positive practice awardsThe winners of the Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards were announced last Thursday, which celebrated some of the best in mental health practice.

At the event, held at Sheffield United’s ground, Bramall Lane, all those nominated, along with a selection of MPs and leading figures in mental health and health services, came together to celebrate some of the positive mental health practice that goes on across the country.

Dr Mark Porter hosted the awards, and he set the scene for the night. He said that welcome advances had been made in mental health services and moving towards equality with physical health services, but that there was still a long way to go. “Minimum waiting times are good but we aren’t there yet. Each step is a great step but it is the destination we are looking to.”

Later, Care Services Minister, Norman Lamb, spoke about the need for parity between mental and physical health. “It’s about basic equality,” he said. “How can it be right that someone with suspected cancer can have a specialist appointment within two weeks, but someone experiencing a first episode of psychosis doesn’t?”

Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England's national clinical director for mental health, praised the new NHS 5-year plan for including mental health – one of only two specific health areas to be mentioned – the other being cancer. “For the first time in my life in the heart of an NHS document is mental health,” she said. 

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Labour MP for Barnsley East, Mark Dugher, who played an acoustic set, which received a warm reception. Following the conclusion of the ceremony, there was a disco.

It was also announced that the awards ceremony for the 2015 Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards will be held in Newcastle.

But the high point of the evening was the awards themselves, which celebrated a variety of services, organisations and individuals. The winners were:

Integrating Mental & Physical Healthcare: Psychological Medicine Service

Innovation in Child and Adolescent Services: Harmless

Reducing Stigma: Kim Parker

Making a Difference: Mark Thorpe

BME: The Football & Music Project (FAM)

Mental Wellbeing of Staff: Mindfulness for Staff

Patient Experience: Skin Camouflage Service

Partnership Working: Wandsworth Psychological Therapies & Wellbeing Service

Commissioning in Mental Health: West Cheshire CCG

Older People’s Mental Health: Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

Innovation in Mental Health Primary Care: The Practitioner Health Programme

Mental Health Administrator: Carly Russell

Mental Health and Criminal Justice: MAC-UK

Art Mental Health and Wellbeing: Raw Sounds

Improving Mental Health in Crisis: NTW Initial Response Team.