11-year-old Maisie from Haywards Heath sells toys to raise funds for mental health

An 11-year-old Haywards Heath girl who has suffered with mental health since a young age is striving to help others.

Maisie Pocock, who lives with her family in Bolnore Village, is selling handcrafted dog toys on Facebook to raise money for local mental health services.

Maisie is selling handcrafted dog toys to raise money for mental health services. Photo by Steve Robards

Maisie is selling handcrafted dog toys to raise money for mental health services. Photo by Steve Robards

The St Paul’s Catholic College student first started to experience anxiety at just 18 months and after struggling with day to day life for several years she was diagnosed with severe anxiety at aged seven.

Over the next four years she was also diagnosed with Autism, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s.

Mum Rachel, 38, said she was ‘really proud’, adding: “She has already raised £200 which is amazing. She wants to stop other children from going through what she has – she really is making a difference.”

For every toy sold on Maisie’s Facebook page Amaisieboo £1 is donated to Chalkhill, a specialist mental health service for children and young people based in Haywards Heath, which is provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

She wants to stop other children from going through what she has – she really is making a difference.

Rachel Pocock

Rachel said Maisie wanted to start selling the toys to give something back and help raise awareness of the mental health difficulties that children and young people can experience.

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Maisie Pocock, 11, with her dog Snoopy

Maisie Pocock, 11, with her dog Snoopy

She said: “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.”

Money raised from selling the toys will support the specialist local Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the area.

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.

It provides funding for specific projects, is able to offer support to patients and families, and helps to make hospital and clinical settings to feel more comfortable and inviting.

Felicity Louden, head of the charity, 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.”