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NELFT NHS Foundation Trust provides a range of  community health and mental health services across the north east London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, Essex and Kent and Medway

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NELFT has been shortlisted for a Nursing Times Award

The team behind the NELFT My Mind app has been shortlisted for the Nursing Times Awards 2017. The prestigious awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Thursday November 2.

The nomination is in the Technology and Data in Nursing category and the Trust will be competing against 10 other healthcare organisations for the coveted prize.

The Nursing Times Awards are now in their 27th year and are recognised as one of the most respected and relevant awards in the nursing and healthcare sector. A shortlisting at the Awards offers much-deserved recognition for the innovative and excellent care that nurses provide at all levels.

The My Mind team will now complete presentations and interviews to a specific judging panel made up of senior and influential figures from the health sector.

My Mind is both a mobile App and a website designed to meet the growing need for better communication and universal support in children and adolescent mental health care. The official launch of the universal website will be on September 1 and the universal app will follow a month later.

We spoke to Emma Selby, a Clinical Nurse Specialist for the West Essex Hub of the Emotional Well-being and Mental Health Service, to ask about the My Mind app and the award shortlisting.

My Mind has been nominated at this year’s Nursing Times Awards – why do you think it should win the award?

To be honest, just to be nominated blows My Mind a bit (every pun intended). This started out as my IAPT homework and it has been an amazing labour of love for myself, my co-founder Sam Illaiee and everyone who has been involved in the project along the way, from the young people to the IT team who built it. I think the most amazing part of the journey we have been on with My Mind is the experience based co-design aspect and I think that is what sets us apart from a lot of our competitors. Young people, their families and clinicians were completely instrumental in designing, tweaking and developing the technology to be a service by the people, for the people.

Children’s mental health is widely spoken about at the moment and for good reason. It has never been more difficult to be a teenager then it is right now with an online world that never gives you any rest and social pressures akin to a full-time job. It’s hard, but resources in children’s mental health are limited and for too long we have taken a very adult model of care and applied it to young people. My Mind is about doing things their way and taking the support to their playing field. It’s about recognising that digital communication is the best way forward for the majority of young people and most teenagers turn to google for help before an adult. It’s about taking this negative imagery of the online world and using it as a source of positive interaction and recognising that digital support scales can reach far more people.

People called us crazy when we first suggested this idea, hell someone called me crazy last week for seeing it as far as I have. It’s increasingly rare to have a development like this where the designing clinicians have stayed involved all the way through, where the Trust’s IT department have gone above and beyond and developed it and where the local young people have shaped it. I think it took a lot of bravery from the Trust and everyone involved to understand that some of our ways weren’t always working for our young people and we needed to be radically different – and we are certainly that.

What would it mean to the project to win such a prestigious award?

The Nursing Times Awards is without doubt my favourite event of the year, because it gives us so much to celebrate and the difference it would make to our team to win is, almost indescribable. I think on an individual basis it’s really important at the moment for nurses to see that clinicians do belong in innovation and can lead projects outside our traditional roles, but more than that I think winning the award could give us the momentum to reach more and more young people and highlight more and more great services for mental health and well-being. We operate as a portal to fantastic resources, so the more people making use of us the more we can spread the word about the great work other organisations are doing. Ultimately, I have long held the dream that one day every teenager, every parent and every teacher in the country would know what My Mind is and it would be as common to find it on someone’s phone as it is to find Twitter or Instagram. That there would be no shame, no confusion and no difficultly in looking for some additional help and that we could truly say My Mind is helping to build a more resilient generation. Winning this award, that would get us one step closer to that goal.

My Mind team Pictured (L-R) are: Emma Selby, Vijay Rabadia, Sam Illaiee and Kulvir Gakhal.

For my information about the MyMind App, visit their page on the NELFT website at: www.nelft.nhs.uk/my-mind