Mind Media Awards: breaking down barriers
Posted Thursday 12 July 2012
In November 2006 I was diagnosed with depression, I was 16. I wanted to know what was wrong with me? Why had this happened?
With time I grew to accept that depression was a part of my life and a part of me. It took a long time for me to accept this, in fact it wasn’t until very recently that I really came to terms with it and began to move forward in a positive way. I think what helped was making a film Suffering in Silence (below) which won the Mind Student Journalist of the Year in November 2011 - five years after I was diagnosed.
I believe it is really important to recognise mental health issues in the media. It has been a taboo subject for too long, yet statistically one in four people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. So why does it feel like a dirty secret that has to be kept quiet? Or is that just me?
The Mind Media Awards have really helped break down the barriers to media coverage of mental health problems. Tackling stigma in the wider community is key to stopping those who ‘suffer in silence’. Good and responsible media coverage, whether in newspapers, magazines or in dramas, of mental health problems help engage those wider communities and help people to feel supported by their community.
My Mind Media Award is one of my greatest achievements and I am very honoured that the judges who watched my film thought it was good enough to win.
I have a friend who is also a student film maker and for him the Mind Media Awards are the most important awards he could enter this year. When I asked him why, he said: “It’s because they are for people like you and me, who have experiences of mental health problems”. And with that he had hit the nail on the head; these awards, yes, they are nice for those shortlisted and who win, but for those who have had experiences of mental health problems they actually show how people can be positive about mental health and proactive about it as well. It also shows that the media don’t have to portray people with mental health problems as the demons of society. That is no longer an acceptable way to portray any person.
For me the experience of winning the award has helped me grow in confidence. I am more confident now than I ever thought I would be five years ago, in fact, I would go as far as to say, I am a completely different person now to the person I was back then. From my experiences I have learned that life doesn’t always have to be perfect and that sometimes it is better if it isn’t. The flavour of life comes through at times when life is hardest and when things don’t go to plan. For me that has been one of my greatest achievements, I have learned to enjoy life again after so many years in fear thinking something would send me back to those dark days. This story of winning the Mind Media Award is less about that and more about personal development. That I think is the best award of all.
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