Vivien Hughes, Addaction manager from the Young Person’s Substance Misuse Service (YZUP), said: “We were delighted to be shortlisted in this category and we were up against two NHS trusts who had also been nominated, so a very competitive category. When they read out our name we were blown away. Of course we are immensely proud.
“Mind and Body was launched about four years ago with the aim to support young people who do not meet the thresholds of specialist mental health services but who require support. Since then we’ve really grown.
“This latest award makes it a hat trick of wins for the Mind and Body programme as last year we also won two other national awards from the Royal Society for Public Health, winning the Public Mental Health and Wellbeing Award as well as the overall Public Health Minister’s Award for our work around adolescent self-harm. The awards are great recognition for our staff and have strengthened our resolve to expand delivery so we can reach more people.
“Our most recent award also contributes to the overall recognition of the quality of the service, the importance of young people having access to early mental health intervention but also the achievement of staff and the talented people working within the service.”
The programme was first designed and delivered by Addaction Young People services in Kent, before funding was obtained through NHS England to enable it to be offered in Cornwall.
Last year, NHS Kernow agreed to provide funding to deliver the programme to run in community settings so that it could be offered right across the county.
Mark Rundle, NHS Kernow’s commissioning project manager for the children and young people’s programme, said: “We are delighted that the programme and its amazing staff have received this recognition.
“NHS Kernow can see the very real value of this type of early intervention. Evaluation of the programme has demonstrated a reduction in self-harming thoughts and action and also highlighted the benefits gained including improved emotional wellbeing, communication and engagement at school.”
Young people are referred into the programme, complete an assessment, and then are offered a series of interactive group sessions and one-to-ones that encourage open discussion about mental health and related issues.
These groups are a safe place to talk about topics that are often stigmatised. Young people are able to explore thoughts and actions in relation to self-harm, looking at why risks are taken and how to reduce them, and help develop communication, self-expression and assertiveness skills. It aims to provide students with strategies to reduce their risk-taking behaviour, improve their emotional wellbeing, and build life-long emotional resilience strategies.
A student from Cornwall, who is referred to only as Adam to protect his identity, said about the service:
“The programme gives me a way of expressing how I feel, to talk about mental health and say ‘I’m not ok’ and know others struggle too.”
The programme was developed in consultation with young people, professionals from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and notable expert on adolescent self-harm, Dr Terence Niece.
From L-R: Sophie Beer (team leader, Kent); Bryony Wicks (team leader, Kent); Viv Hughes (manager, Cornwall MAB), and Rick Bradley (national MAB lead, Kent).