk and improving mental health as our priorities for care. We strive to recognise and enhance the skills, strengths and talents of our young people. By spending time at Ardenleigh a young person will be given opportunities that allow them to develop a sense of purpose and belonging. We support this through access to a full education and vocation curriculum, improving relationships and social connections, prioritising positive physical health and finding opportunities to be valuable members of society through their roles, leisure and occupation.
We place great emphasis on the role of families and carers and ensure that we can continue to enhance these relationships whilst young people are at Ardenleigh. We appreciate how hard families and carer’s have worked to keep the young people safe and well and how difficult it must be to have other people care for their child. We therefore work to ensure families and carers are integral parts of treatment planning and that they receive regular support and communication from us. We listen to families and use the feedback we receive to shape the service we provide.
We recognise that every adolescent has different needs and different preferences for care. We offer evidence-based assessments and interventions from a multi-disciplinary team of experts in order to provide an individualised package of care to all of our young people. This includes ensuring that the care provided meets the cultural, spiritual and diversity needs of our families and young people. We recognise that our involvement with young people will be a small part of their bigger journey. We place great value on the role of community teams in long-term recovery plans and invite community professionals to be involved in all aspects of a young person’s care whilst they are at Ardenleigh.
As specialists in adolescent care, we understand that all of our service users are experiencing a period of development and the inherent changes and challenges that come with this time of life. We provide care that is sensitive and proportionate to this. We welcome and support exploration of identity and understand the fragility and fluidity of this. The care that we provide is gender-sensitive and welcomes and promotes the diversity of our service users. We work with young people in a way that accepts who they are and is curious to understand the world and their experiences through their eyes.
We are innovative and always strive to find new ways to incorporate technology and innovation to enhance care and service user experiences. As a team we engage in joint treatment planning and adopt a multi-model approach that appreciates different theoretical perspectives. We take responsibility together for the care and risk management of our service users and work closely together to enhance the specialist provision that young people receive. We work to understand and formulate the function of a young person’s behaviour, including their risk, and understand them in the context of the life they have lived. We recognise that trauma and adverse childhood experiences are likely to have played a pivotal role in their development, mental health and risk behaviours. Therefore we strive to ensure that all service users are offered a trauma-informed approach that is sensitive to their difficult life experiences and we offer support to recover from these.
We take great pride in our roles as therapeutic caregivers, providing support that is consistent, attuned, boundaried, trusting and nurturing. We strive to build therapeutic relationships that provide a safe base for our young people to explore and feel safe enough to engage with recovery. We recognise that every young person will have different interpersonal preferences, and strive to offer them a wealth of relationships that offer reciprocity and a staff group that that is diverse enough to understand and meet their needs. As a team committed to achieving the best for young people and their families, we ensure that their voices and experiences are heard in their care and in policies that affect them locally and nationally.
A major contributor to the recovery of our young people is the environment and therapeutic structured routine they are offered at Ardenleigh. We have access to a variety of easily-accessible outdoor spaces and believe in the benefits of connecting with nature and having access to nature-based interventions. We believe in the value of having a varied and purposeful routine that is consistent and in-line with routines that promote healthy community living. Our environments are autism-informed and tailored to meet sensory differences. Our goal is to eliminate any exposure to environmental re-traumatisation and provide a living experience that is conducive to wellness. We provide an environment that is safe and feels safe for all. We believe that everybody within Ardenleigh should feel and should be protected from harm. Equally, we believe every young person should be cared for in an environment that is as least restrictive as possible for their safety and we promote positive risk taking.
In order to deliver the best service to young people and families, we prioritise the well-being and education of our staff. We appreciate every member of staff and all staff should feel respected and valued. We welcome a diverse workforce and work hard to promote inclusivity and eliminate discrimination. We need difference in our service to ensure that the delivery of care is the best it can be. We do our utmost through our recruitment and retention strategies to ensure we have the best specialist workforce for our service users. Equally we offer a working environment that encourages wellness and job satisfaction. We actively seek out the voices of our staff group and encourage all staff to contribute to service delivery. We offer a comprehensive package of specialist training to staff and we are committed to supporting career development. We recognise that working at Ardenleigh can be as challenging as it is rewarding, and therefore consider the support needs of each individual member of staff, and actively offer an excellent package of supervision and extra support.
Everything we do at Ardenleigh is with the best intention for all our stakeholders. We are open, honest and transparent about the service we deliver. We are proud of our work and expect the highest standards at all times. We take responsibility for everything we do and are accountable at all times, for both our successes and times when we fall below our own standards. We actively seek feedback and engage in self-reflection and opportunities to learn lessons. Through this process we are confident that the service we deliver remains the best possible service that a young person can receive in secure CAMHS.