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Mental health workers take on mud run challenge to help young people

Twelve intrepid mental health nurses, therapists, education staff and support workers from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will be taking on a gruelling mud run to raise money for the Trust's outstanding young people's unit.

The Dragonfly Unit, which was rated as 'Outstanding' by the CQC during its inspection last year, comprises a young person's general admission ward and provides short-term inpatient stays to those who have conditions such as depression, anxiety, psychosis and eating disorders and who cannot safely be supported in the community.

Staff from the unit, who are more familiar with the emotional challenges of helping young people to understand and face their mental health issues, will be facing physical and emotional challenges of another kind when they take on Splat, Quack, Go, the notorious Black Ditch mud run in Woodbridge, Suffolk on 16 June 2018.

The run includes boggy streams, testing natural terrain and man-made obstacles over 6km or 12km.

Laura Morgan, an Assistant Practitioner on the unit in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft, said: "We have been thinking about doing a team event for a while, so when I saw the Splat, Quack, Go race advertised I thought it would be a great experience for us not only to do some team bonding but also to raise some money for the unit."

She said the money raised would be put towards improving the outdoor space at Dragonfly. The young people at the unit have been working with staff and the estates department to design a therapeutic outdoor space for them to use. The money raised will go towards the £6,000 that the young service users have raised or their families have donated.

To make a contribution to the team's fundraising efforts, click here:

The specialist inpatient unit will be increasing the support it offers to young people with mental health conditions, after an additional £480k investment was announced in April.

The funds from NHS England will enable NSFT to increase its bed numbers at the Dragonfly Unit from seven to 12, in a phased approach by 1 January 2019.

The Dragonfly's 'Outstanding' rating places it among the top 7% of child and adolescent mental health inpatient units in the UK.

It first opened its doors as a seven-bed unit in September 2016, and has so far treated around 40 boys and girls, as well as supporting their families and carers. (Previously, inpatient care was provided to girls only at nearby Airey Close in outdated buildings.)

Support is offered to girls and boys, aged from 12 to 18, from Norfolk and Suffolk, but as it is a nationally commissioned specialist unit, the Dragonfly also accepts young people needing an urgent inpatient stay from the wider region and from around the country.

Caption: The photo shows some of the Dragonfly Unit staff who will take part in Splat, Quack, Go on a training run. From left to right: Lauren Smith, Charge Nurse; Gwen Goode, Teaching Assistant; Matt Richardson, Team Leader; Holly Dowler, Clinical Support Worker; and Frankie McCormack, Staff Nurse.

For more information about the services provided by the Dragonfly Unit, visit:

To find out more about Splat, Quack, Go, click here:

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