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Thursday 27th October 2016

Mind Champion of the Year Award 2009 shortlist announced

17th April 2009

Alastair Campbell and Paul O'Grady shortlisted for mental health prize

Former No 10 PR guru Alastair Campbell and chat show host Paul O'Grady are among those nominated by the public for the Mind Champion of the Year Award 2009, celebrating the work of people who have made an outstanding contribution to increasing understanding of mental health.  The awards ceremony is part of the charity's annual Mind Week (9 - 16 May), this year focusing on men and mental health.

The campaign 'Get it off your chest' will help raise awareness of male experiences of mental distress, and appropriately, Mind recognises the commitment of these two high profile role models who have publicly discussed their mental wellbeing and challenged mental health discrimination.

Also among the nominees are three highly successful mental health campaigners: Anne Savage, who fought and won a historic legal battle for the rights of mental inpatients, MP Lynne Jones, co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, and the Hearing Voices Network's Chair Jacqui Dillon. All three have dedicated their time and effort to improving the lives of people experiencing mental distress.

Mind is inviting the public to vote for their Mind Champion 2009 from the shortlist of five candidates at www.mind.org.uk.  Voting will close at the end of April. Previous winners include Stephen Fry for his awareness-raising work on bipolar disorder, Frank Bruno and last year's champion Dr Liz Miller, co-founder of the Doctor's Support Network.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 14 May at the Mind Awards ceremony at the Royal Institute for British Architecture, hosted by Mind's president Lord Melvyn Bragg. The Mind Book of the Year, Journalist of the Year and Student Journalist of the Year will also be announced at the event.

On Monday 11 May, Mind will launch its 'Get it off your chest' campaign with the publication of a new report comparing the ways men and women deal with emotional problems. Men are 3 times more likely than women to take their own lives but only half as likely to be diagnosed with depression. Mind's campaign will encourage men to seek professional help and will call on the Government to take the needs of men into consideration when planning mental health services. Men and women experience mental distress differently and both should be able to access treatments with that in mind.

This year's nominees for Mind Champion of the Year are:

Alistair Campbell

Best known for his role as former No. 10 Communications Director, Alastair Campbell has publicly discussed his experiences of mental distress. In 2008 he wrote and presented BBC2 documentary 'Cracking Up' giving a personal account of his breakdown and subsequent recovery.  More recently, Alistair has helped to front the Time to Change campaign, run by Mind and Rethink, helping to break down taboos surrounding mental health.  He has also written a novel entitled 'All in the Mind', a semi-autobiographical story of a troubled psychotherapist.

Jacqui Dillon

Jacqui Dillon is the national Chair of the Hearing Voices Network, a charity which works to promote acceptance and understanding of the experiences of hearing voices, seeing visions, tactile sensations and other sensory experiences. She is an international speaker and trainer specialising in hearing voices, psychosis and trauma. Jacqui is a member of the co-ordinating committee for the Campaign to Abolish the Schizophrenia Label. She has published several articles and papers and is on the editorial board of the journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches. She is also co-author of the forthcoming book 'Recovered Voices: An Anthology of 50 Voice Hearers Stories of Recovery'.   Jacqui is also a voice hearer.

Lynne Jones

Lynne Jones MP is co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, which was founded in 1996 to raise the profile of mental health issues in Parliament, and to act as a political avenue for those affected by mental health issues.  Through this role she has tirelessly campaigned and lobbied to help put mental health high on the agenda for government and is spear heading the Mental health in Parliament report which is leading to awareness training for Parliament and their staff.  Her personal determination to see mental health services improve stems from her father, who experiences schizophrenia. She is retiring this year after much work to end the stigma that is attached to mental health.

Paul O'Grady

Paul dedicated an entire series of his talk show to mental health. Through a number of features and interviews, Paul raised awareness about mental health issues with humour and sensitivity. He supported a number of mental health charities throughout the series, raising awareness of campaigns and key issues. Paul also gave a personal account of the depression he experienced following the death of his partner in his biography. Through being open about his experiences of mental distress, giving interviews in newspapers and on television, Paul has helped to de-stigmatise mental health.

Anna Savage

Following the death of her mother who took her own life after walking out of a psychiatric hospital, Anna brought a case against the NHS Trust. She argued that the Trust took insufficient care to protect her mother. Her hard work and determination led to a historic decision by the House of Lords last December that ruled that people detained under the Mental Health Act have the same 'right to life' as those in prison. In a major victory for patients and their families, hospitals must now be seen to take reasonable measures to avoid real and immediate risks of harm to patients who have been sectioned.


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