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Meet the judges

A special thank you to our independent judges. Each of our judges is a media expert who has either produced work about mental health or is a previous Mind Media Awards winner.

They each tackled three or four categories and importantly do not judge any category where they may have a personal interest in the outcome.

Anna Williamson

Anna is a TV and radio broadcaster, bestselling author, counsellor, life coach and Master NLP practitioner who has appeared on This Morning, Good Morning Britain, Inside Out, Big Brother's Bit on the Side and celebrity dating show Single AF. She is also the host for National Lottery Xtra, and talkRADIO alongside Matthew Wright, Eamonn Holmes and Saira Khan.

Anna hosts her own agony aunt show on BBC 3 Counties radio. Her debut book Breaking Mad, an anxiety-busting guidebook published by Bloomsbury became a number-1 bestseller and her follow-up book Breaking Mum and Dad was released in March 2018 to critical acclaim and unanimous 5-star reviews. Anna also hosts and co-produces Breaking Mum and Dad: The Podcast which is consistently No 1 in the official iTunes podcast chart.

Babita Sharma

Babita Sharma is a documentarian, TV presenter, author and news anchor for the BBC. Babita has written a book on the history of the corner shop in Britain due to be published by Hodder Press in Spring 2019. It follows her documentary Booze, Beans & Bhajis: The Story of the Corner shop broadcast on BBC Four, BBC News Channel and BBC World News to critical acclaim. Most recently, Babita co-presented Supermarket Shopping Secrets for BBC One and Dangerous Borders: The Story of India and Pakistan on BBC Two.

For seven years, Babita has presented Newsday on BBC World News. Babita is passionate about diversity and mental health issues; mentoring BAME journalists and also working with Mind to raise mental health

Bryan Kirkwood

BAFTA winning producer Bryan Kirkwood returned to the helm of Hollyoaks in 2012, stepping up to the role of Executive Producer and Head of Continuing Drama for Lime Pictures. Under his leadership Hollyoaks has won plaudits and numerous awards for the issue-based campaigning storylines that underpin the narrative in the continuing drama, including domestic abuse, male rape and Motor Neurone Disease.

This year Hollyoaks will embark on raising awareness of child sexual abuse. Bryan embarked on his career in television at ITV, joining the network's flagship show Coronation Street. In 2009 Bryan joined the BBC taking the role of Executive Producer on EastEnders which saw the programme win a BAFTA award for Best Continuing Drama and Best Soap at the British Soap Awards for both years of his tenure.

Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon is one of The Telegraph's best-loved journalists, columnists and features writer. She has been writing for The Telegraph for a number of years and also freelances for various other publications including Grazia Magazine. Bryony's first book The Wrong Knickers was published by Headline in 2014 and became a Sunday Times bestseller staying in the chart for six weeks in 2015.

Her next book, Mad Girl, was published by Headline to critical acclaim and intense media coverage in June 2016. It was selected for the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club 2017, and became a Sunday Times bestseller. Mad Girl depicts what it is like living with OCD, bulimia and depression with trademark humour, warmth and eye-watering honesty.

Carl Anka

Carl Anka is a journalist and writer living in London who believes in the power of a friend asking you "You hungry?"

Claudia Hammond

Claudia is an award-winning broadcaster and writer. She presents BBC Radio 4's long-running mental health programme and podcast All in the Mind, as well as Health Check on BBC World Service. Most recently she instigated the BBC Loneliness Experiment, a survey completed by 55,000 people, culminating in her Radio 4 series Anatomy of Loneliness. She is the author of three books: Mind over Money, Emotional Rollercoaster and Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.

Claudia has been awarded the British Academy's President's Medal, the Public Understanding of Neuroscience Award from the British Neuroscience Association, the British Psychological Society's Public Engagement & Media Award and the Society for Personality & Social Psychology's Media Achievement Award and with the All in the Mind team, two Mind Media Awards.

