Help us manage the mental health crisis facing young people

How your support is vital in helping children and young people dealing with severe mental health issues.

The A&E department at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton treats up to 100 children and young people every day and the numbers in mental health crisis are rising dramatically.

Doctors and nurses are seeing incidents of self-harm, attempted suicide and severe eating disorders on an alarming scale, and despite their absolute best efforts, they simply don’t have the capacity to treat the underlying issues that have resulted in their visit to the hospital.

Dr Mohammed Rahman, Paediatric Consultant and Lead for the HDU at The Alex, is at the sharp end of this crisis, seeing hundreds of young patients a day come through the A&E department at the hospital.

Dr Rahman said: “We have huge numbers of young people feeling depressed, anxious and unwanted. The numbers of teenagers we have requiring hospital admission for self-harm or attempted suicide are considerably higher compared to the national average, the amount with eating disorders has rocketed and we are seeing increasing numbers of teenagers attending A&E for alcohol or substance misuse.

“On top of that, a couple of years ago Brighton was named as the UK town most affected by County Lines, where criminal gangs from larger cities exploit vulnerable young people to supply and distribute drugs.

“As a team we do the best we can during the time these young people are in hospital, but we simply don’t have the time to explore some of the underlying issues resulting in their visit to A&E or follow up cases in a way that might prevent them from needing to be re-admitted.”

A recent study undertaken by the BBC showed that between April and October 2021, the number of children needing care for serious mental health issues increased by 77% – which his equates to five children in a class of 30 being affected. Unfortunately, this problem will continue to worsen if we don’t do something soon

Youth Worker SeanO

This is why we’re asking for your help.

This year marks our 55th year of supporting babies, children and young people across Sussex and thanks to donations from kind donations from people like you, we have supported more than one million children and their families with all aspects of their care from medical equipment to toys, well-being projects to counselling.

But despite all this work, our support is needed now more than ever, particularly when it comes to the dramatic rise in these serious mental health issues.

We will always be there for children, and we want to make sure we support them in the best way we can. Which is why we are tackling this issue by funding a youth worker in the A&E at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

Having a Youth Worker right where it’s needed means that vulnerable young people can be more easily identified and helped at the point where this additional support is most likely to be successful.

Could you pledge to support these young people in mental health crisis now?

We know that times are tough, so we completely understand if you are not able to help this time. But if you can spare anything at all it could help us continue supporting these young people who feel they have reached breaking point.

If you are able to donate £55, it could pay for our Youth Worker to meet with and assess what help one young person’s needs straight away. And if you aren’t able to spare that much, a £5 a month direct debit could mean that we can continue this project for as long as possible to help as many young people as we can.

We have had an amazing 55 years so far, and I can’t wait to see what will happen in the next 55 years. With the help of people like you, we will be able to continue improving the lives of children and young people across Sussex, so thank you from all of us here at Rockinghorse.

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