After successfully receiving treatment for her bipolar disorder at Winchester’s Leigh House, 18-year-old Lucy Balfe decided to thank the staff and raise awareness of mental health issues by fundraising for the hospital with a brave 10,000ft sky dive.
Lucy, who lives in Southsea with her parents, managed to raise more than £400 for her sky dive - which included a 30-second freefall at 125 mph.
Leigh House’s modern matron Carol Fry and activity coordinator Suzy Batty attended the jump site to offer their support and watch her impressive feat, which will fund future activities and uplifting trips out for the adolescent psychiatric unit’s young inpatients.
Lucy explained: “I wanted to do my sky dive to try and raise as much money as I possibly could, to try to thank Leigh House for all they have done for me.
“My time at Leigh House was life changing for me. All the team, from the nurses to the psychologists to the teachers, were absolutely amazing. I was given support in every possible way, such as coping mechanisms, multiple types of therapy, healthy lifestyle skills and even help with employment and further education.
“The atmosphere in Leigh House is like no other. While young people like myself are admitted for treatment, Leigh House gives us more than that. It feels as though you've developed a whole new family of genuine like-minded others. After years of help from children and adolescent mental health services, Leigh House could finally give me the diagnosis I'd been hoping for and taught me ways in which I could learn to live with it. The care received in Leigh House is truly like no other and I cannot praise it enough. I will never forget the time I spent there and can only try to explain how grateful I am for the care I, and others, were given.”
Leigh House is an acute adolescent psychiatric service providing inpatient treatment for young people between the ages of 12 to 18 years. Set in its own grounds, the purpose built hospital provides a comprehensive treatment programme for young people experiencing acute mental illness, such as depression and psychotic disorders.