The winners of the All In The Mind Awards, which were launched to mark the programme’s 25th anniversary, have been announced.
Details were revealed at a special ceremony in the Wellcome Collection and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
There were three categories in the Awards: the Individual Award, which recognises an outstandingly supportive family member, friend, boss or colleague; the Professional Award, which marks the outstanding dedication of a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, nurse, therapist or other professional; and the Project Award, which acknowledges the achievement of a mental health project or group that has made a big difference to people’s recovery or ability to cope.
Scott Mills chaired the judging panel, which also featured MP Charles Walker, clinical psychologist Guy Holmes, Star Wards founder Marion Janner and All in the Mind presenter Claudia Hammond.
Gwyneth Williams, Controller, Radio 4, says: “The fact that Radio 4 has a much-loved programme dedicated to mental health, psychology and neuroscience – and has done for 25 years – shows how important this area is to our listeners. The stories of kindness, bravery and dedication unearthed by these Awards are truly inspiring.”
The winners are:
The Professional Award – Pat at Nilaari
Mike Henderson nominated Pat Rose, who works at Nilaari Agency, a community based mental health support provider working primarily with Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) adults and young people in Bristol. Mike credits Pat and the agency with saving his life, and saving society from the person he would otherwise be. His first arrest was at 12 years of age; his first incarceration at 14; his introduction to hard drugs at 16. Police described Mike as ‘a one man crime wave’. What Mike didn’t know at the time was that he had anxiety and depression, a dual diagnosis that came to light with the onset of drug-induced psychosis. Pat began working with Mike in 1995, and stood by him for more than 15 years through progression and relapse, supporting him both in the community and in prison. Mike says: “No matter how many times I failed, and other people had given up on me, Pat stuck fast.” Mike is now a Development Officer and Mentor at Lawrence Dallaglio’s Rugby for Change.
The Individual Award – Steve
Andrew King nominated his boss Steve McDonagh. Andrew has battled bipolar disorder for most of his adult life, but managed to sustain a successful career through careful denial, masking emotions and hiding depressions. Without professional help, things became particularly difficult and Andrew flipped between suicidal episodes and vast excesses in all life could offer. When Andrew did seek help, Steve supported him and paid his full salary for a long period of time, through two relapses, standing by him and giving him the confidence to return to work when he was ready.
The Project Award – MindOut, Brighton
Sebastian Sandys nominated MindOut, a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people, based in Brighton and Hove. Sebastian arrived in Brighton after a year-long period of poor mental and physical health. He says that the issues he was facing – the fallout from diagnoses of HIV and Hep C, the side effects of treatment, depression, anxiety and stress – had so scrambled his mind that he had been unable to articulate his needs. His visit to the MindOut office was the first time ever he felt he was being heard and taken seriously in a safe environment. He became involved in their Allotment Project, claiming the growing carrots beats SSRIs any day. He commends the organisation for the speed with which they connected with him when he first got in touch, their understanding that his mental health was not separate from his physical health, and the fact that they provide a service rooted in and drawn from the lived experience of the community it serves.
Claudia Hammond says: “The great thing about presenting All In The Mind is listening to people tell their stories, knowing that they’re sharing those stories with so many listeners who relate to them personally. I started listening to Anthony Clare on All In The Mind while I was in the sixth form and never would have guessed that 25 years later I’d be presenting these awards and taking part in the programme which discusses mental health at length in a way we rarely hear elsewhere.
“We were staggered to get so many entries all those months ago. Then to be at a ceremony and see so many people in one room who had gone so far above and beyond their duty, whether as a friend or as a professional, transforming the life of another human being was very moving.
“It was very hard to choose, and for me the finalists represent everyone who has reached out to help someone else. Mental health professionals present at the awards told me that hearing these experiences reminded them that however hard their job might seem sometimes, they went into it for a reason, and that they can make a difference.”
Other stories that featured in the series include Maya, who nominated her mother for the Individual Award for the unstinting support she has given her in her battle with anorexia nervosa; Helen, who nominated Lin, her mental health nurse, for the Professional Award for going above and beyond the call of duty when a series of misfortunes left her feeling suicidal; and One in Four, a support organisation run for and by people who have experience of sexual abuse, nominated in the Project category.
The special All In The Mind Awards programme is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 today (25th June) at 15.30.