Debbie Ramsay

Debbie is a senior executive in BBC News who has more than a decade of experience working with young audiences. She is editor of BBC Newsbeat – the service for the BBC's flagship youth stations Radio 1 and 1Xtra.

Newsbeat aims to make sense of the world for 16 to 29-year-olds and reflect their lives through original journalism. Newsbeat successfully serves some of the youngest, most difficult-to-reach audiences across the UK reaching around 8 million of them through the radio every week and around 8 to 10 million more with its online content – articles and videos – as well as social media. Before joining the BBC she worked for commercial radio stations in London, Birmingham and the North West of England.

Declan Curry

Declan has been a writer and broadcaster for more than 25 years. He commentates on the day's business and economic news each morning on LBC Radio. He was the business presenter on BBC One's breakfast TV for almost a decade and presented his own regular programmes on BBC Two and Radio 5 Live.

Declan has brought his experience in the media to the speaking circuit. He facilitates and speaks at conferences, hosts awards ceremonies and acts as an entertaining after-dinner speaker. He has broadcast in Ireland, the United States and Australia. He has been published in newspapers and magazines in the UK, Europe and the United States.

Jane Merkin

Jane has been a Series and Executive Producer for over 20 years, working on a range of documentary and current affairs programmes for British television which have won awards including BAFTAs, RTS, Broadcast, Prix Italia and an International Emmy. Subjects have included homelessness, migration and refugees and mental health including My Baby, Psychosis and Me which won the Documentary category at the 2016 Mind Media Awards. Her most recent series, Carry on Brussels was broadcast this summer on Channel 4.

Kate Dyson

Kate is the Founder of The Motherload, a community that strives to support women and mothers without judgement. Kate started the community after having her second child, while experiencing post-natal depression, severe anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder following the birth of her first child. Needing a space to offload about the pressure of motherhood, she started the Facebook community with eight of her friends which has steadily grown over the last three years into a huge community of nearly 75,000 women across the UK and beyond.

The Motherload's ethos is to support women through every facet of motherhood, including their mental wellbeing and this is responsibly managed through peer support, signposting, and information sharing so that women are empowered to take the first step to recovery for themselves, and their families.

Lorna Fraser

Lorna Fraser heads up Samaritans' Media Advisory Service. Her team works closely with all mainstream media, providing expert advice on handling the topic of suicide and self-harm. The driving force for this area of the charity's suicide prevention work is to raise awareness of the risks associated with covering the topic of suicide, to improve standards and support safe and informed coverage of this sensitive issue.

The UK's media have a huge opportunity to support national suicide prevention efforts – research shows that responsible coverage of suicide can raise vital awareness and encourage people to reach out for help, which can be a lifeline for many. Lorna brings to this work both her long-standing media professional background, covering in-house PR and campaigning, and her clinical experience as a psychotherapist.

Mandy Stevens

Mandy has had 30 years of experience working in mental health services, with 15 years as a registered nurse and 15 years as a leader and director of nursing in the NHS. In October 2016 Mandy experienced severe depression and was admitted to an NHS acute ward for three months. Drawing on her clinical experience and knowledge of recovery, Mandy battled compelling thoughts of ending her own life. During her recovery she developed acute anxiety and describes herself as being a prisoner at home, unable to do almost anything due to the high levels of anxiety.

Mandy talks and writes about her experience of mental health in order to increase awareness about mental health problems and recovery, to reduce stigma around mental illness and as part of suicide-prevention campaigns.

Margaret Sargent

Margaret has had a career in the voluntary sector as well as a short stint in publishing. In her retirement Margaret has acted as a Trustee of a Citizens Advice and a local Mind in Kent.

For the past five years she sponsored the Mind Media Award for Student Journalist in memory of her daughter Anna who took her life six years ago. Margaret has been a shortlister for the Mind Media Awards and has organised a number of fundraising events for Mind. With both Citizens Advice and Mind she was very involved in challenging the stigma of mental illness and helping deliver mental health awareness courses.

