Dr Joe Clacey was surprised and delighted to hear he had won the Exceptional People Award for February.

“And also, a little bit embarrassed – I don’t do well with praise!” he laughs.

Joe is a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and holds the roles of medical lead for Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and clinical lead for Bucks Outreach Service for Children and Adolescent (OSCA.)

He has been with Oxford Health for some years, but the role in Bucks is still fresh – and he’s clearly made a difference. His nomination said:

“Since starting with Bucks CAMHS OSCA/Crisis in 2019, Joe has been nothing but supportive, informative and willing. He has helped to hold together a team managing a complex, high risk group of young people and this has not gone un-noticed. “

Joe’s favourite part of his work is working with teenagers.

“Every day they challenge me and make me better in my job,” he says.

“My special interest is helping vulnerable young people, and the work I do has a common theme, regardless of the team I’m with: the young people have complex circumstances. I don’t have a standard approach,” he says.

“With any individual I might see social services, attend their school and see the family, all in one week. No particular individual fits in a box. All our patients have at least one other agency involved.”

Joe’s nomination noted his approach:

“Joe is always thinking of innovative ways to support his colleagues, but most importantly the young people we are working with. A specific example of this is creating a ‘crisis room’ at our clinic in the Sue Nichols Centre, so that there is always an appropriate space available to support young people who are struggling. He has developed strong therapeutic relationships with young people and their families and has helped to keep young people out of hospital and engaging with their community treatment plan.”

Joe is quick to acknowledge his colleagues, too:

“I work with absolutely brilliant teams who have a similar ethos, attitude and ways of working and provide the level of care we can be proud of.”

Of course, we have to ask what Joe would say to today’s young people.

“I would say: Things do get better. The world has got harder and harder to be a teenager, and being a teenager is the hardest time in people’s life, given the resources they have available at that time. But things do get better – and there is help available.”

Every month we recognise and reward a member of staff who has made a real difference to the trust, our people and our patients. Nominations are welcome from staff, service users, patients, or friends and family of service users and patients. If you would like to nominate someone exceptional you can download a form here.