Mental health

Celebrating good practice in mental health

Mental health nurses every day, go above and beyond, seeking ways to work with patients and their families to promote understanding of mental illness and support recovery.

In addition to highlighting those who receive prestigious national awards, this space seeks to share good practice, innovation and highlight those providing outstanding care and transforming care provision. 

Celebrating good practice 

Geoff Brennan wins RCNi Mental Health Nursing Award 2020 

Geoff is committed to eliminating restraint and restrictive practices used on inpatients with mental ill health or learning disabilities throughout the UK and across the world. Championing Safewards model he inspires and encourages ways to minimise aggression and challenging behaviour while promoting safety and maintaining personal dignity for people who are in crisis on acute inpatient wards. Over the past 30 years he has created carers’ groups and benchmarks, delivered projects and research, undertaken inspections and chaired acute care forums. He is executive director for Star Wards, part of social justice charity Bright, providing practical ideas and sharing examples from and for mental health ward staff. Twitter @Safewards

RCNI Finalists 2020

Ardenleigh womens secure blended service - Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. Twitter: @bsmmhft

Euan Hails - Aneurin Bevan University Health Board. Twitter: @HailsEuan 

Positive and safe care team - Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust. Twitter: @CNTWNHS

We can talk - Healthy Teen Minds. Twitter: @TweetTeenMinds
This team of nurses and young people with lived experience has developed and delivers innovative training to hospital staff to improve the experience and outcomes for children and young people attending hospital in mental health crisis following self-harm or attempted suicide. The training has been delivered to more than 2,000 staff across England, with the overwhelming majority reporting improved knowledge and confidence, and 99% saying it would change their practice. Trusts have reported a reduction in the number of risk incidents where previously they had been routine and improved management of children and young people waiting for mental health assessments.

The Skellern Lecture

The Skellern Lecture is a prestige annual event which celebrates advances in the field of Mental Health & Mental Health Nursing. The JPMHN Life Time Achievement Award recognises a sustained contribution to the field of mental health. Award winners are announced at the RCN MHNAUK international research conference. This event includes the 2020 Skellern Lecturer: Dr Russell Ashmore and the 2020 JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor Eimear Muir-Cochrane. View event details.

Rachel Luby wins RCNi Mental Health Nursing Award 2019

Clinical practice lead Rachel Luby is on a mission to transform sexual health and expression and approaches to intimacy in her forensic mental health unit. She believed existing practice failed to recognise that patients are sexual beings who should not have to give up healthy sexual expression while in hospital, which could make initiating new relationships after they leave hospital more difficult. She has driven policy and guideline changes, and a sexual health nurse has attended the ward to offer screening, advice and treatment. Plans include a weekly group on love, sex and intimacy and a sexual expression care plan for each patient. Rachel Luby's blog reflects on living with mental illness and working in mental health. See: The how to and not to guide of mental health care... a reflection

South West London BAME Nurse Development Team 2019

This team created a customised leadership and professional development programme for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) mental health nurses. A wide range of initiatives aimed at harnessing their talent included focus groups with BAME staff, service users and carers, and support for line managers and senior staff to give feedback and coach BAME nurses. The programme also helped improve the diversity of interview panels and offered participants secondment and development opportunities. Of the 37 band 3 to 7 participants recruited to the programme, 38% were promoted or developed their careers subsequently, while 100% of those who applied for a job were shortlisted. You can read more about the programme and its ethos in this Guardian article.

Brookside young people’s mental health team win prestigious Mental Health Practice Award 2019

This team transformed the mental healthcare of children and young people, turning services from inadequate to outstanding in 18 months. When the Brookside Adolescent Inpatient Unit was closed for modernisation, the team decided to treat patients at home. It now offers 24-hour crisis provision, increasing scope for positive risk-taking and treating young people in the least restrictive environment. The home treatment team is keeping young people with emotional dysregulation and self-harm out of hospital. In one year it prevented 244 admissions. Inpatient length of stay has been significantly reduced to an average of 25 days. Restraint incidents have fallen dramatically. See: Brookside wins RCNi Award for Mental Health Practice Award.

Celebrating events

Improving Ghanaian mental health care

This exciting project has been initiated by mental health nurses who are keen to improve mental health care in Ghana.  On 10 July 2018 over 50 people met for a conference and workshop at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in London. This was a gathering of minds and expertise with nurses, doctors, occupational therapists and others – all wanting to do their part to improve mental health care in Ghana. Find out more about the Ghana UK Mental Health Alliance 2018.

Student theatre mental health

Finding balance

Finding Balance is a collaborative ‘digital interactive theatre’ (DIT) project designed and delivered as a public health/public engagement activity to raise awareness of mental health about ‘low level stress and anxiety’. View the case study.

Page last updated - 06/04/2021