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Maddie’s mental health story: From Becton to working in the police

15 December 2021

This is Maddie. In 2018 Maddie was an inpatient at our Becton Centre for Children and Young People. The centre provides mental health care for young people experiencing serious mental illness.

Maddie stayed with us on Sapphire Lodge for around six months while struggling with complex trauma and a severe depressive episode.

She said: “I was really poorly and thought I had no hope of ever overcoming what I was going through. When I was at Becton I didn’t want to be and I didn’t appreciate it, but looking back it was a good thing. At the time I felt resentful but now I see it as a positive experience which really helped me in my steps towards recovery.”

The Becton Centre offers a variety of therapies and treatments, including occupational therapy which Maddie attended every week.

She said: “I didn’t really communicate with people very well when I first arrived but the group activities we did, like arts and crafts, really helped with my confidence and how I spoke with people.”

Maddie also attended the onsite Becton School. Patients can prepare for and take their GCSE exams there, but as Maddie had already passed hers, she was supported by teaching staff to work on projects instead.

She said: “Mel, the teacher, was brilliant. She would find activities for me to do and projects to help take my mind off things, such as planning the Christmas fair.”

Several other staff members at Becton really stood out to Maddie. She said: “There were six people on my main team who really went above and beyond what was expected of them – support workers Shaniece, Archie and Leah, and three nurses who are all called Amy!

“For example, I was into fitness and Archie would take me down to the sports hall twice a week to do the bleep test – and he’d actually do it with me.”

Before her admission to the Becton Centre, Maddie was supported by our Supportive Treatment and Recovery (STAR) service – a team of mental health nurses, medics and a psychiatric consultant. She received eight weeks of Community Intensive Treatment which involved regular contact, support and safety management during a time of crisis.

She said: “The STAR team were brilliant. They came to my house; they came to my school to see me and speak to my teachers and they wrote letters of consideration to the exam board. They did everything in their power to make everything easier for me.”

Maddie is now 19 years old and has worked in a business admin role in the police for nearly two years.

She said: “It’s something that I thought because of my past I would never have been able to get to do. It’s a stepping stone – I want to work with people who struggle with things like abuse, and the police is a place I can do that.

“Even though I still have the mental health conditions I control them, and I can’t thank the Becton Centre enough.”

Maddie’s advice to young people at Becton:

“Just hang on. I know people tell you to look at the light at the end of the tunnel and things like that, but you don’t see that when you’re in that position – but it really can change what direction your life is going in. The support workers may seem like your worst enemy at the time, but they’re actually more like your best friend trying to help you get through it. Without them I wouldn’t be in the career that I am now.”

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