Young people vote health education programme overall winner

Posted on 8th November, 2005

‘On the Edge’, a programme that explores the issues surrounding emerging psychosis in young people, has won the overall national Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) category of the National Institute for Mental Health in England’s Positive Practice Awards. It was judged by a group of young people with experience in the use of mental health services and came top of the 117 entries submitted. The programme also jointly won the User Input Category. The total prize awarded is £4000, to further the aims of the project, and will be presented by Liam Byrne MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Care Services, at the National CAMHS Support Services Awards Ceremony, to be held at Chelsea Football Club on Monday 28th November. The programme was also successful in the summer at the NHS Health and Social Awards winning the mental health category for the South Region and now goes through to the national awards competition on 13th December 2005. Iain Tulley, Chief Executive at the Devon Partnership NHS Trust comments: “Having won a third award clearly demonstrates what an innovative and successful programme ‘On the Edge’ is, and the importance it can play in reaching out to young people in helping them understand mental health issues. I would like to congratulate all those involved in the success of this excellent project.” The ‘On the Edge’ programme consists of three phases including 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 can then 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 programme 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 play toured for six months across England, organised by Exeter-based Exstream Theatre Company.  The programme supports the development of early intervention services in England and 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.