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Issue:- 13 March 2014

Local hero receives national award for work in mental health

FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) from Liverpool was presented with a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England Award at the House of Lords on Wednesday 26 February, in recognition of their exemplary work in the field of mental health. Each award winner was congratulated on their achievement by Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Patron of MHFA to an audience of 150 people.

In the UK, 1 in 4 people will experience mental ill health and MHFA is a practical way that people can use to support those who are affected. This is the fourth year that the organisation has celebrated achievements in this field but is the first time the Armed Forces and the corporate Workplace environment have been included within the nomination categories. The categories are; Instructor Champions, Organisations who employ Instructors, Exemplary Individuals and Exemplary Organisations.

The Awards identify examples of excellent projects and individuals, acknowledging innovation and high performance in raising mental health literacy across England. FACT was nominated for exemplary leadership in increasing mental health literacy in the community, collecting the award Tracy Fairclough, Head of FACT Services, said:- "The award is fantastic news for us, and comes as a result of a real joined up effort to train each department at FACT in MHFA. We've developed a strategy to ensure that by the end of 2014, each person in FACT will be trained in some form of mental health first aid. It is incredibly important to us that we facilitate this training, as the projects we deliver across Merseyside require a universal understanding of mental health issues and the effects mental health can have on individuals.  Attending the awards ceremony in February was such a rewarding experience and instilled a real sense of achievement for the work we have been doing.  It was great to network with other similar orgnisations, so many of the people we spoke to were as passionate as we are about making a difference to the UK mental health and it was really inspiring. It really brought home the message that mental illness affects so many of us and in different aspects of our lives. We should all be working together to learn how to deal with mental health and eradicate the stigma that can so often surround it."

Over 65,000 people in the UK are now MHFA trained and have been taught to:-

Spot the early signs of a mental health problem

► Feel confident helping a person experiencing a problem

► Provide help on a first aid basis

► Help protect a person who might be at risk of harm

► Help prevent a mental health illness from getting worse

► Help a person recover faster

► Guide a person towards the right support

► Reduce the stigma of mental health problems

Poppy Jaman, CEO for MHFA England spoke at the event and said:- "I am extremely proud that our organisation has taken the national MHFA Awards ceremony into its fourth year and in doing so, continued to celebrate the fantastic work of our MHFA Instructors, the positives changes they are making within our society and our growing influence on the mental health agenda. This year, and for the first time, we opened the nominations up for public voting and the engagement has been far greater than we anticipated.

The feedback that I've been receiving is that an MHFA Award is now considered a coveted distinction of excellence in the field of mental health, and something which I believe is made even more special by being presented by our MHFA patron, Lord Kamlesh Patel at the prestigious House of Lords. I would also like to offer my thanks to Lord Patel for hosting this event once again."

Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE who presented the awards said:- "I am delighted to host the fourth MHFA Awards in the House of Lords, celebrating the success of an organisation that creates positive change in the lives of people with mental ill health. Since its inception in the UK, MHFA has made significant positive changes to how mental health is dealt with in all aspects of society. Last year MHFA was instrumental in the launch of two important new initiatives; the Armed Forces MHFA programme and the City Mental Health Alliance, both of which have been made possible by the hard work and dedication of the many individuals who have been recognised at this year's Awards event. As a Patron of MHFA, I am proud to be involved with an organisation whose actions are consistently improving the mental health literacy of our society."

Nominations for next year's awards will be open from mid November 2014 and further information will be posted on:- prior to the submission deadlines.

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