Sister Bernie Roche Receives Award from Prince Charles
Women’s Service Award
The innovatative work of a mental health crisis service for women was recently recognised nationally at an award ceremony attended by the Prince of Wales.
The Women’s Service in Purley, England, is part of NHS mental health services in south London. Women’s mental health needs have often been overlooked by mainstream care; the many factors which impact on their mental well being such as experiences of violence and abuse, being in a caring role, economic poverty and poor access to support have often been minimalised and dismissed. The unit works with women experiencing acute mental health crisis, but does so in ways, which are very different from the norm, treating women as whole people with a unique set of needs…and strengths, creativities and capabilities.
One of the staff at the service is Mercy Sister Bernie Roche, from the Eltham Formation Community; the prayerful support and interest of the community are a great resource in enabling her ministry to the women.
Bernie nominated the nursing team for the Integrated Health Awards, which are given each year by the Prince of Wales Foundation for Integrated Health. The awards recognise services that work to improve the health of disadvantaged people in holistic ways. The Women’s Service reached the final shortlist of three and was invited to the award ceremony held in London on 20th March 2008. The team came joint runner up for the UK award and Bernie was honoured to be asked to collect the certificate on their behalf from the Prince of Wales, who commended the dedication and enthusiasm of the staff.
Bernie feels that the approach of the Women’s Service echoes Catherine McAuley’s vision of the inclusivity of Mercy- it is a challenge and inspiration to work alongside such enthusiastic colleagues.
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