Matt Wilkinson

Matt is a broadcaster, voice artist and writer. Matt is heard between 1:00 to 4:00pm on Heart by four million people each week. He has judged the Mind awards for eight years and in that time has also produced and hosted Mindcast, a podcast series of personal interviews focusing on different areas of mental health, which still resonate with listeners to this day.

Dr Max Pemberton

Max is a doctor, journalist and writer, working full time in mental health for the NHS. He is a columnist for the Daily Mail and Reader's Digest, on the editorial board of the Spectator magazine and editor of the quarterly supplement, Spectator Health.

He's won several awards for his writing, including the Mind Journalist of the Year and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Public Educator of the Year award. Max has also written four books, including Trust Me, I'm a (Junior) Doctor, which was serialised on Radio 4 Book of the Week. His latest is a self-help book about using CBT to stop smoking.

Nicholas Pinnock

Nicholas, known for his role as Jason Backland in crime drama Marcella, was last seen in TV mini-series Guerrilla, also starring Idris Elba and will be seen next in the sci-fi thriller, Counterpart, alongside J. K. Simmons. In 2018 he will star in V.S. and the short film Candice. His theatre credits include As You like It and Born Bad, and he was most recently seen on stage in The Royale at the Bush Theatre for which he received rave reviews.

Poorna Bell

Poorna is an award-winning journalist, author of memoir Chase The Rainbow, which covers mental health and addiction, and former UK Executive Editor and Global Lifestyle Head for HuffPost.

She has been named as one of Balance magazine's top 100 wellness personalities, and has spoken on mental health for the NHS, and at the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. She has been a judge for the British Book awards, First Women and Sony World Photography awards, and is working on her second book, In Search of Silence.

Sean Fletcher

Sean is known for his role as a broadcaster on BBC One's Countryfile, one of the most-watched programmes on British television, as presenter on ITV's Good Morning, host of popular quiz 'Rebound' and his writing for Huffington Post.

Sean has also appeared on Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, as well as fronted a variety of factual programmes and documentaries like BBC Two's Food Detectives, and Wales and the Slave Trade. He's also unearthed and retold a story of an ordinary couple who ended the 1960 racist marriage law in the USA, in a BBC programme called Loving vs Virginia, shortlisted for BBC World Best Documentary of the Year award.

Scott Bryan

Scott is BuzzFeed UK's TV Editor. He's been reporting and talking about TV for nearly five years, but watching it his whole life. He's written extensively about British TV, including the hit show The Great British Bake Off which he notably covered by attempting every technical baking challenge for over 2 million readers. He's appeared on the BBC News Channel, BBC Radio 4 and 5 Live to talk about the latest programme developments within the British TV industry.

Toby Castle

Toby is Deputy News Editor at the BBC and former Head of Home News at ITV News. He has worked in network news since 1999 producing stories from home and abroad. Most recently he's been responsible for managing coverage across BBC News.

Under his leadership ITV News won a BAFTA in 2011 for its coverage of the Cumbria shootings and won the RTS News Coverage Home Award for coverage of the Jimmy Savile story. Toby has been a Mind Media Awards judge since 2013.

Victoria Macdonald

Victoria is Health and Social Care Correspondent at Channel 4 News. Victoria is an award-winning journalist, who has been covering health and social care issues for Channel 4 News since 1999.

She reports on changes in the NHS – the reforms and the politics – whether it is in hospitals or in the community or, indeed in Westminster. She closely follows the care system and how it impacts on the elderly and those with disabilities as well as investigating issues, including mental health.

Why the media awards matter

Julia Lamb, Media Engagement and Awards Manager, explains why we hold the Mind Media Awards and have done for the last 25 years.

Read Julia's blog

Find out the winners for 2018

The Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards 2018 winners have been chosen from hundreds of entries from across the media spectrum.

See the 2018 winners

Mind's Media Advisory Service

Our media advisory service works with sections of the media and the arts world who want to tell a story about mental health, or explore an issue in depth.

Find out how we can help you

Other ways to get involved

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