A wellbeing peer mentor scheme which looks after the emotional welfare of prisoners in distress has won a national award.

Oxleas’ Mental Health Inreach Team at HMP Swaleside were named as winner of the Mental Health Category of the Patient Safety Awards 2017 at a ceremony in Manchester earlier this month.

The Patient Safety Awards are now in their 9th year and are a celebration of efforts by the NHS to improve the quality of healthcare.

The scheme was also highly commended in the Mental Health Category of the HSJ’s Value in Healthcare Awards 2017 in May and has been recognised with a High Sheriff’s Award.

It was set up by health practitioners Debbie Smith and Susie Duthoit and offers support through both one to one and group support sessions. All of the mentors are fellow offenders who are trained by Oxleas staff to deliver mental health support to those in need.

Debbie said: “People were slipping through the cracks when not meeting the criteria for inreach. Often the mentors are the first ones to give hope and understanding to these individuals, and their ownership of the scheme has been pivotal to its success.”

Keith Soper, Director of Forensic and Prison Services, said: “Recognition of this remarkable scheme continues. I have had the privilege of twice visiting the service to see the mentors in action and on both occasions I was thoroughly impressed with their commitment and the skill of Debbie and Susie in identifying a need and overcoming challenges to implement their vision. It is a service to be truly proud of and absolutely fits with our aim of improving lives.”


 

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