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Giving hope to children and families affected by mental illness

Run Melbourne, a charity fun run on Sunday July 29, is transforming many teams across Austin Health into passionate, determined and inspiring fundraisers. Excited about the opportunity, staff can participate in an event and at the same time raise money for their own department within the hospital.

The Statewide Child Inpatient Unit (SCIU) is a 12-bed specialty paediatric mental health service, providing care, expertise and therapy for children and families impacted by severe and/or complex mental health problems. The unit cares for children up to the age of 13 years and there is an emphasis on helping not just the child but the whole family unit.

Adam Blake, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, (SCIU), has built a strong and motivated team for Run Melbourne, and he is very grateful for the opportunity to help patients and families who come through the SCIU.

"We support families that may have exhausted all their other options. We feel privileged to be the platform helping these families get things back on track."

"Mental illness does not lie with just the child, we approach it as a ‘whole family' issue," says Adam. "We have a family unit as part of our inpatient area and two parents and up to three children can stay as a family while learning about their child's mental illness and how the family is an integral part of treatment and recovery."

Through their Run Melbourne fundraising, Mr. Blake and his team are hoping to raise $1,500 for a library of books and other resources to help parents and families understand their child's mental illness and learn ways to manage things after they return home.

"Parents are confused, worried and stressed when they come here and their experience leading up to and during admission can be challenging and exhausting," says Mr. Blake.

"Currently we have a book shelf with a few books. A resource library offers another level of interaction, education and support to families seeking answers."

"It would be an amazing addition to our time in SCIU to have access to resources that help tie in what we have learnt through the admission as well as giving us the opportunity to validate and feel supported in our knowledge and skills for when we return home," has been the feedback of parents currently attending the SCIU

Running various distances on the big day, including the half marathon (21km) for Mr. Blake, the team are excited about the opportunity to both raise the profile of mental illness in the community and also do something to help their own service. They are passionate about offering families hope, empowerment and opportunities to grow.

"We are pumped for the big day! Thank you for the opportunity to give back to our workplace," Mr. Blake says.

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