Half of adult mental health conditions are present by the age of 14. We are at a pivotal moment in the future of young people’s mental health. Without early intervention, generations of children will carry debilitating symptoms and severe disadvantages into their adult lives.
The new Pears Maudsley Centre, next to King’s Denmark Hill Campus, is dedicated to changing these damaging outcomes, bringing together the combined skills of leading scientists, clinicians, researchers and educators from King’s College London and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
Your support today will help our world-renowned experts better understand and prevent mental health conditions affecting the younger generation, including anxiety and depression, OCD, self-harm and eating disorders, transforming the treatment and care of children and young people in the UK and around the world.
‘In Year 7, when Sophie got home from school, every day she would have a three- or four-hour shower. It got worse and worse and we couldn’t get her back to school in Year 8. Sophie ended up living in our TV room downstairs and no one else could go in. She couldn’t touch anything in that room. She slept there. Sometimes she didn’t go to the toilet for three days. She stopped eating because she thought the kitchen was contaminated and didn’t want to use the bathroom because she thought that was contaminated too. When she was very distressed and crying, all I wanted to do was put my arms around my child, but I couldn’t do that. As a mother, you have to think that it is going to get better, but it was a long road.’ – Laurenne, Sophie’s mother
She stopped eating because she thought the kitchen was contaminated and didn’t want to use the bathroom because she thought that was contaminated too.
LAURENNE, SOPHIE’S MOTHER
Getting their lives back
Sophie was diagnosed with OCD and, as a result of the world-class treatment she received at the Maudsley Hospital, she and her family have now got their lives back. But for so many other children and young people, the picture is bleak. By helping us to better understand and identify early developments of disorders like OCD, you will enable us to develop more personalised and targeted interventions, so that young people like Sophie will access the treatment they need sooner.
‘My best friend could eat for England and still stay the same size. Tiny. When I was 13, I realised I needed to start looking like her. At home, I started pretending to eat food. I’d hide it in my dressing gown. At school, I just became separate from my friends. They would have laughs at lunchtime and I would just not be there. They knew I had been hospitalised because their parents had told them. I’d lost them and the only thing I had left was my eating disorder.’
‘I remember thinking I was never going to get better; I was going to be ill for the rest of my life. I managed to get a referral at the Maudsley Hospital and, after about two weeks, it seriously started to kick in. They helped me to understand the way my head works, why I see things the way I do, and how I can change that. It was very important that I got help when I did – without it, I think I would still be in my serious anorexia bubble. Not living, just existing.’
At home, I started pretending to eat food. I’d hide it in my dressing gown. At school, I just became separate from my friends.
Greater research and collaboration is crucial for us to increase our understanding of eating disorders and expand treatment options for other mental health conditions affecting children and adolescents. Your support will help us make a lasting impact for individuals like Molly, and for generations to come.Our ambition is to dramatically reduce the impact of youth mental health problems so that every young person enters adult life with good mental health.