Supported by Mental Health Strategies


  • Dr Maggie Cork, chief executive, Leicestershire Partnership trust
  • Angela Greatley, acting chief executive, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health
  • James Fitton, director, Mental Health Strategies

Winner Avon & Wilts Mental Health Partnership Trust

Mental health promotion for nine and 10-year-olds is provided through cognitive behavioural therapy by school nurses. Children have said the service has helped them deal with anxious and unhappy feelings

Mental health problems in children are common and increasing. They can significantly interfere with a child's interpersonal and academic functioning and if untreated can become chronic and unremitting. However, it is estimated that only 22 per cent of children with significant mental health problems actually get help from specialist child and adolescent mental health services.

The emotional health promotion programme for children takes cognitive behavioural therapy into schools in Bath and North East Somerset. School nurses trained and supervised in CBT by specialist mental health services delivered hour-long sessions in recognising anxious or unhappy feelings, relaxing and feeling better, identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts and overcoming worries to nine and 10-year-olds.

Based on evidence from Australia that shows preventive school-based CBT can be effective in promoting positive mental health, the FRIENDS sessions are not routinely used in the UK but have been reviewed as effective by the World Health Organisation. The Avon and Wiltshire programme was devised after a consultation with local children showed that issues around emotional health were a major concern.

It was assessed by a panel of children before being commissioned. The sessions include group activities and each child completes a work book. After each session, feedback is compiled to inform and shape the programme.

In the first year, 843 children completed the programme and by the end of its third year almost 200 children from 30 schools will have participated. In an evaluation, the self esteem of participating children increased and levels of anxiety reduced. Three-quarters of children surveyed about FRIENDS said it was fun and would recommend it to a friend and almost half had used their new skills to help someone else.

Work is now under way to see how the programme can be adapted for children for whom English is not a first language.

The judges said the scheme showed good value for money, was an excellent use of non-specialist staff and the evidence base was strong.

FRIENDS school-based CBT programme, contact neil.simpson

Highly commended Central and North West London Mental Health trust

The trust believes this to be the first multidisciplinary home treatment team for older people with mental illness in the UK

Local clinicians recognised that home treatment could provide an effective a form of care focusing on the needs and wishes of older adults.

Covering the inner-city areas of North Westminster and North Kensington, a multidisciplinary team functions similarly to a home treatment team for adults of working age, offering an alternative to admission for older adults with both functional and organic mental health problems.

Operating seven days a week, 8am-8pm, with an out-of-hours on-call facility, the team generally works with clients for up to eight weeks to help prevent admission and facilitate early discharge from inpatient care. Previously, community services were only available 9am-5pm on weekdays. The families of clients are given the team's number and each client is phoned in the evening before the on-call facility starts.

Outcomes of the project are currently being measured. Anticipated outcomes include a reduction in bed use, reductions in average length of stay and increased user and care satisfaction.

Home treatment service for older adults, contact

Finalist Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Trust

The project works with people with emotional and mental health difficulties and who are often described as having complex needs or a personality disorder

Based on the therapeutic community model, the service offers a range of therapies around active engagement and pre-therapy groups, an intensive group programme, an intensive day programme and post-therapy services to offer support to clients for employment, education, social relationships and re-integration with society.

Service users helped set up the service and recruit staff. Outcomes include a massive reduction in client use of inpatient beds and reductions in self harm, visits to GPs, contact with community mental health teams and prescribing.

Thames Valley initiative, contact:

Finalist Newham Asian Women's Project

Funded by the Newham Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, this project is managed by the Newham Asian Women's Project and works with clients aged eight to 25

Research shows that Asian women are up to three times more likely to self harm than any other sector of the population and at a younger age, but often do not enter the mental health system until they are in crisis. The project focuses on providing a prevention and intervention service in the early stages of mental health difficulties.

Its outreach work includes school-based workshops, day activities, weekend residential and community development work with faith organisations and their leaders. It also delivers training in early detection of problems to primary care workers and other community professionals.

Preventing self harm among women and young girls, contact

Finalist Central Manchester and Manchester Children's university hospitals trust

Dedicated ear, nose and throat service for people with Down's syndrome

People with Down's syndrome have a high incidence of hearing problems which contribute to learning difficulties.

However, there is little or no provision for dedicated ear, nose and throat services for adults with Down's syndrome and provision for children in local services is patchy. This clinic is the first of its kind in the UK and functions across a number of trusts around Manchester.

It is hoped the project will be a step in establishing the first national Down's syndrome clinic to develop research.

ENT and hearing clinic for children with Down's syndrome, contact