With half of all adult mental health conditions established before the age of 14, we know it’s crucial to get in early when it comes to care and support. But across the UK, children’s mental health services are in demand as never before, with both referral rates and waiting lists at all-time highs.
That’s why, over the past several years, we have been working alongside South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London under the banner of the King’s Maudsley Partnership to develop a groundbreaking new care and research centre that will bring together the largest group of mental health clinicians and academics in Europe.
A groundbreaking new facility
Based on the historic site of the Maudsley Hospital in southeast London, The Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People will transform our knowledge and understanding of young people’s mental health and reduce the time it takes to bring new treatments to patients.
Maudsley Charity is playing a vital part in the Centre’s development from both a strategic and financial point of view. We have contributed £10.3m and have worked in partnership with our colleagues at King’s College London to raise an additional £15m through donations from charitable foundations, businesses and philanthropists.
The Centre has been built by Integrated Health Projects, an alliance between VINCI Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine. Construction began in June 2021 and is due to be completed in Spring 2024.
A joined-up approach
When the Centre opens its doors, it will enable scientists, clinical staff and educators with backgrounds in medicine, psychology, neuroscience and social science to collaborate, explore and improve the mental health of young people from across England. Together, they will be able to directly help more young patients, as well as influencing policy, practice, funding and attitudes towards mental health – at a time when need has never been greater.
The teams will take a lifespan approach to mental health, from understanding the relationship between parents with mental ill health and their babies; helping young people with autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to achieve their full potential; to enabling the recovery of young adults who have been diagnosed with mental health conditions including anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
“It’s going to change things literally from the ground up. It’s so rare within mental health services to have facilities that have been designed from the very start with the key purpose of transforming and changing the agenda for mental health staff.”
Young people and their families will form part of a unique collaboration between clinical teams from South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and researchers from King’s College London. By joining forces and inviting families to actively take part in research, they aim to halve the time it takes to bring new treatments to young people, and the advances in healthcare will spread far beyond the Centre’s walls.
Space to learn while healing
The Maudsley and Bethlem Hospital School will also operate at the new site. The school currently supports the education of inpatients and day patients aged 11 to 19 who are under the care of the Maudsley and Bethlem Hospitals.
Rated Outstanding by Ofsted, teachers have a deep understanding of each student’s challenges and work with their usual school, clinicians and hospital staff to create personalised learning plans in a safe and encouraging environment.
The school excels in helping young people continue their studies and works with others to make their transition back into mainstream education as smooth as possible. Its role is vital – research has shown that education is one of the key factors in protecting emotional well-being.
It will have greater capacity to support more children in a calm environment comprised of classrooms, arts and science spaces, a music room, a gymnasium and kitchen and safe external terraces full of greenery, including the stunning Outdoor Learning Zone on the 8th floor of the building.
The Pears Maudsley Centre for Young People will ensure that our pupils have outstanding physical facilities to match the outstanding teaching and learning experiences in our classrooms, and that being in hospital doesn’t mean they miss out on the best education possible for them at that time in their lives.
Collaborating with young service users
Working collaboratively with young service users, award-winning architects IBI Group have created a building that will be bright, welcoming and connected to nature – one that destigmatises the experience of accessing mental health services.
The Centre’s layout and interior design has been informed by the needs and views of young service users. By maximising natural and dimmable light, using natural materials and inspiring and thoughtful artwork and extensively planting terraces, the space works hard to ease anxiety and create a warm, welcoming feel for young people who may be feeling at their most vulnerable.
We’ve also supported Bethlem Gallery to bring together the ‘Young People’s Art Group’ – young service users aged between 16 and 21 – to help guide our arts strategy at the Centre.
With the support of local artist, Daniel Regan, they created the brief for each of the three commissions, which invited artists to develop exciting, site-specific artworks for the Centre, based on the theme of ‘nature’.
Take a virtual tour of the Centre
Pears Maudsley Centre - News
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