Adolescent units or 'young person's units' are mental health services for young people which might be in a hospital.
They are safe places for you to stay or visit where trained staff take care of you and provide you with treatment.
You might feel worried or scared if you are admitted to hospital. But you might also be relieved in fact to be able to take a break from life and have time and a place to start to feel better.
Perhaps it's only for a few days, but it might be a few months, depending on the problems that you're having. Some units are open every day, and some close at the weekends – it depends which unit you go to.
If you have time to prepare
You should take some clothes, your pyjamas, toiletries and some money (if you are staying overnight).
Take your mobile as well if you have one as you'll probably find this useful if you feel like talking to friends or family. Try not to take too many valuable things if you don't know how long you're there for.
A parent or adult looking after you can bring other stuff later. If you have medication this will be given to the nursing staff on the unit or ward to look after.
You may experience a mixture of feelings when you get to the unit or ward:
- anger – perhaps you didn't want to go to the unit
- lonely – feel that no one understands or knows how you feel
- down – it seems like things are just getting worse
- confused – you may not understanding what's happening to you
- embarrassed – you might feel other people think you're 'crazy' or strange
- hurt – that your family could think you need to go away
Do remember that there will be a large team of trained staff on the unit who will be there to support you. They will help you as much as they can with these sorts of feelings.
When you arrive at the unit or hospital you will be asked some simple questions about your details – for example, your name and address.
Then you will have an 'assessment'. This is a session where you talk about how you are feeling and your difficulties right now. This will be done with a psychiatrist
who will talk to you about what sort of treatment he or she thinks will help. This could involve medication
(which you might start straight away) and then other therapies.
You will also be given a physical examination to check that there aren't any problems with your physical health that need dealing with, or that could be affecting your mental health.
You will have a named nurse who will help you to settle in when you first arrive on the unit.
There will be a risk assessment done when you are admitted to the unit. One of the priorities for staff will be to keep you safe. If you are thought to be at risk of harming yourself, staff will ensure they keep an eye on you and help you with your feelings.
Going with the flow
It will take a while for staff to get to know you and for you to get to know the staff.
It's a good idea to try and 'go with the flow' and accept what you're feeling. Try to hold on to the fact that things are likely to improve over time (even if it's hard to believe you will ever feel any different). Remember that treatment is on its way.
Being asked lots of questions can sometimes seem like an intrusion, especially by different strangers. Let people know how you feel and tell them if you don't feel like talking. Remember though, that in order to help you, the more information a professional has, the better. Take things step by step.