Designing better mental healthcare facilities

‘Topping-out’ for £65 million Pears Maudsley Centre in Denmark Hill

The building of a centre that will provide world-class research and better mental health services for children and young people in London and beyond has reached a significant milestone.

A ‘topping-out’ ceremony on 29 March attended by young people who helped design the building, local people, and dignitaries, marked the completion of the construction of the frame of the £65 m Pears Maudsley Centre for Children and Young People in Denmark Hill, due to open next year. Partly funded by a fundraising campaign ‘to address the urgent demands for an increased need in mental health provision for children and young people’, the Centre is being built by Integrated Health Projects, an alliance between VINCI Construction UK and Sir Robert McAlpine, and is the result of a ‘bench to bedside’ partnership between South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College London, and the Maudsley Charity. The partnership aims ‘to transform child and adolescent mental healthcare’ through ‘a unique collaboration between world-leading academics and clinicians, which will significantly speed up the time taken to bring research breakthroughs into clinical treatment’. The topping-out included ceremonial pouring of concrete to complete the eight-storey building’s roof, and the placement of an evergreen bough – a tradition dating back to Roman times, when tree boughs were used to protect buildings from evil spirits and bring in blessings from the tree spirits.

Trust Chair, Sir Norman Lamb said: “It is fantastic to see this unique building taking shape, giving an insight into the life-changing facility it is going to become. The centre will support our local south London community, which has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country, together with specialist national children’s mental health services that are available to everyone in England.”

To accommodate clinicians and academics in the field of children and young people’s mental health from the Trust, King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN), and the Bethlem and Maudsley Hospital School, and young inpatients, the Centre will treat young people with a range of conditions – from eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder, to anxiety, ADHD, autism, and trauma.

President & Principal of King’s College London, Professor Shitij Kapur, said: “There is no other Centre like this in the world. Bringing together King’s College London’s world-class researchers in mental health with clinical expertise will enable us to find solutions together. and change the landscape for children’s mental health. This will benefit our communities locally and nationally, and lead to sharing best practice across the world, influencing global policy and mental health outcomes. It is this spirit of collaboration, innovation, and creativity, that will drive the culture at the Pears Maudsley Centre.”

The Maudsley Charity, which backs better mental health, has contributed £10 m to the project, and, with the partners, has also generated significant support from charitable foundations including Pears Foundation, the Rayne Foundation, and individual donors.

Stephen Bannon, Project director, Integrated Health Projects, said: “We are proud to celebrate this key milestone in the presence of children who have helped design the building. Exemplar collaboration, innovation, and expertise. have been at the project’s heart, and we look forward to delivering a world-leading facility for the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.”

Around half of adult mental health conditions begin by the time a child reaches 14, rising to 75% by the age of 24.

Pictured at the topping-out are Professor Shitij Kapur; David Bradley, Chief Executive, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust; Rebecca Gray, Chief Executive of Maudsley Charity, and Hector McAlpine, Executive Partner at Sir Robert McAlpine.


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