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Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

Austen House

Woodhaven, Tatchbury Mount, Calmore, Southampton, Hampshire, SO40 2RZ  023 80 874401
No A&E Available
Austen House, a low secure, forensic hospital that provides vital support for children and young people with specialist mental health needs, in the South of England and beyond.

We help young people, both male and female, aged 12-18 years. Young people using our service have complex mental health problems which means they may pose a risk to themselves.

Young people must be under 18 years of age when they’re referred.

Young people admitted to Austen House are detained under the Mental Health Act and may be subject to Ministry of Justice restrictions.

Austen House is a specialist, low secure mental health service which can only be accessed through a referral by a psychiatrist. Professionals can download our referral guidance and criteria.

If you’re concerned about the mental health and well-being of your child or young person, please speak to your GP in the first instance.

We provide care, treatment and support in a safe and low secure environment to help encourage the recovery and well-being of young people. Support is provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We care for up to 14 young people. Facilities at the unit include:

  • state of the art education facilities   
  • a new art studio  
  • a sensory room    
  • a music room     
  • a gym   
  • a multi-faith room
  • large lounge area    
  • a dining area
  •  an in-house shop that is run by the young people
  •  social areas with a pool table 
  •  an outside multi-use games area
  • a quiet room
  • a tribunal room
  • for young people who need a higher level of nursing care there are en-suite high care areas.      
  • there are also dedicated rooms for young people to receive the vital support they need and private areas for families and carers to be with their loved ones.

Each young person has their own bedroom, and en-suite bathroom with a toilet, sink and shower. The bedroom contains built in space for personal belongings.

Wards also have their own lounge area, dining room, outside courtyard, quiet room, interview room, laundry and access to a phone. For young people who need a higher level of nursing care there are two en-suite high care areas.

Young people at Austen House will have nursing and psychological support, as well as occupational therapy, family therapy, education and social work.  Education is provided by Nacro’s Totton College.

Austen House,bedroom.jpg
When you arrive at Austen House you’ll be met by your care team. We will show you around as soon as possible – you can ask us any questions and we will provide you with lots of information about what to expect when you stay here.

Bedroom at Austen House

We know that being away from home and the environment you’re familiar with can be difficult. We therefore try to make the unit as homely and comfortable as possible. You will have your own bedroom with en-suite facilities.

Day-to-day life

During your stay your day will be structured to include time for activities, education and therapeutic sessions. How your day is structured will depend on your individual care plan – your care team will discuss this with you.

During evenings and weekends we plan activities such as sports, board games, quizzes, arts and crafts and film nights.

Food, money and belongings

You will have a choice of meals and we will always try and vary our menus so they’re not repetitive. If you have individual dietary needs we will make sure these are catered for. There are also snacks available for you.

You can bring a certain amount of belongings into your room, such as clothing, books, toiletries and music. If you have a lot of items we may need to put some in secure storage, but you’ll still be able to access them.

You won’t be allowed money in the ward areas. We store money securely in Patient Services which you can access during set hours. You can use money to purchase things like snacks, stamps and toiletries.

Contacting your family, guardians or carers

We will encourage you to stay in contact with family, guardians and carers, through visits and on the phone. During your stay you can receive or make calls to family, friends, guardians or health professionals that are agreed by your care team.

We also offer family therapy during your stay. It’s a chance for you to talk together about issues such as relationships, hopes for the future or events that led up to you being admitted. You will have the opportunity to choose what issues you talk about. You and your family will be supported by a family therapist.

Your spiritual and religious needs

If you have individual religious or spiritual needs, we will always try to support and respect them. We have a chaplain who young people can request to see and a dedicated multi-faith room.

The Learning and Therapy Centre (LTC) provides education to young people through a contract with Nacro.

Our aim is to support lifelong learning. We want to motivate young people to continue with their education within hospital and promote successful futures by encouraging young people to reach their full potential.

Each young person has an individual learning programme to ensure their interests and specific needs are supported. The curriculum offered is broad and balanced, covering a range of subject areas, both academic and vocational and incorporates an Enrichment and Personal Development Learning element designed to promote social skills.

The Education Team offer comprehensive pastoral support, working closely with previous education providers to ensure continuity of learning, as well as enabling young people to continue their education when they leave Bluebird House.

