Stephen Fry named BT Mind Champion of the Year 2007
Posted Thursday 17 May 2007
Mental health charity Mind yesterday announced Stephen Fry as BT Mind Champion of the Year at its annual awards ceremony in central London hosted by Melvyn Bragg.
Last year, in his BBC documentary The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, Stephen talked candidly about his personal experience of bipolar disorder as well as interviewing others about how they live with the condition. The humour and sincerity with which he presented the programme moved audiences and has helped to raise awareness about an often misunderstood condition.
For the first time, Mind enabled the public to vote on its website for the person they thought had made the most significant contribution to challenging discrimination against people with mental health problems over the last year. The shortlist featured mental health activists, campaigners and fundraisers but Stephen received hundreds of votes to win the prestigious prize.
On receiving the accolade, Stephen said: "I would like to accept this award on behalf of all the people involved in making the film. I learnt a lot from making the documentary, not just about my own condition, but about what it is to be human. Mood disorders are like your own internal weather. You need to accept when it is raining but you must recognise that it will be sunny again."
"Mental health is a pressing problem for all people in Britain. A quarter of the problem with mental health is experienced by the people who are actually taking the medication or using the talking treatments and three quarters of the problem lies with the mentally healthy and their attitude to mental health."
Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: "As one of Britain's best loved entertainers, Stephen has used his high profile to draw mass attention to mental health issues. In his powerful documentary, Stephen opened people's eyes to the reality of what it is like to live with manic depression. He has challenged the stigma surrounding bipolar disorder and has helped to increase public understanding."
Awards were also presented for BT Mind Book of the Year - which went to Michele Hanson for Living With Mother; BT Mind Journalist of the Year - which went to joint winners Derek Draper and Dr Cecilia d'Felice for their detailed and innovative feature on depression in Psychologies magazine and BT Mind Student Journalist of the Year - which was awarded to Helen Thompson of the University of Cardiff newspaper, Gair Rhydd for her article on Asperger's syndrome.