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‘On the Edge’ education project wins regional NHS Health and Social Care Award

Posted on 21st July, 2005

There was success for the innovative health education programme – ‘On the Edge’ – at the NHS Health and Social Care Awards* for the South Region held in London on 14th July.  Winning in the mental health category the ‘On the Edge’ programme explores the issues surrounding emerging psychosis in young people. The programme consists of three phases and includes an interactive play where the audience sees the experience of psychosis as seen through the eyes of a young man, his family and friends. The audience then can get involved in asking questions and making suggestions about how the characters can tackle their problems. The play is part of a major health education project for young people 14 and upwards. The play and associated educational materials were developed as a collaboration between John Somers, Senior Lecturer in Applied Drama at the School of Performing Arts, Exeter University and Glenn Roberts of the Devon Partnership NHS Trust. The programme supports the development of early intervention services in England. The play has recently completed a national tour, performed by Exstream Theatre Company, where approximately 120 performances were held across the country.  Carly Mays, Company Manager of Exstream Theatre Company says: “This is a really exciting time for us as a company. This award is a great recognition of the individuals and organisations that have helped to steer the work over the past four years. Many people have given their free time and energy to the project and we are honoured to receive this award on behalf of them and the actors who toured ‘On the Edge’ around the country. The national tour follows funding earlier in the year of £150,000 from the Wellcome Trust and a further £15,000 from the National Institute of Mental Health in England (NIMHE).
Iain Tulley, Chief Executive at the Devon Partnership NHS Trust comments: “I am delighted that ‘On the Edge’ has received the recognition it so rightly deserves. It is an excellent example of a collaborative approach that engages young people in a meaningful way in understanding mental health issues. As Glenn Roberts, Consultant in Rehabilitation Psychiatry from the Devon Partnership NHS Trust, adds:  "This has been a really exciting project to be involved in and we were absolutely thrilled to win. The project has been recognised nationally as an excellent example of positive practice in reducing stigma, and promoting more open discussion, understanding and compassion in young people concerning severe mental health problems.”
The annual Health and Social Care Awards is an opportunity for individuals and teams to have their innovation and excellent care recognised and rewarded -  Having won the South Regional award, On the Edge now goes through to the national awards competition on 13th December 2005.