The rooms in the LTC provide a safe learning environment and cater for a variety of activities including:

  • Literacy and numeracy

  • Science

  • IT

  • Painting, sculpture, paper & card making

  • Textiles and Craft

  • Music

  • Sports & fitness

  • Cooking

  • Gardening

  • Woodwork

  • Bike maintenance

  • Leatherwork

  • Hair & beauty

  • Art therapy

  • Speech and Language therapy

Young people are able to work towards a range of nationally recognised awards and qualifications including Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) Unit Awards, City & Guilds Awards in English, Mathematics and IT, and GCSEs in a variety of subjects including English, Maths and Science.

When leaving Austen House, all young people take with them a portfolio of the awards they have gained so they have evidence of their progress and achievements. 

We work hard to create a friendly, welcoming and therapeutic environment for our young people. We believe that the involvement of families, guardians and carers can be a very important part of a young person’s treatment and recovery.

Where it’s appropriate, young people at Austen House will always be encouraged to communicate with family and friends. In a secure unit we have to balance this against the overriding need to maintain a safe and secure environment for all patients, staff and visitors within the unit.

We welcome visits from family members and friends however, we would prefer to have the visits booked in advance. We have a family room especially for visits, please bare in mind some of the visits may have to be supported by members of staff depending on the young persons needs. 

Because Austen House is a secure unit, we have some special rules and procedures that visitors need to follow. This helps to keep you, young people and our staff safe.

Any items that you bring in for a patient need to be given to a member of the nursing team. We will meet you at reception so you can provide the items.

What you can’t bring

The following items aren’t allowed in the unit:

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs – prescription and non-prescription
  • Mobile phones/MP3 Players or voice recording equipment
  • Sharp items – razors, knives, scissors, etc
  • Matches
  • Lighter fluid/petrol/gas
  • Cameras
  • Aerosols – deodorants etc
  • Cans
  • Superglue
  • Weapons/imitation weapons
  • Bluetack or similar products
  • Tobacco products
  • Chewing gum
  • Copied discs (CDs or DVDs)
  • Pornographic material
  • Home cooked food

Non-alcoholic, plastic bottled drinks (with sealed tops) may be brought into the unit, but you'll need to check this with a nurse.

When you visit AustenHouse we may need to search your personal belongings before you enter the main unit. If you don’t want them to be searched, you will need to leave your items in one of the lockers at reception.

No A&E available

How to get here

Travelling by car

Approaching from Salisbury and Winchester/ Romsey A31

Proceed to roundabout A31/A36 and take the exit for the M27, take the second exit at Junction 2 roundabout. Then follow instructions as from M27.

Approaching from M27

Exit motorway at Junction 2 and take the A326 exit from the roundabout (Totton & Western Bypass). Proceed approximately 300 yards and exit the Bypass (signposted Totton Town Centre).

Turn left towards Totton Town Centre and proceed along the A36 until the Calmore Industrial Estate roundabout. Take the last exit and bear to the right. Proceed along Cooks Lane, cross over the bypass bridge and proceed straight on for 1/2 mile and where you will see Austen House entrance on your left (Just before the main entrance to Tatchbury Mount).

Approaching from Totton

Take the Salisbury Road A36 for 11/2 miles, turn left at Calmore roundabout, immediately right and then follow the road along to Tatchbury Mount.

Public transport

Although driving is probably the easiest way to reach Austen House, there are a number of other transport options.


There is a bus service which runs from Southampton to Tatchbury Mount (where Austen is situated the net entrance along to Tatchbury Mount). Buses run two hourly services.


The nearest mainline train station is Southampton Central. The nearest station to Austen House is Totton. A taxi from Southampton Central to Austen House  costs approximately £13.00 and from Totton approximately £8.00.

Please contact Austen House Reception  (023 80 874401) for details of a local taxi firm.


If you're coming from further afield, the nearest airport is Southampton. There is a train station (Southampton Parkway) next to the airport. A taxi from the airport costs approximately £20.

If you are a Registered Nurse in Mental Health, Child or Learning Disabilities and you are looking to work in a dynamic environment with young people who present challenging behaviour and complex needs, we have just the job for you. We also offer excellent training and development opportunities.

At Austen House, we positively encourage applications from all sections of the community regardless of sex, racial origin or disability, including people who have experienced mental ill health.

Who can I contact?

If you would like to talk to somebody about working at Austen House, then please contact Karen Dixon: Email:



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