A children’s community liaison nurse from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust has received national praise for her work on developing mental health services for school pupils.
Jo Bates, from the trust’s 0-19 Melton and Rutland school nursing team, was nominated for an award for the mental health work she has done with young people, their parents and carers, as well as with school nurses and teaching staff in schools.
“Being shortlisted for the award is a real honour and it’s very motivating to feel that you are making a difference”
Her trust said that, in Melton and Rutland, the percentage of young people attending school nurse drop-in clinics with emotional, mental health and behavioural issues was “high”.
Schools reported that 90% of their referrals to the school nursing service for additional support were in relation to emotional health and wellbeing, said the trust.
Over the last year, it said Ms Bates had led on a pilot project to help try and address the issue, after managers agreed to back her idea with funding.
She has run early intervention emotional health and wellbeing clinics in secondary schools, delivered training for both school nurses and school staff to give them additional skills in working with children with mental health problems.
She has also managed a clinical caseload to provide support – particularly for anxiety and depression, but also in relation to bullying, body image, self- confidence and self-harming behaviours – directly to young people who are waiting for access to child and adolescent mental health services, in many cases reducing the need for referrals.
“Jo’s innovative work has made a real difference to young people in the community”
The National Positive Practice in Mental Health awards are designed to share innovative practice in mental health across the country.
Ms Bates was one of three people shortlisted in the “making a difference” category and was “highly commended” at the awards ceremony in Newcastle last month.
She said: “Being shortlisted for the award is a real honour and it’s very motivating to feel that you are making a difference.”
Maggie Clarke, the trust’s professional lead for school nursing, said: “Jo’s innovative work has made a real difference to young people in the community.
“The Positive Practice in Mental Health awards are a great opportunity to share this good practice with others across the country, easing pressure on CAMHS,” she added.