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Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust Southern Health Covid-19 Service Changes
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  Tracey's story

I have always wanted to get into nursing, and have never regretted it. My journey into child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) is different to a lot of people. I trained as a general nurse and I spent a lot of my nursing career in the community. I spent many years working in health visiting and eventually became a practice teacher within that field, teaching student health visitors.

I have always had a passion for safeguarding and so embarked on a health visiting safe guarding role in social care, a joint initiative between health and social care to try and bridge those links. From there I went into a management role, initially in health visiting and eventually became the named nurse for children in safeguarding. So, it doesn’t look like the traditional route into a role like mine, a Modern Matron at a medium secure forensic unit in CAMHS, but I took on this role because I really wanted a new challenge and I believe my skillset was very transferable. I was a bit apprehensive that I don’t have any mental health training; however I think I can bring a new perspective to this unit through my role. I am surrounded by mental health experts and they provide me with that support from a clinical mental health perspective, I am able to focus on  quality assurance, leadership and safeguarding.

I am still learning every day here, which after such a varied career is such a fantastic thing. I went downstairs onto the ward yesterday and the nurses were doing their beauty sessions with the young people. All of the nurses were sat with face masks on and head bands, and it just made me think wow, that’s really what CAMHs is all about, that is what this unit is really about.

 Yes we do have bad days and challenging times and it can be intimidating at first. But with the right training and the right outlook, CAMHS can be an enormously fulfilling career.

 Join us and make a difference to someone's life

   Why CAMHS?

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, commonly known as CAMHS, is a term used to describe services that work with children and young people who have difficulty with their emotional and/or behavioural wellbeing.

Our CAMHS service is an exciting and rewarding place to be working and helps young people aged 12-18 with a wide range of Mental Health conditions. We currently have two established units Leigh House in Winchester and Bluebird at Tatchbury Mount. We are also in the process of opening a new Low secure unit which will also be based at Tatchbury Mount.

Leigh House is an award winning purpose built hospital that not only helps patients recover from eating disorders but it also looks after young people with other mental health conditions such as depression, OCD and psychosis. Bluebird House is one of six Secure Forensic Mental Health Services for young people within the NHS. It is a highly specialist purpose built unit which has an established and dedicated multi-disciplinary team. 

Our new low secure unit will help to meet the national shortage of beds for young people with specialist mental health needs and will mean that patients living in the south of the country will be able to access treatment closer to home.

Working in CAMHS can be very challenging but we have a dedicated workforce from various disciplines that work closely together to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients. No two days in CAMHS are ever the same but the work is very interesting and there is lots of fun to be had working with the young people!


   Living in Hampshire

Hampshire is based in the centre of the South Coast. As well as the idyllic New Forest National Park we have some the country’s best beaches and coastline on our doorstep. If it’s culture you’re after then we have the historical cities of Portsmouth, Winchester and Salisbury within easy reach. There’s some amazing museums such as Milestones Living History Museum in Basingstoke and Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with the prestigious Mary Rose.

The county is served with some great travel links with quick and easy access to London. Southampton also has its own airport with large motorways including M3 and M27 serving the whole area.

If you like to be kept busy then we can help here too. Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester have a great range of shops, restaurants and bars with fantastic leisure facilities. You can pop on the ferry to Isle of Wight and join in with the annual music festival. There are also regular Farmers’ Markets held in villages across the county selling fresh, local produce and a range of homemade treats.

For those of you who enjoy sport we have a county cricket team and a premier league football team. If you love the water, then Hampshire is for you! We host Cowes Week sailing event, and a kite surfing festival every year. There are also many opportunities for kayaking, windsurfing and SUP.

If you currently live further afield then, get in touch to enquire about our attractive relocation packages and join us to enjoy south coast living.


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   Meet Liz

"I look forward to coming to work everyday, how many people can say that?"

 Liz Read, Ward Manager at Bluebird House

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 Meet Richard

"Making a difference to people’s lives is so rewarding."

 Richard Ilsey, Head of Nursing

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  Meet Beth

"As soon as I started to care for people with dementia I immediately fell in love with it."

 Beth Lawrence, Older People's Mental Health Nurse 

Keeping up with our CAMHS progress

It is a really exciting time for our CAMHS service as we commence the refurbishment of Woodhaven which will become our 3rd inpatient unit. Every month, we launch video update (vlog) via our YouTube channel. Each vlog is focused around a particular development of the project or a message around our CAMHS service. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay updated on the progression of our new CAMHS low secure unit and to hear the latest on this incredibly diverse and fulfilling career path.


Above is our first #KeepingUpWithCAMHS vlog, which was focused around the official launch of the new low secure CAMHS unit. Our Chief Executive, Dr Nick Broughton, marks the beginnings of the work with a golden sledge hammer!


Above is our third #KeepingUpWIthCAMHS vlog, focused around mental health nursing to celebrate the first ever Mental Health Nurse's Day, an initiative launched by Royal College of Nursing.


lHighlighting both the good and the challenges times of a CAMHS role, the commercial demonstrates the fulfilling career you could have working with children and adolescent with mental health issues.

Below is our second #KeepingUpWithCAMHS vlog, which follows a film crew as they create our recruitment commercial at two of our CAMHS units, Bluebird and Leigh House.


We spoke to one of our Modern Matrons, who works with children and adolescents in our acute adolescent psychiatric service, Leigh House. Below, you can see Farayi talk about all things CAMHS, and why he loves being able to make a difference to the lives of the young people he works with.


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Who are we?

Southern Health is one of the largest NHS Foundation Trusts in the country, specialising in mental health, adult and child community health and learning disability services. Whatever you’re looking for from your career, with over 6,000 employees, you’ll find it at Southern Health.

There are hundreds of opportunities to expand your skills through our diverse range of services. As well as our inpatients services and community contacts we run a wide range of specialist services including diabetes care, frailty services, MRI scanning, an eating disorder service, stalking clinics and an award winning perinatal service. We also have a range of secure services including a specialist unit for young people aged 12 -18. Our research team is dedicated to conducting research into many areas of mental and physical health and you will have the opportunity to be part of our studies.

We passionate about providing remarkable care and we’re looking for people that share our mindset. People want different things from their career and we’re here to find the perfect package that’s right for you. From making sure you have time for family, working on the other passions in your life or finding the next rung on the career ladder, we can support you.


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Meet our CAMHS Recruitment Team

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My name is Penny I’m the Workforce Project Lead for CAMHS which in simple terms means I come up with all the ideas with the help of Dionne and Laura on how to attract staff to come and work for us.

I’ve worked for Southern Health for 15 months and I’ve previously worked in the recruitment industry. I love my job because it is so diverse and I am given lots of support to be creative.

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I’m Dionne my role is Recruitment Deputy Team Leader. I have been in Trust for 10 years. Part of my role is working with the Recruitment Team to ensure we provide the best service to our new employees at Southern Health and to the recruiting  managers we support.

I also work on pro-active recruitment campaigns and enjoy that I get to go out to meet potential recruits to talk about our Trust and the amazing services we provide. 

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Hi, my name is Laura and I am the Workforce Project Administrator. I joined Southern Health 9 months ago as a HR Administrator in Recruitment.

I am currently on secondment with CAMHS assisting with their recruitment, particularly with the new low secure unit that is being opened. I really enjoy my job and the best part is working with the CAMHS team and meeting potential candidates to talk about the fantastic opportunities in CAMHS.

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