Winner: Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health foundation trust

The Meriden programme promotes family-sensitive mental health services and gives clinical staff, service users and carers skills to work with families

In this winning entry, therapists are instructed in being trainers and supervisors, and service users and carers have been taught to develop as trainers and in therapeutic roles.

Programme work has focused on areas such as family interventions within early intervention in psychosis and older adult services, the development of family work in inpatient and acute services and crisis/home treatment teams.

A caring for carers programme has been adapted for carers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and for those with family members using substance misuse and alcohol services. Work has also been done with children whose parents have mental health problems.

Hosted within Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health foundation trust, the scheme is celebrating its 10th anniversary. It has trained 2,500 therapists and around 140 trainers in the West Midlands region and disseminates its approach nationally and internationally.

Service users and carers report feeling more involved in the care process, that they feel listened to by healthcare professionals and feel more in control should a family member have a relapse.

The judges said the project demonstrated a clear and passionate understanding of the model, evidence for its success and is an example of how to achieve change within an organisation, while showing great persistence in implementing their approach.

The Meriden programme, contact

Finalist: Cheshire and Wirral Partnership foundation trust and Airbus UK

The service delivers an occupational and staff support service to a major manufacturing company.

Before the project was developed, sickness absence due to mental ill health was 3.78 per cent, with the average length of time off being 45 days.

The service was provided on site, with a multidisciplinary team providing care for issues ranging from minor stress to re-integrating people with severe mental health problems back into the workplace. The time lost due to mental ill health has fallen by 10,000 hours and the average length of absence has fallen to 35 days.

Occupational psychiatry scheme, contact

Finalist: North East Lincolnshire PCT

This nurse-led team offers a community-based "one-stop shop" for families with a child with autistic spectrum disorder and related conditions. The North East Lincolnshire PCT-based service offers therapeutic and educational interventions, working directly with the parent/carer, the referred child and siblings. These include group work, whole-family work, therapeutic play sessions, one-to-one days, family days, a parent support group and parent and child peer mentors.

The service aims to improve the well-being of parents and children, reduce family violence and the risk factors for criminal and anti-social behaviour.

FAST - family action support team, contact

Finalist: South London and Maudsley foundation trust

The project aims to address the shortfall in the provision of psycho-social therapies in mental health services for a traditionally marginalised and stigmatised group: adults with severe mental illness.

It offers integrated psychological and social interventions that are as near as possible replications of those shown to be effective in research trials. The interventions, delivered by a multidisciplinary team, aim to improve social interaction, reduce persistent and distressing symptoms, improve physical well-being and social contact and reduce use of alcohol and illicit substances.

SHARP team - social inclusion, hope and recovery project, contact

Finalist: Southampton City PCT

Southampton City PCT's Saucepans project is a single point of contact for all child and adolescent mental health service referrals in the locality.

The scheme offers short-term early intervention for children and young people up to the age of 18 who would otherwise not receive input from specialist mental health services or would face a lengthy wait to get it.

Aiming to reduce inappropriate referrals and to signpost families to appropriate services where necessary, the service aims to eliminate waiting times for CAMH services. It also works to reduce the number who later become involved in anti-social behaviour.

Saucepans - community child and adolescent mental health service, contact

Finalist: Torbay Care trust

The emotional support scheme for carers gives unpaid carers access to a qualified counsellor for help with the emotional effects of their role. It provides up to 10 sessions of confidential one-to-one support with a qualified counsellor, free of charge. The sessions operate under a voucher scheme and up to 100 carers are expected to use it annually.

The scheme began in response to concerns about the significant impact on carers' health that can arise from the psychological and emotional stress of caring and the difficulties that carers can have in accessing NHS counselling services.

The judges said the scheme had clear benefits for carers and had been well planned.

Emotional support for carers, contact