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Kent project to address self-harm wins a hat-trick of awards

User AvatarPosted by Amanda Crawford at 29/11/2018 14:32:32

The Mind and Body programme has scooped a third award within a year for its success in helping young people in Kent reduce risky behaviours, including self-harm.

The programme, commissioned by Kent’s Clinical Commissioning Groups and delivered by professionals from substance misuse and mental health charity Addaction, has won the Innovation in Children and Young People’s Mental Health award at the National Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards.

This latest award makes it a hat-trick of wins for Mind and Body which last year also won two other national awards from the Royal Society for Public Health, claiming the Public Mental Health and Wellbeing Award as well as the overall Public Health Minister’s Award for work around adolescent self-harm. 

Caroline Selkirk, Managing Director of the four NHS clinical commissioning groups in east Kent, said:

“Taking this programme into schools and community groups means that we are reaching out to children and young people rather than waiting for them to come to us for help. The results of this approach are really encouraging and I’m pleased that the hard work of all those involved has been recognised by these awards.”

Dr Enger-Malasi, who is a GP in Herne Bay and leads the children and young people’s mental health and emotional well-being programme in east Kent, said:

“An independent evaluation found that in Kent, a significant number of young people experienced a decrease in self-harming actions or did not engage in any self-harm behaviours whilst engaged in the programme so it’s not surprising it has won awards and is being rolled out in other counties.”

Rick Bradley, Addaction’s Operations Manager for Mind and Body, said:

“Winning this award contributes to the overall recognition of the quality of our service and the importance of young people having access to early mental health intervention. It is also great recognition for our skilled and dedicated staff and strengthens our resolve to expand the delivery of Mind and Body to reach more people in the future.”

Mind and Body was initially piloted in Canterbury in 2014 to support young people who do not meet the thresholds of specialist mental health services but who require more support than can be offered through universal services.  The programme was developed in consultation with young people, as well as with professionals and academics specialising in early intervention and self harm.

Although designed and delivered by Addaction in Kent, Mind and Body also now operates in Cornwall and has been successfully piloted in Lancashire. The programme has recently secured funding to begin delivery in Lincolnshire in 2019.

The programme is predominantly delivered with small groups of young people, helping them to reduce feelings of stigma and isolation, as participants work alongside other people like them who’ve experienced similar issues.

Whilst the vast majority of programmes are delivered in secondary schools, Mind and Body also works in the community, supporting young people referred in to the service from the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Service, Early Help and GPs. In Kent, there is additional support for parents and carers of young people. 

One of Mind and Body’s Kent participants said about the service: ““I’ve found the sessions very helpful and positive for me as before them I thought very negatively about myself and was very shy. The sessions have helped me open up and come to terms with my self harm and unhelpful thinking and the group has given me ways to cope with these feelings and actually change the way I think.”

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