A mental health nurse in the North East has started a fundraising campaign so patients in children and young people’s services have access to books and activities.
Sinead McGowan, a psychiatric liaison nurse at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, is raising money to buy books for young people in inpatient wards.
“I want to let young people within our services know that learning can be fun and that there are so many benefits to reading”
Brendan’s Boot Camp, named after Ms McGowan’s three-year-old nephew who loves being read bedtime stories, is part of her role as an independent book consultant for publisher Usborne.
Normally, she can take books to events such as parents’ evenings or community gatherings. During the pandemic, Ms McGowan has hosted online reading parties and sponsored reading challenges.
With a fundraising target of £1,000, she plans to go onto the wards to allow staff and service users to choose the books they want once the money has been raised.
“I think children in mental health services can sometimes get forgotten about,” said Ms McGowan. “I wanted to be able to offer them something that would be both fun and educational.”
She added: “A lot of the young people we work with have had difficult upbringings… They often haven’t been attending school which affects their future.”
Ms McGowan works in psychiatric liaison, seeing first-hand the how events in people’s childhoods can impact on their behaviour as adults, she noted.
She said she hoped that, by providing young people with the right resources from an early age, they would get an idea of the importance of learning and what they want to do later in life.
“I want to let young people within our services know that learning can be fun and that there are so many benefits to reading,” she said.
“Reading helps with creativity and problem solving and also serves as a self-soothing technique for those who find it difficult to regulate their emotions.”
Ms McGowan also hopes that the books and activities will give staff more opportunities to socially interact with service users.
More information can be found on Ms McGowan’s website and donations can be made via her JustGiving page.