Amazing Maisie - 11 year old sells handcrafted dog toys to raise funds for local mental health services

An inspirational young girl who has struggled with her mental health since a young age has started selling handcrafted dog toys to raise money to support the specialist local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in her area.

Maisie Pocock, age 11, first started to experience anxiety at the age of 18 months and after struggling with day to day life for several years, was diagnosed with severe anxiety at the age of seven. Over the next four years Maisie was also diagnosed with Autism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s.

‘Amaisieboo’ sells handcrafted dog toys from a Facebook page, and for every toy sold, £1 is donated to the Chalkhill, a specialist mental health service for children and young people based in Haywards Heath, which is provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

Rachel, Maisie’s mum, said: “Maisie wanted to start her own business to raise money for CAMHS to help other children like her, to give something back and help raise awareness of the mental health difficulties that children and young people can experience.

“Since she was young we knew that Maisie needed specialist support for her mental health, but due to services being so busy and oversubscribed, getting her into the service she needed was a struggle. It took a lot of determination and perseverance over several years, and even after receiving a diagnosis, it took a long time for her treatment to start.

“Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix or a cure for the difficulties that Maisie has, so we take each day as it comes and just try to find ways to make life a bit easier. We have taught Maisie many strategies and continue to build her toolbox with different coping mechanisms. The progress she has made and the confidence she has gained is amazing. She has such strength and resilience and I could not be prouder of her.”

Heads On, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s charity, work to improve the experience for people who use mental health services in Sussex and Hampshire. They provide funding for specific projects, are able to offer support to patients and families, and help to make hospital and clinical settings to feel more comfortable and inviting.

Felicity Louden, Head of Charity for Heads On, said: “We are so grateful to Maisie for her fundraising efforts, and for taking such initiative to come up with an idea that is so creative! She is a huge inspiration to children and young people and has shown that even with mental health difficulties it is absolutely possible to achieve your goals.

“Without the support of people like Maisie and her family it would not be possible for Heads On to continue their work to help support mental health services across Sussex and Hampshire.”

For more information about how you can support Heads On charity, go to www.headsoncharity.org.