Chalkhill Hospital

At Chalkhill we care for and treat children and young people (aged 12-18) who are experiencing emotional difficulties, mental health problems and eating disorders.

Chalkhill is a mixed gender inpatient unit where young people are admitted if they require assessment and treatment for acute mental health needs. 

We offer assessment and treatment of a wide range of mental health difficulties and needs, as well as support for eating disorders and disordered eating.

Chalkhill is a standalone hospital exclusively for 12-18-year-old young people based in the grounds of the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

Access to the hospital is via professional referral only. Any admission to hospital will be discussed with the young person, their family or carers and their current mental health team. Emergency admissions are also facilitated but this would be following assessment by trained mental health professionals.

When you arrive at Chalkhill we'll have a chat with you, and your family or carer, to find out more about your current situation, your worries, your safety needs, your strengths and your interests in order to develop a ‘Care and Safety Plan’ together. This will set your immediate goals and agree the steps we can all take together to achieve them and work towards your discharge and recovery.

We understand it can be really hard to talk about personal experiences and to find the words to explain what’s been going on. We will do our very best to make this process as comfortable as possible for you and you’ll have the opportunity to talk further over the coming days.

As part of your Care and Safety Plan we will agree how best to support your needs, including your 'observation level' while you settle in. This is where nursing staff check in regularly with you to ask how you are, make sure you’re safe and see whether you need anything. Occasionally a member of staff may remain with you to help you manage your safety. If needed this will be discussed and agreed with you in more detail. 

We provide a range of treatment options, which are delivered by a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, support workers (who are extremely skilled and spend the most time with you), occupational therapists, family therapists, social workers and teachers. Examples of treatment options might include occupational therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, medication initiation and review or family therapy. Treatments will be a mixture of groups and individual work. 

Following a period of assessment, any treatment options will be discussed with you and incorporated into your Care and Safety Plan.

The use of medication may be of help but will only be given after discussion with you and your family.

We know that physical health and mental wellbeing are linked; a comprehensive physical health assessment will be carried out on your arrival and will be monitored throughout your stay.

If you've agreed to be admitted to hospital 'informally' you should have been given relevant information before your arrival to help you make an informed decision about coming into hospital and we will discuss this further with you. If you have been 'detained' under the Mental Health Act (sometimes referred to as being 'sectioned') and are being admitted without your agreement we will explain your legal rights to you. You can find out more about what this means here.

Welcome to the unit

We'll show you round the ward and introduce you to staff and young people. Everyone understands how scary coming into hospital is so will try to help put you at ease. We’re all really friendly!

Watch our video to get an idea of what the ward looks like and to hear young people talking about their experience at Chalkhill. 

Over your first few days you’ll meet different members of the Chalkhill Team. In addition to the professionals mentioned above, we are supported by our wonderful catering, cleaning and administrative staff. There's a lot of new faces to get used to and we don’t expect you to remember who we all are straight away.

You’ll have a small team of professionals allocated to you as your ‘care team’ who will meet with you regularly. Both yourself, and your family or carers, will be asked for your feedback on a regular basis so that we can all review how things are going together; what’s helping and what’s not. We aim to keep you at the centre of your care and involved in as much of the decision making as you feel up to. Sometimes your family or carer will be invited to do some family work as part of your treatment.

Visiting home during your stay is a valuable part of your treatment, as it gives you a chance to put what you’ve learnt into practice and we will be able to see how well you are managing.

The length of time you stay with us varies widely from person to person. Your care plan will be tailored to suit your individual needs. We will work closely together with you and your family or carers so that you can return home as soon as possible.

We aim to address any immediate difficulties whilst you are in hospital. Your recovery journey will continue at home and we will provide you with, or signpost you to, community support to address longer term needs.


The ward is split over two floors. During the day you’ll spend time in the communal areas on the ground floor.

We expect everyone to go to our onsite school from 10am - 3pm (with regular breaks) on weekdays. Chalkhill's Education Centre is a Tier 4 CAMHS Secondary School, offering provision from Key Stage 3 through to Key Stage 5.

They offer a diverse and exciting curriculum, covering a broad range of academic and creative subjects alongside a dynamic enrichment programme; including the potential to engage with off-site activities. Their aim is for all students to be supported to make progress towards their goals spanning all areas: academic, physical, social, emotional and mental health needs; through the delivery of a highly personalised timetable, to meet the diverse needs of our students. 

At Chalkhill, access to education is seen as an important and integral part of the treatment and recovery programme and our intent is for all students to build in confidence and to succeed with their future next steps. 

We also expect you to attend our daily therapeutic activities afterwards. 

These are a really important part of your treatment plan and will help your recovery. We ask you to keep an open mind, get involved and try things out - you might even discover some new interests.

The ward can get busy at times. If at any point during your stay you would feel more comfortable being able to use a gender specific lounge area, or just need some quiet space to reflect alone, let us know and we will arrange this for you. 

The bedrooms are on the first floor; you'll have your own room with an en-suite shower and toilet. Between 8pm - 9pm everyone retires upstairs. The bedroom corridors are allocated by gender. Let us know which gender you identify with so we can get this right for you.

