Oxford Health is celebrating a double dose of success after two wins at the 2019 National Mental Health Awards.

Our Outreach Service for Children and Adolescents (OSCA) and BlueICE, a prescribed smartphone app designed to help young people manage negative emotions, competed against a strong field of contenders to win over judges in two categories in the equivalent of the mental health Oscars.

Commenting on the wins, trust chief executive Stuart Bell, who attended the prestigious event, said: “It was an absolute delight to be able to see our teams win and be recognised in these national awards alongside others. Congratulations to them both. We are all very proud of this achievement.”

Hundreds of the country’s top individuals and teams working in mental health attended a glittering gala finals evening at the Positive Practice In Mental Health (#PPIMH) event Duxford Air Museum Cambridge, on October 10.

OSCA, which is an 18-strong team based in Oxford’s Raglan House – and part of Oxfordshire’s Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) – was the victor in the Children and Young People’s Mental Health category.

It works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to provide individualised home and community mental health treatment to support children, young people and their families.

WINNER: OSCA team at the National Mental Health Awards
a group of people posing for the camera
WINNER: Prof Paul Stallard the the BlueIce team

OSCA was competing against fellow Oxford Health team BlueIce for the same category. While OSCA won, BlueIce was highly commended and had already picked up the honours in the Innovation in Digital Mental Health category.

The smartphone app was developed by Professor Paul Stallard, the trust’s Head of Psychological Therapies for CAMHS in BSW (BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire) –  in conjunction with young service users.

It helps young people manage urges to self harm and is designed to be used alongside traditional face-to-face therapies. Prof Stallard said: “We were delighted to have been shortlisted against such a strong field of candidates but to have won was absolutely fantastic.

“It’s wonderful for the team, our CAMHS participation lead Gill Welsh and for the young people who have worked with us to develop the app. There seems to be a lot of demand for it from other NHS organisations and it is now part of a study in Australia.”

Head of service for BSW CAMHS, James Fortune added: “We are absolutely thrilled that our BlueIce app has triumphed and super proud of Paul, the young people and the wider team that put a lot of thought and hard work into this innovative and forward thinking development.”

“It’s a digital application that we hope will have a far reaching positive impact on children and young people’s lives, supporting improved mental health and wellbeing”

BlueIce, has achieved significant success this year. The app has now been included in the national NHS app library while a series of recent research papers published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) suggest that BlueIce could help tackle self-harm, the hidden health challenge affecting many young people.

Vanessa Odlin, joint service director for Oxfordshire and BSW mental health services at the trust, said: “We are all incredibly proud. OSCA and BlueIce demonstrate how our teams deliver care and put young people at the centre of everything we do.”