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Local mental health practitioner scoops national award

Alan Wilmott with colleagues from the CAMHS team
Alan Wilmott with colleagues from the CAMHS team

Published: 15 May 2017

Torbay’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) are celebrating after one of their Advanced Practitioners was announced as the Mental Health Practice Award winner at the prestigious RCNi Nurse Awards 2017.*

The RCNi Nurse Awards recognise and celebrate the innovation, talent and skill of the UK’s nursing profession. Alan Wilmott, who works for CAMHS at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, was nominated for developing and implementing a five week course for parents called ‘understanding your child’s mental health’.

The five-week programme of mental health workshops is run for all parents whose child has received a child and mental health service assessment.

The relaxed and informal sessions, designed by Alan and the team, cover important topics such as how brains develop; how external influences, actions and real life events affect how we feel and the need to be able to feel safe sharing with people who we trust how we might be feeling.

There are opportunities for parents to share ideas about what they find helpful and unhelpful in supporting their children’s emotional health.

Feedback shows parents feel more confident and less isolated, have a better understanding of mental illness and are more able to create and enjoy positive experiences with their child.

Comments from parents who attended the workshops include: “I have learned to talk to my son at a better understanding level” and “It was helpful to me in understanding my daughter more, what her moods really mean and how we can deal with it in a more helpful way”.

Alan Wilmott, Advanced Practitioner Perinatal and Parent/Infant Mental Health at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Seeing the difference the workshops can make to people’s lives is extremely rewarding and, on behalf of CAMHS, I’d like to say how incredibly proud I am of this achievement.

“The workshops help parents and carers to develop resilience and a better understanding of what poor mental health might mean to their child or young person. We encourage parents to try fun, creative activities to explore mental health and offer ideas about activities that help foster a positive, playful relationship with children.

“It provides an opportunity for reflection, but also reassurance that ruptures in relationships are inevitable – what is important to the young person is to learn that ruptures are repairable. With this understanding, parents, carers and young people have an opportunity to understand their own mental health in a different way.

“We now look forward to continuing to develop and enhance this programme in Torbay.”

Mairead McAlinden, Chief Executive for Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, added: “I am delighted that Alan and the team have been recognised for their initiative in developing this programme, and for the innovative design that made it so successful.

“Seeing our staff take their ideas and develop them in to successful services is inspiring and also shows how well teams are working in new ways – even with our funding challenges – to deliver the best care to local young people and their families. I’m incredibly proud of the whole team – they fully deserve this national recognition.”

A full case study about Alan, the team and the programme can be found on the RCNi website.

This year’s ceremony took place in London on Friday 5 May. Further information about the RCNi Nurse Awards can be found on their website.

Further information:

*RCNi is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal College of Nursing. RCNi produces eleven nursing publications including Nursing Standard, the UK’s best-selling nursing journal, and a range of specialist journals. RCNi also hosts the annual Nurse Awards, celebrating excellence in nursing, and the RCN Bulletin Jobs Fairs, the largest recruitment events for nurses in the UK.