Young person’s mental health unit one step closer to opening

This week nurses, outreach workers, healthcare assistants, a clinical psychologist, a family therapist and a unit manager are among 30 new recruits who joined a team of medical professionals to work within Cornwall’s very first child and adolescent mental health unit.

Young person’s mental health unit one step closer to opening

Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) will be running the brand new £11m Sowenna Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit, which will accommodate boys and girls up to the age of 18 at the Bodmin Hospital site.

Ahead of the NHS Five Year Forward View, the new 14 bed unit means that soon children and adolescents will have access to specialist mental health beds in the county.  This initiative delivers on NHS England’s commitment to reduce out of area placements for children and young people by increasing bed numbers nationally by 10%.

Unit Manager, Steve Heath, is one of the 30 new members of staff recruited to work within the Sowenna unit which is due to open this June. Dr Elizabeth Myers, CFT’s Consultant Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist and Clinical Director of Children’s Services commented “Steve will be a key player in developing and preparing the service and looking after the staff, so that the unit is ready to provide excellent clinical care at the time of opening.

“We are thrilled to be starting 2019 in such a positive way and welcoming new staff to our Sowenna unit. This will give us time to develop our team working culture and relationships so we can provide quality care when we open later in the year.

“There are still nursing positions available within the unit and we are looking to recruit additional registered mental health nurses. Those interested should visit ”   

It is reported that one in 10 children aged five to 16 have a mental health condition.  Most young people who are experiencing mental health difficulties are treated and supported within the community, however sometimes for those with severe mental health problems, often with accompanying high risk, require specialist inpatient care.  Historically, these have only been available in units which are a considerable distance from homes, visits and support from family and friends, which play a key element in people’s recovery, especially in the case of children.

CFT Chair, Dr Barbara Vann commented “Our aim is to stop families travelling thousands of miles every year to visit their children and to provide world-class facilities in Cornwall to improve recovery times. This huge step in employing staff who will be working within the Sowenna unit brings us one step closer to treating some of our most vulnerable young people, closer to their homes, families and friends.”

Currently CFT are fundraising to provide facilities and equipment that go above and beyond the build and the hospital beds funded by the NHS. These are the ‘icing on the cake’ items that will really make a difference to young peoples’ recovery, health and wellbeing such as a sports barn and gym, parental accommodation, café, therapeutic gardens, and equipment for music, arts and cooking. If members of the public would like to organise a fundraising event or make a donation please visit or contact the Sowenna Appeal Team at