We understand that night time can be particularly difficult for some people. Our nursing staff are here to support you around the clock and there will always be staff around to help.

Visiting hours have been put in place to ensure members of staff are available to young people at critical points in each day. 

The visiting times are:

  • Ward opened for visiting at 15:45 after the end of education and afternoon snack.
  • Leave by 17:45 for dinner service – ward re-opened for visiting at 18:45
  • Leave by 19:45 for snack and end of the day.

We kindly ask that when you visit the ward you plan to leave 15 minutes before each meal time and leave the ward by 19:45 ready for the end of the day.

To book a visit please call the ward on 01444 472670 and a member of the ward team can book you in to a slot. We try to limit the number of visitors on the ward at the same time due to space limitations.

During school holidays there are additional morning visiting slots available.

The ward is made up of a number of trained individuals from different professional backgrounds this includes healthcare support workers, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy, family therapy, social work and consultant psychiatry. Everyone will explain who they are and what they can support you with when you meet them. 

When you're admitted to Chalkhill try not to bring too many things with you as there is limited storage space.

Here are some suggestions of what might be useful:

  • Toiletries: shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, sanitary products, deodorant, soap
  • Several changes of clothing, (including some long sleeved tops if you have any wounds on your arms), nightwear, dressing gown, slippers and a towel. Please bring a laundry bag to enable your family to take your washing home. It would be really helpful if you could name your belongings
  • Bedding is provided. You may want to bring your own duvet cover with you, if so, please ensure it is fire retardant
  • Things to help you to occupy yourself and to self sooth, for example:
    • Reading books
    • Writing journals
    • Puzzle books
    • Colouring / sketching books
    • Mindfulness activities
    • Cuddly toy
    • Sensory items, fidget toys and tangles
    • Photos of family, pets and friends
    • Motivational quotes and positive messages 
    • Any items to support your spiritual or religious needs, e.g. a prayer mat or book. 

We have a wide selection of board games, computer games, jigsaws, books, art materials and DVDs for you to use. We also facilitate recovery focused activities including music, yoga, baking, mindfulness, dance, relaxation, art, nature walks and a reading round. 

Please leave your smart phone and laptop at home! To protect yourself and other young people, we do not allow phones or devices with camera facilities or access to the internet. We understand it is important for you to stay connected with family and friends though so you can bring, or we will provide, a basic phone for you to text or ring people during your stay. If you would like to borrow one please bring your SIM card with you.

You may want to bring your own MP3 player and wireless headphones so that you can listen to music during your stay.

Basic tablets such as amazon fire tablets are permitted however staff with set up parental controls to limit access to certain functions and social media.

Staff may request to check electronic devices if misuse is suspected. 

Netflix, Spotify, Disney+ etc are permitted.

Avoid bringing in electrical items. If you do bring any such items, for example a hairdryer or hair straighteners, these will need to be checked by our works department before use (which may take a few days to arrange). These items will be stored safely by staff for you to use when needed.

All NHS sites are strictly no smoking. Please do not bring any cigarettes and e-cigarettes or vapes as you cannot use these on site. If you do smoke we can arrange for nicotine replacement therapy to be prescribed and will also offer support advice and treatment to help you stop smoking.

All patients, staff and visitors are entitled to expect that Chalkhill hospital will provide a safe and secure environment whilst they are within the building. To aid this, the decision has been made to restrict certain items being brought into the hospital. Please show staff all items coming on to the ward so that they can be risk assessed. 

Any items brought to the hospital may be assessed as being potentially compromising to the security of the hospital or to the safety of staff and patients. We may need to remove certain items, which we will either dispose of or store safely and return to you when you leave. On arrival we will check your belongings and we have a search policy that we will implement if needed. 

Please leave any valuable items at home and only bring a small amount of cash with you as we cannot be held responsible for loss or damage to items.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists has produced several publications documenting and exploring the quality improvement work done with services for children and young people. You can also see the standards and related documents here

How to get here

By bus

Many bus services stop outside the main entrance to Princes Royal Hospital, including:

Compass Bus: 30, 31, 31A, 33, 33A, 39, 62, 89, 166

Metrobus: 270, 271, 272. Free travel is provided to hospital patients plus a companion in possession of an in-date hospital letter, email or text message. The date of the appointment must be the same as the date the person is travelling. They are valid for boarding and alighting at all stops in the following sections of route: Brighton and Perrymount Road (Haywards Heath).

Handcross District Community Bus: offers a limited service (route 3 - Fridays only). For information and bookings call 01444 400212.

By train

The nearest train station is Haywards Heath and the hospital is 30 to 40 minutes’ walk, some of which is moderately uphill. Taxis are normally available at the station. The station is on the London to Brighton line with frequent trains.

Regular buses run to the hospital from Perrymount Road, which is a two-minute walk from the station. Turn right from the front entrance, follow road round to the right and cross the road to the bus stop.

Parking information

Very limited free onsite parking. There is pay and display parking at Princess Royal Hospital and limited parking available on nearby residential streets.

Visit the Princess Royal Hospital's website for more information about parking and how to get there.

Opening times

  • Inpatient: 24 hours per day, 7 days per week
  • Office: 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday