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Former patient recognised as unsung hero

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A former mental health patient was awarded an NHS unsung hero award for his work supporting children and young people with mental health problems in North East Lincolnshire.

Harry Dixon, peer support worker for Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) was among 11 winners at the Trust’s ninth Making a Difference Every Day – Staff Excellence Awards, which took place in June.

Harry formerly used the Young Minds Matter service in Grimsby, which is where he is now employed as a peer support worker. He won the Clinical Unsung Hero award after being nominated by Dr Tracey Urquhart, service manager for Young Minds Matter.

Tracey said:

Harry is an extremely valuable member of our team and so deserving of this recognition. As a peer support worker he supports staff, parents and service users to experience the best quality care possible. He supports clinicians in group work and individual appointments using his own experiences and knowledge to support the individual. He has a unique understanding for both patients and parents/carers and can empathise and support them to navigate through their care and aid the transition to discharge.

After hearing he had won the award Harry described joy at his work being recognised.

He said:

I was in complete shock to hear I had won the award. I accessed mental health services throughout most of my teen years. The hard times I experienced are part of the reason I wanted to do this job.

It can sometimes be daunting to reveal your thoughts to a trained professional; I try and bridge that gap between the clinicians and patients, as someone to talk to who personally understands parts of what they’re experiencing.

My mum always says to me ‘I wish I had a Harry to help you back when you were unwell.’ My role also helps support me with my ongoing recovery and with learning to manage my mental health day to day. I feel honoured to have been recognised for this work.

Harry invited his former therapist Laura Lockett as his guest to the awards, she cared for him while he was a patient and now works alongside him as part of the team.

Laura said:

Harry has been incredible at supporting young people, to ensure they feel able to access our services. He is an inspiration to young people who attend the service and he gives them hope that recovery is possible. He also supports our staff to ensure we understand the difficulties faced by young people when they are entering mental health services. Harry is always working to develop services so that young people get the right support, at the right time, listening to what changes are needed and helping to implement them.

This year’s Staff Excellence Awards winners were chosen from over 300 nominations received from colleagues, managers, patients, carers and other organisations, who recognised that their work stood out from the crowd.

The event, sponsored by a number of local and national businesses including the University of Lincoln, Servelec, STALIS, Iaptus, Vinci Construction, Civica, Peachy Events and Systematic Print, was a fantastic way to take stock of what has been a busy year for the local mental health and learning disability trust, and to celebrate some of the outstanding achievements of staff and volunteers delivering services every day.

The full list of winners of the 2019 Making a Difference Every Day - Staff Excellence Awards is available on the Trust’s website www.lpft.nhs.uk/making-a-difference