Alder Hey opens new children’s inpatient mental health building to tackle growing mental health crisis in children and young people

Alder Hey opens new children’s inpatient mental health building  to tackle growing mental health crisis in children and young people

Alder Hey opens new children’s inpatient mental health building to tackle growing mental health crisis in children and young people

17th May 2023

Children and young people with severe mental health issues will have a greatly improved quality of care at Sunflower House, the new inpatient unit at Alder Hey. The urgent and growing crisis in mental health has increased demand for specialist inpatient care, as well as other mental health services. Sunflower House will be for those aged 5 to 13 years old who have the most challenging mental health conditions. 

The new building has 12 specially designed bedrooms and a family bedroom, providing a safe and high-quality space to stay. Also provided are a new therapy garden, a calming sensory room that can be used to prepare young people for outside life, an immersive room, a de-stimulation room, a safe kitchen environment to learn cooking and other life skills, group therapy rooms and classrooms. The £3m raised by our Charity's 7 in 10 Appeal has helped to support the fit-out and furnishing of these crucial spaces. 

Child A’s* life was saved by Alder Hey after they tried to end their life three times before eventually being diagnosed with autism and an eating disorder. Child A’s mum said: “At Alder Hey, A was treated by many specialities including a one-to-one nurse, who they described as their ‘guardian angel’ as well as psychologists, psychiatrists, dieticians, occupational therapists and general paediatricians. It was the first time someone sat with us and listened to us properly. They asked me for my view. They asked A for her view. It was a partnership from the beginning. A partnership in helping a child and helping a parent. We learnt from each other. A is doing so well. There is no doubt in my mind that without Alder Hey, Child A wouldn’t be here. They saved my child and without the staff there I would have lost them.”

“The new Sunflower House will be amazing and will really help so many young people and their families. It is really needed and it’s great that it is next to the main Hospital.” 

Louise Shepherd, Alder Hey's Chief Executive said: "We are extremely proud that we now have a dedicated mental health inpatient unit at the heart of our Children's healthcare campus that befits the dedication and care our wonderful staff provide. We are truly grateful to our Charity and everyone who donated to the '7in10' appeal. That funding has been central to us creating a Unit with our Children and Young People that is warm and welcoming, with state-of-the-art facilities to support them in their recovery.

"More and more children are seeking help and support for mental health conditions and together with our new Catkin Centre, Sunflower House will enable us to give them the help and treatment they need and that they absolutely deserve."

Alder Hey Children's Charity has raised £3m towards Sunflower House, to create a homely feel and deliver state-of-the-art treatments for the children and young people there.

Fiona Ashcroft, Chief Executive of Alder Hey Children's Charity said: Our 7in10 Appeal highlighted that in the UK 70% of young people with a mental health condition are currently missing our on vital mental health interventions at a sufficiently early age. The Appeal raised funds to enhance our inpatient and community mental health services at Alder Hey, enabling more children to access the treatment they need at the time they need it. Thank you to all those who have supported the Appeal - your donations have truly made a difference to those young people and their families who will be cared for by Alder Hey's mental health services including at Sunflower House."

Lisa Cooper, Director of Community Services at Alder Hey said “Sunflower House gives children and young people a secure and safe environment, while also ensuring that they have access to the very best facilities and care as soon as possible. This will support children and young people to achieve their greatest potential at a time of great crisis in their lives.”

The new Unit is the latest addition to Alder Hey’s healthcare campus focusing on developing the very best health outcomes for children and young people. Sunflower House will sit alongside a state-of-the-art children’s hospital, the Catkin Centre (community services), the Institute (a dedicated children’s research centre) and the Alder Centre (a specialist bereavement centre). The Trust has also begun work on a new Surgical Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, set to be the first of its kind in the country.

Animated case study

Sunflower House will care for children with challenging mental health difficulties. This can affect not only the child experiencing these difficulties but also their family and friends. Recently a mother of a young person who was treated at Dewi Jones (our previous tier four inpatient mental health facility) told us her story and we have put this together as a short animated story which you can see below.

All names have been removed to protect their identities.

If you are struggling with mental health difficulties, please reach out. There is always help available. Contact our CAMHS Crisis team via the details on this page - CAMHS Crisis Care Team

We also have a number of resources on our CAMHS website - Sefton and Liverpool CAMHS


Take a virtual tour of Sunflower House

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