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How do you help young mental health patients who have lost hope?

PUBLISHED: 16:30 18 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:24 19 October 2019

Sasha Campbell Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

Sasha Campbell Picture: MARIAM GHAEMI

MARIAM GHAEMI

Having spent a year on mental health units Suffolk teenager Sasha Campbell knows how easy it is for patients to lose faith.

Sasha and her mum Jordanna Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILYSasha and her mum Jordanna Picture: SUPPLIED BY FAMILY

And the 18-year-old, from Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, has the support of a loving and caring family who visited regularly.

Now home, she has not forgotten those who are alone, having come from care or whose families are too far away or don't have the means to visit.

READ MORE: 'I felt imprisoned by my anxieties' - teenager battles to rebuild life after mental health units

As she rebuilds her life, her focus on helping other young people who are struggling with their mental health is in turn helping her.

Sasha, who launched the Fine Not Fine campaign with her mum Jordanna this year, has set up Hope to Heal, specifically for young inpatients, with her friend Sofi Papillon after a 14-year-old girl died.

Goodies inside the boxes include fidget toys and art supplies Picture: SASHA CAMPBELLGoodies inside the boxes include fidget toys and art supplies Picture: SASHA CAMPBELL

READ MORE: Event to raise mental health awareness to take place in Bury

The Larkwood ward in Colchester, where Sasha and Sofi met, has already received two boxes crammed full of goodies like colouring books and hand creams.

Sasha said: "Every single minute just felt eternal. There was absolutely nothing to do. If you have nothing to do you just think negatively - 'if this is my life then what's the point?' There's nothing to keep you going."

She said the boredom meant she would plan self-harm, but did mention an art activity organised by staff that she described as "really special".

She said while the items inside the boxes may seem "trivial" they could add "sparkle" to their day, adding: "Sometimes the littlest things make the largest differences."

Sasha Campbell and her friend Sofi Papillon, whom she met on a mental health unit, want to add Sasha Campbell and her friend Sofi Papillon, whom she met on a mental health unit, want to add "sparkle" to the day of young inpatients Picture: SASHA CAMPBELL

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She has already received positive feedback from a patient who said it had "made my day".

READ MORE: 'I started thinking I would rather die than fail exams' - teenager speaks about mental health

Sasha, who wants to study psychology at university, hopes to send the boxes to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services' (CAMHS) hospitals in local counties.

She urged people to join in her quest "to ignite strength of spirit in young inpatients".

The Larkwood Unit in Colchester has received two sensory boxes organised by Sasha and Sofi through Hope to Heal Picture: SASHA CAMPBELLThe Larkwood Unit in Colchester has received two sensory boxes organised by Sasha and Sofi through Hope to Heal Picture: SASHA CAMPBELL

"Your donations will help provide a glimmer of hope in someone's darkest day," she said.

Andy Brogan, executive chief operating officer and deputy chief executive at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, said it was "wonderful" the teenagers were "using their experiences of illness and recovery to do something good for others who may be in similar circumstances".

"Children and young people come into our inpatient services when they are very ill and need significant support to get well. This can be a frightening and difficult time.

"Our mental health wards for children and young people were recently inspected and rated 'outstanding' by the Care Quality Commission. One of the areas of good practice that the inspectors found was how we encourage children and young people to be involved in shaping the services that support them."

-To support the Hope to Heal sensory boxes you can donate here.

-Last week Sasha and her mum delivered more than 250 postcards to Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill expressing the public's concerns over mental health services.

-On Tuesday, October 29, there is a private view and silent auction of the first Fine Not Fine exhibition. Taking place at the Cloisters at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, all work has been donated by artists to support local young people's mental health. The exhibition will run from October 30 until November 9.

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