Nurses win award for focus on children’s mental health

Nurse-led specialist team set up to address the rise in the number of children presenting with behaviour and mental health issues after the pandemic lockdowns

Robert Cole (second from left) and Kevin Ramjeet (right) at this year’s RCN Nursing Awards
Picture: Barney Newman

Amid the crisis on pay, staffing shortages and record waiting lists we should not forget the amazing, inspirational and life-changing work that nurses do.

One example of this work was highlighted at this year’s RCN Nursing Awards ceremony, where Robert Cole, head of nursing for children and young people, and Kevin Ramjeet, head of nursing for mental health, both at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, won the Child Health award.

The two nurses spotted a surge in children presenting with behaviour and mental health issues, including eating disorders and self-harming, in the paediatric unit . Faced with growing waiting lists and at a time of extreme vulnerability for the children, the two nurses combined their expertise and did something about it.

Dedicated mental health team gets children appropriate treatment

They secured funding from the trust and used it to recruit a dedicated and specialist team to support children and help them get the appropriate treatment.

This mental health support team is now available seven days a week providing therapeutic interventions. As a result, there has been a reduction in self-harm, violent episodes and restraint, and children with eating disorders are getting better support.

Their working environment is safer, feedback from parents and carers is positive, and other trusts are interested in replicating the two nurses’ initiative.

There is growing evidence of an increasing number of mental health issues among young people, particularly because of lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effects are being seen on wards and in the community.

Whatever decision is made on strike action for pay by November, there is no denying that this is a tough time to be a nurse, but it is also a time when society needs you like never before.

All the finalists in this year’s awards went above and beyond to improve care.

So, why shouldn’t our governments give all nurses a decent pay rise?

Have you tried RCNi Plus yet?

RCNi Plus offers unlimited access to RCNi Learning, Nursing Children & Young People, Nursing Standard, our other specialist journals and RCNi Portfolio to store your CPD for revalidation. Use the discount code TRYPLUS to trial it for just £1 a week for 12 weeks.
Go to RCNi Plus Tryplus Promotion for details