27 July 2017

FRESH CAMHS at Alder Hey seeks parents/carers to spread the word

The FRESH+ Forum – A Parent Drop-in Support Group

FRESH+ is a group of parents and carers of children and young people who have accessed or who are accessing Alder Hey Fresh CAMHS.  The group has been meeting monthly since May 2016 on a voluntary basis and following having shared their stories, CAMHS related challenges and ideas for change, they have established two priority work-streams for beginning to make a positive change for the children, young people and families of Alder Hey Fresh CAMHS.

The first dates for FRESH+ Forum are:

Wednesday 20th September 2017 from 12pm to 2pm

Tuesday 3rd October 2017 from 5pm to 7pm

What’s it’s purpose?

FRESH+ identified in their discussions that there are some common themes in parents/carers experiences of our service, and indeed of parenting a child with mental health difficulties.  These include:

  • Feeling ‘left in the dark’, not knowing what to do for the best
  • Dealing with grief of having a child with mental health difficulties
  • Experiencing ‘public mother blaming’ and stigma
  • Not knowing how to navigate systems, and being confused about the ‘mystery of CAMHS’
  • Feeling alone with family and friends not understanding what they are going through.

FRESH+ have decided that one way in which to begin addressing these common experiences would be to provide a supportive space where parents and carers can meet other parents and carers who ‘get’ what it is like to have a child with a mental health difficulty. This space will be for peer support, advice and information sharing.  It will be made clear from the outset that this is not a space for receiving expert clinical advice, nor for ‘jumping the queue’ of the waiting list.


The Forum will be facilitated by a Key Worker employed by Alder Hey Fresh CAMHS and a FRESH+ Volunteer.

Eventually, two Forums will take place each month at The Fresh Building and it is anticipated that a 2 hour Forum will be sufficient (see table below).  However, in the first instance, to test the idea, build interest and troubleshoot the Forum will take place monthly in a 12-2 slot.


Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
5pm-7pm 12pm-2pm


FRESH+ propose that The Forum is open to any parent or carer whose child is currently on the waiting list, is open to CAMHS or has received help from the service.

Future plans include mini-seminars of up to 20 minutes where ‘guest speakers’ from the CAMHS workforce will speak briefly about a topic.  Again, this will not be case-specific advice but rather an introduction to an area of mental health knowledge.  The mini-seminars are intended to generate discussion and also to provide a means for attracting people to the group.  Key Workers will be responsible for sourcing speakers and a timetable will be drawn up to be advertised.

For more information please contact Dr Simon Lewis:

Tel: 0151 293 3659

E-mail: simon.lewis@alderhey.nhs.uk