A world-leading centre providing mental health services for children and young people in London moved a step closer today with a virtual breaking ground event. Funded by The NHS, King’s College London, Maudsley Charity and philanthropists, the Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People is due to open at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Hospital in 2023.
Around half of adult mental health conditions begin by the time a child reaches 14, rising to 75% by the age of 24. Young people with conduct disorders are twice as likely to leave school without any qualifications, four times more likely to become dependent on drugs and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
People who are currently accessing services and their families, as well as researchers and clinicians, have been involved in designing the building. Of particular emphasis was the need for some connection with nature in the new building, with young people expressing a desire to be able to see and feel part of nearby green space. The design therefore incorporates landscaped outdoor terraces with extensive planting on each of the building’s eight floors.
The centre has received significant support from charitable foundations such as the Pears Foundation and from individual donors. Sir Trevor Pears, Executive Chair of the Pears Foundation and lead funder of the centre, joined service users, clinicians and researchers by video to reflect on their hopes and aspirations for the facility and the work that will be done there.
There is no other centre like this in the world. Bringing together King’s leadership in mental health research with clinical excellence to find solutions together, will transform the landscape for children’s mental health. This will benefit our communities locally, national and globally, sharing best practice across the world to influence global policy and mental health outcomes.
King’s College London and the Maudsley Hospital have played a leading role in responding to the pandemic with medical innovations that will bring lasting benefits to patients. It is this spirit of innovation and inventiveness that will drive the culture at the Pears Maudsley Centre.– Professor Shitij Kapur, President and Principal of King’s College London
Sir Norman Lamb, Trust Chair said 'This unique building will bring together a special partnership of the clinical excellence of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and ground-breaking research from King’s College London – which has the leading child and adolescent mental health research team in Europe. The centre will support our local south London community which has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country, together with national services that are available to everyone in England, and expand the impact of our international reach.'
Rebecca Gray, Chief Executive Officer of the Maudsley Charity, which has contributed £10m to the project, said: “Today’s virtual ground-breaking event is a significant milestone in the development of the Pears Maudsley Centre and demonstrates the strength of our partnership. With support from philanthropists and the public we can improve mental health outcomes for an entire generation – and for generations to come. Our commitment is that we can ‘Change The Story’ on children’s mental health and the centre is the physical embodiment of that vision.”
Today’s event, which included a short video of service users and senior NHS figures digging at the site, also comes as clinicians at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and researchers at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, contribute resources to BBC Bitesize’s Parents We Got You campaign. Dr Bruce Clark and Dr Amita Jassi look at obsessive compulsive behaviours in children, teaching parents to recognise the difference between normal childhood worries and more excessive and troubling behaviour.