The finalists of the Worcestershire Health and Social Care Awards 2022 have been announced. The awards are being staged by Newsquest – publishers of the Worcester News, Malvern Gazette, Evesham Journal, Bromsgrove & Droitwich and Redditch Advertisers and The Shuttle in conjunction with the University of Worcester.

Judging is now complete and the three finalists of the Mental Health award category can be revealed.

The Mental Health award is kindly sponsored by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust’s Now We’re Talking campaign, which aims to reduce stigma and encourage more local people to access mental health support across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The awards will culminate in a celebrity-backed virtual ceremony streamed on the Worcester News Facebook page on Thursday, October 13 at 7pm when the winner of each category will be announced.

Family support and bereavement team - KEMP Hospice

The first finalist is KEMP Hospice’s family support and bereavement services team.

The team at the Kidderminster-based company provide counselling services to people experiencing bereavement as well as Day Hospice patients and their families.

Between April 2021 and March 2022, the team provided 2,320 hours of support, free of charge, to adults and a further 1,244 hours of support to children.

Among the support offered to young people in the area is the bi-annual Kids Memory Day, giving children an opportunity to meet others facing similar situations.

The child and young person counsellor also works with local schools to support teaching staff on how to talk to children following a death.

During covid, KEMP Counsellors were committed to continuing the care and support of their clients, introducing Zoom and telephone sessions to give clients a continuity of care.

Realising that this service will benefit those unable to travel to the hospice, the team has decided to keep hosting Zoom and telephone sessions, meaning more people can now access services.

Sophie Herring - Priory Adult Care

The second finalist is Sophie Herring, registered manager at Priory Adult Care on Bromyard Road, Worcester.

The site is a female-only mental health service, delivering care for women with a range of complex needs and often traumatic backgrounds.

The pandemic in particular created a difficult situation, with four residents deemed extremely vulnerable.

As such, Sophie and her team spent lockdown with the vulnerable residents, creating their own bubble, which meant not being able to see their own families.

Sophie is said to lead the team, described as a “family”, with “care, integrity and respect” for everyone who lives and works at Priory.

The person who nominated Sophie believes she “saved” a woman who arrived in 2021, having been groomed online.

Sophie helped to manage the parents’ distress as well as supporting the woman herself.

Her colleagues believe their work has “empowered” those in their care, enabling them to make huge life choices, and feel “blessed” to have had the opportunity to work with like-minded colleagues.

Nick Bushell - Redditch and Bromsgrove Home Treatment Team

The third finalist for the Mental Health award is Nick Bushell, part of the Redditch and Bromsgrove Home Treatment Team

Nick has been praised for his “commitment” to his clients, in particular his ability to make them feel at ease by his “reassuring, understanding and approachable” manner.

The person who nominated him said: “I have always felt I could be myself no matter what mood I may be in.

“Nick has got me through some very difficult times.”

They added: “He is non-judgemental and discusses any issues you may have whilst helping you to work through the problems. “

“He uses his experience to make you feel 'normal' because when you have mental health problems you lose sight of everything.”

“When you talk with him it feels like you are talking to someone you have known for a long time who put you at ease.”