Staff design comic to help young people coming into Mental Health services

The comic allows young people to see who will be on their team and what to expect.

Laura Townsend
12 August 2020
CNTW Comic

Two versions exist one for learning disabilities and one for mental health.

Staff working on Alnwood Unit at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) have created a comic recognising the difficulties for young people staying in their Mental Health unit.


Alnwood provides secure inpatient assessment and treatment for young people up to 18 years old who have learning disabilities and or complex mental health needs. Young people are referred from all over the UK, often with lengthy staying for lengthy periods of time.

‘Alex Goes to Alnwood’ follows the story of Alex as they come into the service. It gives young people an insight into the care and treatment, environment and how those important to them can be involved during their stay.

An artist worked with young people on the design and dialogue, making the comic something that young people would want to read and reflect how they would speak to their friends.

Young people are sent the comic before they arrive as part of their welcome pack during a daunting experience. The comic allows them to see who will be on their team and what to expect.


Two versions exist for Lennox ward (learning disabilities) and Ashby ward (mental health).

Geoff Cottrell, Specialist Education Activity Coordinator at Alnwood, said: “Life can be hard for a young person at Alnwood; our service users have varied backgrounds and needs. It’s our responsibility to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible when they arrive on the unit.”

Speech and Language Therapist Gaynor Edwards added: “As young people can come to Alnwood from all parts of the UK, it’s vitally important to maintain external links to help with recovery.

“We wanted the comic to show that we understand this and aim to provide parents, carers and friends with the opportunity to remain involved in the young people’s lives.”


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