Alastair Campbell gets majority vote! Mind Champion of the Year 2009
Posted Friday 15 May 2009
Alastair Campbell has won Mind's Champion of the Year Award for his significant contribution to raising awareness of mental health. He beat fellow nominee and chat show host Paul O'Grady, among other mental health campaigners, to the prestigious award announced yesterday evening.
Winning 52 per cent of the vote, Alastair has clearly won public confidence and support for speaking openly and candidly about his experience of mental health. His nomination for the award recognised his tireless campaigning to improve attitudes towards mental health.
In the last year, as well as fronting the current major anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, Alastair produced a BBC2 documentary 'Cracking Up' exploring his own experiences of a psychotic breakdown, and his book 'All in the Mind', the semi-autobiographical story of a troubled psychotherapist.
Mind Champion 2009 Alastair Campbell said "Change is happening, and I really feel we are close to the tipping point in terms of people's greater understanding and society's greater openness about mental illness. I am pleased and proud that people think I have played a part in that. This award recognises that I have used my voice, and taken it to the public platform that I can, to raise awareness of the fantastic work that charities like Mind carry out."
Paul Farmer, Mind's Chief Executive said: "I am very happy that we did not need to select the winner for this award and that it was down to a public vote! This year's shortlist was of an exceedingly high level and saw a very eclectic mix vie for the accolade. Alastair has offered tremendous support through his public discussion of his experiences of mental distress. He has done so much for the mental health movement and this award expresses the appreciation of the public for his hard work."
The other people on the shortlist were 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. Paul O'Grady, better known for his alter ego Lily Savage, was also nominated for dedicating an entire series of his talk show to mental health, and speaking out about his experience of depression.
The award was given alongside the highly contended Book of the Year, which was given to Sathnam Sangera for his memoirs 'The Boy with the Topknot'. Journalist of the Year was won by Eleanor Harding from local newspaper Wandsworth Guardian, beating writers for national newspapers The Observer and The Daily Mail to the title. Nottingham University's student newspaper 'Impact' saw its journalist, Nicola Byrom, named Student Journalist of the Year.
The Mind Awards are part of the annual Mind week, this year focusing on men and mental health. Mind's new report Get it off your chest aims to get men to recognise the importance of talking about their problems and calls for a strategy on men's mental health, to match the existing women's mental health strategy.