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BOATENG PRESENTS MENTAL HEALTH AWARDS

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The Mental Health Awards which recognise and reward good practice in ...
The Mental Health Awards which recognise and reward good practice in

the purchasing and provision of mental health services were presented

today in an awards ceremony attended by health minister Paul Boateng.

Amongst the awards, the£5,000 department of health sponsored

Voluntary Sector Award reinforces the new government's commitment to

encouraging the development of the full range of care required by

mentally ill people.

Delivering the opening at the Gosforth Park Hotel, Newcastle, Paul

Boateng said:

'Mental health is a high priority for this new government. It remains a key development area. It will be an important theme in the Green Paper we plan to publish later this year - 'Our Healthier Nation'.

'We are once again fortunate in having partners who share our

commitment to developing services. We are very pleased to be working

with Newcastle City Health NHS Trust, the Sainsbury Centre for Mental

Health and Breakthrough. We are also particularly grateful to Lilly

Psychiatry for their support.

'My congratulations go to the winner of the department of health

sponsored award The Leatherhead Clubhouse. The award reflects the

increasing importance and recognition being given to employment

issues for people with a mental illness. Such an approach reflects

the government's desire to reduce dependency and remove the barriers

that promote social exclusion.

'The voluntary sector plays a key role in developing the range of

care required by mentally ill people. This new government is

particularly keen to see services based on partnership between all

the stakeholders. It is exciting that this project is very much user

driven and has the support of the local health authority and social

services department.'

The Mental Health Awards also help to raise awareness of mental

health issues and combat the stigmatisation of mental illness.

Negative or distorted images of mental illness add greatly to the

suffering of those who have mental health problems, and their

friends, relatives and careers. People suffering from mental

illness emphasise that stigmatisation is one of the most debilitating

aspects of their illness.

Mr Boateng continued:

'I am confident the Mental Health Awards enhance the profile of

mental health services, reduce stigma and promote the development of

services people want.'

Notes

1. This annual scheme is organised by the Newcastle City Health

NHS Trust (NCHT) in partnership with the Department of Health and in

association with Lilly Psychiatry. It builds on the success of the

Sir Graham Day Award, organised annually since 1992 by NCHT. Award

sponsors also include the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and

Breakthrough.

2. The award categories are:

-- The Department of Health Voluntary Sector Award - is for

voluntary organisations which demonstrate good practice in

providing services for people with mental health problems.

Prize£5,000)

-- The Sir Graham Day Award - continues to reward innovation

and management in mental health services, focusing on

effective partnerships between agencies. Sir Graham Day,

the Award's namesake, is a retired industrialist and former

member of the NHS policy Board. This Award is sponsored by

Newcastle City Health NHS Trust. (Prize£5,000)

-- The Breakthrough/Lilly Psychiatry Award - is for examples

of working partnerships between professionals and users in

mental health services. Nominations for the Breakthrough

Award are invited from service users. This Award is

sponsored by Lilly Psychiatry. Breakthrough is a

publication for anyone with an interest in mental health,

and is written and produced by users. (Prize£5,000)

-- The Sainsbury Centre For Mental Health Award - is for joint

working between primary and secondary care teams and is

sponsored by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, which

undertakes research, service evaluation, service

development and training in mental health. (Prize£5,000)

3. The Voluntary Sector Award winners The Leatherhead Clubhouse

provides services for people with severe and enduring mental illness.

It is the first free-standing clubhouse in the UK and is responsible

for all its own personnel, finance and administration. It is a

support project for people with long-term mental health problems

which follows a non-clinical approach. Community support services are

provided by members and staff of the clubhouse and include help with

benefit entitlements, housing and advocacy, as well as assistance in

finding quality medical, psychological, pharmacological and substance

abuse services in the community. The clubhouse is also committed to

securing a range of choices of safe, decent and affordable housing

for members.

Members get the opportunity to secure employment, through a mixture

of part-time, time-limited placements whereby the clubhouse

guarantees coverage during member absences; and independent

employment whereby members are helped to secure and hold down

permanent employment. Users are empowered, through employment and

education, to break the cycle of dependency.

4. There were two runner up highly commended projects - the

Wokingham MIND Crisis House and the Hulme Action Resource Project.

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