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Clinical psychology in paediatric neurosciences

What is a clinical psychologist?

The clinical psychologist working in neurosciences at Sheffield Children’s Hospital is Dr Helen Russell. They support young people and families at times of emotional difficulty, including listening to your concerns and trying to understand your situation to find a helpful way forward.

They will also find changes in thinking skills and behaviour that can be made by changes that have happened in the brain.

Clinical psychologists work closely with other members of the Neurosciences and Neuro-Rehabilitation teams, which includes doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and speech and language therapists.

Why is there a clinical psychologist available for you?

Being in hospital is often a very stressful and worrying time. You, your family and your child may have many emotional reactions.

The clinical psychologist can talk with parents and carers about:


  • your current concerns and worries
  • your questions about the impact on your child’s emotional wellbeing or abilities
  • how to help and manage any changes or difficulties
  • how you and the family are feeling


They can also help your child with:


  • their understanding of what has happened
  • talking through worries or anxieties
  • assessment and help for any emotional reactions
  • assessments and help for changes in the brain

Sometimes information from appointments will be shared with the team involved in your child’s care while your child is in hospital.

What is a neuropsychological assessment?

For some young people who have had an injury or surgery to the brain, there may be a change in their cognitive functions (thinking skills). Neuropsychology is about understanding these skills and how they link with what tasks a young person can do.

Clinical psychologists have skills in assessing and helping to improve the brain’s cognitive functions.

Any assessment will be made to suit your child’s needs. It may involve them being asked to solve puzzles, answer questions, and do pencil and paper tasks. These tasks give more information about their language, learning, memory, attention and feeling skills. This gives ways to help you and the teams working with your child.

A deeper assessment may be needed later, and your child can be referred for this assessment after leaving the hospital if needed.

When can we see the clinical psychologist?

You can ask one of your nursing team to contact the clinical psychologist to request an appointment. If you see the clinical psychologist on the ward, you can also ask them directly.

Dr Helen Russell visits the ward every day Monday to Friday.

Where will we be seen?

A private room can be given or you can be seen by the bedside. This room is just off the main bay, but still on the ward.

What about after we leave the hospital?

There are outpatient services that may be available to you. Please ask about referrals for these services or to talk about other options if you would like any further information.

Contact us

If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact:

Helen Russell
Clinical Psychologist,
Neurosciences Ward 5, Sheffield Children’s Hospital

For administration:

Clinical Psychology Department
Sheffield Children’s Hospital
3 Northumberland Road
S10 2TT
0114 271 7296

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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United Kingdom

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