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OMHP service wins national award

Safe Haven, from the Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership (OMHP), has won the Innovation in Mental Health Award at this year’s Health Business Awards. 

The Oxfordshire Recovery College was also shortlisted for the Community Co-created Services with Patients Award at the NHS Elect Awards. 

The college uses an educational approach to recovery, providing courses and workshops on a wide range of subjects, such as understanding mental health, introduction to personality disorders, and creative writing. The courses are coproduced, and are written, developed and taught by tutors who are experts by training, and tutors who are experts by experience. 

Oxford Safe Haven supports people in crisis in the evenings and weekends – offering an alternative to A&E. It is for people who need urgent care and support with their mental health, those with urges to self-harm with suicidal thoughts or overwhelming feeling that they are not safe or cannot cope. 

Judges heard how Oxford Safe Haven staff and volunteers are supportive, boundaried and passionate at helping the people of Oxfordshire experiencing mental health crisis. 

Rob Bale, clinical director at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which is part of Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership, said: “I’m delighted to see the pioneering approach of Oxfordshire Safe Haven recognised. Safe Haven provides an invaluable non-clinical environment for people experiencing mental health crisis, drawing on the skills and resources of both the NHS and charity partners within Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership, and is just one of the ways the partnership works together to support people experiencing mental health problems in Oxfordshire in all aspects of their life. It is a real commendation for the people who provide the service and they should be justifiably proud.” 

Lesley Dewhurst, chair of OMHP and chief executive of Restore, said: “I’m really really pleased. I’m very proud of the staff and all their hard work. They really go the extra mile to reach people who otherwise may not access services.” 

Dan Knowles, Oxfordshire Mind CEO, said: “We are delighted to have won the Innovation in Mental Health Award at the Health Business Awards for The Oxford Safe Haven. We would like to thank all of the staff, service users and partners who continue to support this vitally important mental health crisis service.” 

Holly visited the Safe Haven when she was in need of support. She said: “Safe Haven is a place where I’m free to show my mental health symptoms and be accepted for all of me, not just part of me. Safe Haven keeps me safe from harm. A place of acceptance, warmth, kindness and care. It keeps me safe from me. Safe Haven is what I’ve always searched for since my mental health problems surfaced 15 years ago. This place fills the gap between Samaritans and A&E and often prevents me from reaching crisis.”

The Oxfordshire Mental Health Partnership brings together six organisations so that they can work much more closely, and make it easier for people with mental health problems access the care that they need.