Forensic Mental Health Service wins overall Advancing Healthcare Award

The Forensic Mental Health Service, based in Holywell Hospital, are celebrating after being named overall winner at Northern Ireland’s first Advancing Healthcare Awards (AHA). The Service also won the award for Promoting Person Centred Practice.

The Advancing Healthcare Awards recognises the achievements of Allied Health Professions (AHP’s) in Northern Ireland by raising their profile and providing a greater understanding of how this group of professionals contribute to high quality patient care.

The Forensic Mental Health Team supports offenders with mental health disorders to meet their potential through purposeful activity, improving their self-worth and social inclusion. These individuals are often stigmatised, isolated and have poor experiences of services they engage with.

The service developed a programme of creative activities aimed at engaging these service users including a film-making project, a shared reading project, a digital art group and creative writing classes. Participants develop a sense of community, where they can enjoy activities from which they can gain a sense of achievement and, above all, address issues they have with loneliness and risk to others.

One participant commented “I have developed a sense of confidence in expressing myself and in talking about things I have found difficult to talk about before. I now trust myself more to make decisions. I have more confidence in myself and I can get on with other people better.” Many of the service users have chosen to return to these activity groups to act as mentors to others, indicating willingness for continued involvement and a desire to help others maximise their participation in the projects.

Jane Reynolds, Occupational Therapist and Forensic Practitioner, for the Northern Trust said: “The Forensic Mental health Service aims to enable our service users to realise their potential through enjoyable and purposeful activity. They are often victims of trauma and have had few opportunities for positive creative experiences which offer a different way to experience life. The programme of creative activities aims to appeal to and engage these patients in a collaborative and meaningful way which helps to promote recovery and skills development”.

Jim Wells, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, who presented the Awards said, "The finalists are excellent examples of the positive impact AHP practice has in improving outcomes for patients, clients and carers. Well done to all the winners and finalists!"

 
Jim Wells MLA, Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety; Terry McCabe, Team Leader, Forensic Mental Health Team; Jane Reynolds, Occupational Therapist/Forensic Practitioner for the Northern Trust

Page last updated:09 December 2014