Photo gallery: Defence Nursing Award finalist Lt Cdr Ian Kennedy

Defence Nursing Award finalist - Nursing Standard Nurse Awards 2015

Lt Cdr Ian Kennedy

With patient and GP feedback suggesting that stigma and complicated referral processes were creating barriers to accessing mental health care, Ian led a 12-month pilot enabling self-referral to services on three sites.

He publicised it with a poster campaign in communal areas such as gyms and dining halls, and designed a referral tool for administrative teams to complete on receiving calls.

Patients had to meet basic criteria, including not being due to go on naval operations within six weeks, and were assessed within 20 working days. Urgent cases were seen within 48 hours.

About 70% of self-referrers were found to have diagnosable mental health problems. Patients reported that they would have used the self-referral service sooner if only it had been available.

They may never have come forward otherwise, so it is a good win, he says. People are still reluctant to come forward when they are having difficulties, so getting one person through the door who wouldnt otherwise have come makes it worthwhile.