Exeter mental health service wins national award

Posted on 14th December, 2012

One of the Trust's mental health services in Exeter has been named as the best local service in England run by the national charity Rethink Mental Illness.

The charity, which runs over 250 services in England, presented the Exeter service with its Best Service award at an event in Nottingham last month. Each year the charity awards people and services that have significantly improved the lives of people affected by mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The Alternative to Care service, funded by Devon Partnership NHS Trust, was launched in 2010 and provides a recovery focused and personalised support service in the community. The service provides both accommodation and support to people in their own home. The aim of the service is to enable people who have been in long term care to move on and also to provide an alternative to residential care.

The service supports people to become an active part of the community and to live independently. Alternative to Care helps people with complex mental health needs to develop emotional skills, such as managing relationships, develop mental resilience and practical skills like cooking, managing a tenancy and looking for a job.

Laura Lee is the service’s manager. She says: “We know that all the services at Rethink Mental Illness do amazing work, so we were particularly pleased to be one of the winners. People with mental illness can have good quality of life so the staff here work tirelessly to help them achieve this. We’ve had fantastic outcomes with many of our residents finding voluntary work and others going on to paid employment.”

Jacqui Blackmore, Project Manager - Accommodation and Support Services for Devon Partnership Trust says: “Since Alternative to Care was commissioned two years ago we have a seen reduction in the use of residential care. A significant number of people who had been in care for 10-20 years have had the opportunity to move on from care into the Community. People using the service have been very positive about the difference it has made to their lives and their own personal recovery.