Oxford Mental Health Forum, a website for people living in Oxfordshire affected by mental illness, has been commended by The British Medical Association in a prestigious annual awards ceremony.

The BMA Patient Information Awards (PIA) were established in 1997 to encourage excellence in the production and dissemination of accessible, well-designed and clinically balanced patient information. This year’s Patient Information Awards received over 120 entries with the judges choosing fewer than 20% of the total number to be awarded commended or highly commended awards.

The judges commented:

This is a fantastic website: it must be such a useful resource for people in Oxford affected by mental illness. A local GP, plus professionals from the Oxford NHS Trust have contributed, both to writing the content, and reviewing content… Users and carers are invited to share experiences in the forum, write articles for the blog, and contribute to surveys, some of which have precipitated further funded research by other mental health organisations.

Fiona Goodall, who has undertaken voluntary work at Oxford Health NHS FT and developed the website, said “I’m absolutely delighted that Oxford Mental Health Forum has been recognised by The British Medical Association. Whether you care for a family member affected by mental illness, you’ve suffered from a mental illness yourself, or you know friends or work colleagues who have; the impact of mental illness on sufferers and friends and family can be profound.”

“I felt there was an opportunity to develop a local resource that could help support people affected by mental illness, by giving users a “voice”, and helping to increase awareness and accessibility by providing access to a range of material on mental health, including articles, research, and information on local services.”

View the full list of commended resources on the BMA website.

Oxford Mental Health Forum is currently looking to establish a group of people to be involved in its development as a voluntary community project, including a variety of representatives from local mental health NHS and charity organisations and groups, university psychiatry teams, patient and carer representatives, and lay members. There are a number of ways to be involved, including contributing content, updating web pages, helping to produce the newsletter, or involvement as a key liaison contact. If you are interested, please contact: enquiries@oxfordmhf.org.uk.

For further information about Oxford Mental Health Forum, see: www.oxfordmhf.org.uk