Young people suffering from mental health disorders to benefit from new sensory garden
- Credit: Archant
Steps are being taken to provide an outdoor therapeutic space for young people suffering from mental health disorders.
Staff and young patients at the Dragonfly Unit, in Carlton Court, Lowestoft, organised a special fete to raise funds for a sensory garden on Friday, September 1.
The garden will be built in one of the two outdoor courtyards on the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) site.
Plans for the facility include water features, plants, outdoor seating and a sound system - all of which can be used by patients as part of their therapy.
Sensory gardens are designed to stimulate the senses through use of materials that engage sight, smell, touch, taste and sound.
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Alex Barrett, an occupational therapist at the unit and one of the event organisers, highlighted the benefits a sensory garden would have on the patients.
She said: 'Sensory input is important for managing anxiety and can be stress relieving.
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'Having a facility on site with specialist equipment would be wonderful and really would make a difference.'
The impatient facility offers services to boys and girls with conditions such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and eating disorders, who cannot be supported in the community.
Since opening in September 2016, the NSFT have been developing the unit as centre of excellence providing more localised specialist care.
In turn, the number of 12 to 18 year-olds needing to travel out of the area for treatment has been reduced.
Preparation for the fundraising fete also proved valuable to patients.
Mrs Barrett said: 'The whole unit has been involved in the lead up to the event.
'Our patients have been making bracelets, keyrings and cards to sell on the arts and crafts stall.
'These craft activities have allowed them to utilise skills they may not have used for a long time and have really surprised themselves with the quality of their work
She added: 'It has been a great focus and a way to meaningfully engage patients who were exited that their wares would go on sale to raise money for a facility which they will benefit from.'
For more information about the services provided by the Dragonfly Unit, visit: www.nsft.uk/dragonflyunit.