Shining Star - Clinical
Our winner deserves recognition for a number of reasons, but in particular for her work with local communities around suicide prevention.
Clinicians working directly with service users are often nominated for awards, however Karen, and the work she does, impacts on so many people in an indirect but very positive way.
Karen is Deputy Director of Adult Services in East Sussex. Although she is now in a management role, she makes every effort to really listen to service users, their families and carers, often in their hours of greatest need.
She is always there for staff, to listen and offer advice. She is clear and responsive and manages expectations whilst still displaying care and compassion.
Karen has led on a number of initiatives, with a particular focus this year on community safety and suicide prevention.
Realising that communities need to be empowered to support each other and start conversations about suicide, and as a keen runner, Karen instigated a partnership with Parkrun, who organise weekly 5k runs at locations across the world.
Working initially with local runs in East Sussex, Karen arranged for representatives from Sussex Partnership to attend local runs to talk about suicide. She created a SAFE (Suicide Prevention For Everyone) card – a business card containing details of helplines, websites and apps that can help people experiencing a mental health crisis and who are thinking about taking their own life – which were handed out at runs.
Following the success of the SAFE cards in East Sussex, Karen arranged for teams to attend Parkruns in Brighton & Hove and West Sussex, and since beginning Sussex Partnership has attended every single run in the area at least once.
The cards have proved so popular that teams across the organisation have requested copies and are giving them out to service users and their families, and the artwork has now been made freely available to other organisations to reproduce as part of their work educating people about suicide.
Karen also actively promotes suicide prevention training both to staff and to local organisations, and recently held an event in East Sussex which encouraged the local community, in an area where suicide is sadly not uncommon, to find out more about how to start conversations with people they are concerned about. It was extremely well attended and feedback was overwhelmingly positive – an achievement given the nature of the subject.
Her nominator describes Karen as ‘a tour de force, who is understanding and who knows exactly what is needed to move things forward for the benefit of service users and staff.’
Hear from the winner: