We know that when you are referred to inpatient CAMHS (like Hope and Horizon), it can be a really scary time.

We got together as health professionals, young people and family members to share some advice on what life's like on here.

The sections below were written by young people on the ward and our young people and carers’ council, Moving Forward. We hope they’re helpful:

We asked young people to help us develop some top tips to help you when you’re on the ward. Here’s what they said:

  1. Bring stuff to remind you of home, or things that comfort you (e.g. teddies, photos, comfy throw)
  2. Tell staff (politely if possible) if they do something unhelpful or annoying – or tell someone else you trust (e.g. another member of staff or advocate)
  3. Ask if something is confusing or unclear
  4. Try and get to know the other young people and staff
  5. Bring things that you enjoy to distract yourself (e.g. books, DVDs, games)
  6. Take things slowly, but try things and they might get easier in time - even if they are scary at first
  7. Remember you can speak to someone independent of the ward (an ‘advocate’), who can help you and speak on your behalf (e.g. at meetings)
  8. Always try to do what staff ask of you or try to explain why you feel you can’t (there are different ways you could do this – e.g. talking, writing)
  9. Have a project or a goal to focus on – it can make the time go faster
  10. Let staff know if something has been helpful

We’ve come up with some myths and realities about what life is like on Hope and Horizon. The myths might be things you’ve heard, read about or just guessed.

We have developed some reality checks with young people during our support group:

Myth Reality
You are always forced to stay here You can choose to stay here. If things are unsafe, you might need to stay. Either way, you still have rights and access to support.
We have padded cells and it’s really clinical looking/ like a prison It’s not like a prison and you can bring your own home comforts. There are nice cushions on the sofas and art on the walls.
It’s like a general hospital - people just stay in bed all day There’s a full timetable of education and activities and people are free to wander round. There are different rooms to use; such as the lounge, dining room, art room, quiet room, sensory room, garden.
Everyone’s “crazy!” We are all individual people who have difficulties we are trying to overcome. What does ‘crazy’ mean anyway?!
You’re not allowed to leave You can work towards leave when it’s safe, such as home or into Bury (where there’s good shopping). There’s also a garden and the woodland retreat treehouse to use.
You have to wear hospital PJs or nightie You can wear your own clothes and a comfy dressing gown
There’s nothing to do There’s a TV, DVDs, quizzes, computer games, activity coordinator, groups sometimes we have trips off the ward, pets can visit in the outside areas and we have things like pet therapy and yoga.
Hospital is a magical cure It’s hard work, and there’s a team to help but you make the biggest difference!


We worked with young people to come up with a list of the different staff on our units and what they do to help:

Nursing assistants - Day to day running of the ward. There to offer support 24/7 and good for a chat. They help to keep you safe if you are very upset or angry.

NursesYou will have a ‘key nurse’ who will help you come up with plans for your care. They give medication and also help to keep you safe if you are very upset or angry.

Ward manager - In charge of the ward and manage the other staff.

Consultant / doctors - They are in charge of treatment and can prescribe medication. They check or help with physical health e.g. blood tests.

Psychologists - Provide one to one and group support and try to help you understand yourself more.

Activity coordinator - Plans activities, gets resources for the ward.

Occupational therapist - Helps you to get back to your community and other aspects of life, building up your independence skills.

Dietitian - Does meal plans, helps you be healthy.

Teachers - Teach in our own school. Link with your school to keep them up to date and get any work you need to do.

Secretaries or ward clerks - Often behind the scenes, organising meetings and doing lots of paperwork. They can also be really good to talk to even if not clinical staff.

Domestic - Keeps the ward clean. Can also be really good to talk to even if not clinical staff.

Advocate - They are independent of the ward and can give you advice on your rights and help you get what you want or need

Students / trainees - Sometimes these come on placement to the ward to learn about what we do. It's your choice if they are allowed to come into your meetings or not.

SolicitorsWhen you are on a section, they can be organised on your behalf and can visit you on the ward.

Social worker - Helps with family life, making sure you’re safe at home. If it’s needed, they can look into options for living away from home.

Bank and agency staff - Temporary staff who help out the ward when the usual staff aren't available. Some work a lot and some work occasionally.

Family therapist - Support you and your family while you're in hospital.

Participation lead - Supports young people along to interview new staff. Young people help choose who gets the job (you also get paid for helping). They also take you out on activities.

Housekeeper - Helps young people with their washing, tidying, and in charge of mealtimes serving up the food. Makes sure the ward is organised.

Service manager - In charge of everyone, organises the service and staff. Always very busy and in lots of meetings.

At 7am, the staff prompt us to wake up and 8am-9am is when the kitchen opens for breakfast. By 9am most young people are awake(ish!) for morning meeting. Morning meeting gives us a chance to plan we do for the day.

Education runs from 9:30am-4pm. We are offered a range of subjects, such as foodtech, art, PE, media, etc, along side core subjects. Education provides trips and visits (museums, dungeons, sea life centre and bowling). The education staff support personalised learning to make sure we keep on track with our studies, which means every young person follows an individual timetable. The teachers are supportive and flexible in meeting our personal and educational needs. We can always count on them to cheer us up. During the school day we have breaks and a dinner hour, just like school in the community. In some afternoons we attend psychology group, occupational therapy groups and community meetings.

After school for those who have leave, outside time is offered, whether that is a walk around the grounds, a trip to the shops or a group outing to the duck pond. Tea is at 5pm and like dinner this is a protected time which means there are no interruptions, leave or visits during this time. Activities on the ward resume at 6pm and we engage in more relaxing activities such as board games, playing cards and crafts. We also have access to the lounge/tv rooms where we can watch Netflix and play on the Nintendo Switch, or we can have visits with family.

Supper is offered at 8pm – cheese toasties and hot chocolates are always a popular choice! For the rest of the evening, we chill out and watch films and socialise with other peers and staff as the atmosphere is usually a lot more relaxed.

From 10pm we are encouraged by staff to spend time in our bed spaces thought, as expected, there will always be a select few who choose to procrastinate going to bed (totally not me lol). But there are always staff available if you need support in the night.