Earlier this week celebrities including Freddie Flintoff, Professor Green and Jeremy Paxman celebrated the best of mental health in the media.
“I realised that the biggest part of the problem with the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and in particular suicide, is that people don’t admit how they feel, they’re not honest about it so I just thought ‘spit it out’. I think the most important thing is that we raise awareness and after awareness will come understanding. I don’t think we can remove the stigma overnight but 2016 has been a year where I have definitely noticed a rise in how prominent it is in the media in whatever shape or form, be it music or TV or documentary. For as long as that conversation stays open things are moving in the right direction.” – Professor Green
Professor Green, Loose Women and E4’s My mad fat diary were among those awarded honours at the 2016 Mind Media Awards. The event, hosted by Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff MBE, honours the best portrayals and reporting of mental health in the media.
Celebrity presenters at the awards included Denise Welch, Alastair Campbell and Frankie Bridge, all of who are ambassadors for the charity. Other guests including EastEnder’s Lacey Turner, Professor Green and Colleen Nolan celebrated broadcasters, bloggers and journalists who have, through strong, honest and well-crafted work, made a contribution to changing attitudes and tackling mental health stigma.
Lacey Turner of EastEnders at ITV’s Soap Awards gong show
The Making a Difference award was presented from one musician to another. Singer and Mind ambassador Frankie Bridge handed the award to Stephen Manderson, better known as Professor Green, rewarding his dedication to campaigning about men’s mental health through his documentaries, music, autobiography and media work. Professor Green has reached new audiences through his commitment to putting a spotlight on male suicide.
This year’s winners showed a particularly strong emphasis on encouraging people to talk more about mental health, with all the winners going above and beyond to share and explore mental health stories. Loose Women collected the award for the Entertainment category for their moving and eye-opening campaign which encouraged people to share their experiences of mental health problems. Their discussion approached difficult topics such as how to cope after suicide in the family and how to spot signs of anxiety in children.
‘It’s been an amazing honour to host the Mind Media Awards, particularly because of the massive amount of inspirational and touching work we’ve seen this year. Huge congratulations to all of our winners for their incredibly hard work showing the wider world how to tackle the subject sensitively and honestly and bringing mental health stories to greater public attention.’ – Host Freddie Flintoff, MBE
E4’s My mad fat diary picked up the gong for Drama for their finale series. The 1990’s set programme follows the turbulent journey into adulthood of Rae, played by Sharon Rooney, as she struggles with her mental health. BBC One Scotland’s River City took home the best soap award for a storyline around self-harming and reaching out for support.
ITV’s Loose Women
BBC Social Affairs Correspondent Michael Buchanan was presented with the award for journalist of the year for his collection of original stories for BBC News illustrating the significant and deep-seated problems at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Intimate documentary My Baby, Psychosis and Me collected the award for best documentary for its reporting of two women’s experiences of postpartum psychosis. BBC Asian Network’s Athar Ahmad was also praised by judges for his two-year quest to document men with body dysmorphic disorder who go to extreme lengths to attain their ‘dream physique’, picking up the radio award.
The impact of local media was highlighted as ITV News Central scooped up the News and Current Affairs award for their consistently impressive coverage of issues such as the challenges facing ethnic minority communities, the growing problem of suicide and the pressures on emergency services.
“Tonight’s winners have shown us all how vital the media is in creating greater awareness about mental health and, by doing so, challenging attitudes and campaigning against inequalities. The number and the quality of entries continues to grow year on year, which is both hugely encouraging and also a real challenge for our judges. We’ve also seen a real groundswell in support for the Media Awards and so for the first time ever, thanks to our sponsors Virgin Money Giving, we have live streamed the event in order to bring it to a wider audience.” – Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind
Broadcaster and University Challenge quiz master Jeremy Paxman was the fitting presenter of the award for Student Journalist of the Year. Without throwing too many tricky questions in their direction he handed the award to Exeter University’s Exeposé Newspaper commending the team for encouraging students at their university to seek help for their mental health.
The blogger of the year award was presented to Rosey Adams for a deeply personal series of blogs exploring her experiences of postnatal and perinatal depression with all of her three children. The judges were particularly impressed that through her blog Rosey has created a network of support for parents facing similar experiences.
BBC One Scotland’s River City won an award
A Film category was introduced this year sponsored by a well known cinema chain. The award, claimed by film Inside Out, was voted for by film fans with over 1,000 people getting involved over social media. Actor Richard Kind sent a video message to collect the award and guests at the ceremony also heard from young cinema goers about what they love about the animated film’s mental health message.
Bringing the proceedings to a close were EastEnders actors Lacey Turner and James Bye who presented the Speaking Out award, sponsored by Comic Relief. The prize is given to someone connected with one of the shortlisted programmes who has particularly impressed the judges by their honesty and bravery in speaking out. This year it was presented to Eve Canavan and Kathryn Grant whose extensive advice to the researchers, writers and actors of EastEnders shaped one of the biggest soap storylines of the year, Stacey Fowler’s experience of postpartum psychosis after the birth of her son Arthur.
“We know that accurate reporting and portrayal of mental health problems has a hugely positive impact on people with personal experience but, sadly, stigma and discrimination still exists. That’s why we want to thank all our winners and nominees for being brave enough to keep on challenging perceptions and making the voices of the one in four of us who experiences a mental health problem every year heard.” – Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind
The awards also included a tribute to journalist, writer, and magazine editor Sally Brampton who sadly passed away earlier this year. Sally had been a Mind Media Awards judge for many years. She brought invaluable insight to the judging panel from her extensive experience both as a journalist and from her own experiences of depression.