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 will tackle three or four categories and do not judge any category where they may have a personal interest in the outcome.

Alan Toner

Alan joined Lime Pictures in May 2016 as Digital Creative Director, having previously been Digital Producer at Coronation Street for nine years. With shared responsibility for the Digital Team's output across Lime’s growing portfolio, he has worked with broadcasters including C4 (Hollyoaks/Celebs Go Dating), ITV (TOWIE), Netflix (Free Rein) and Disney (The Evermoor Chronicles) and creating content to channels with over a combined following of five million. In this time the Digital Team have won awards at Digiday, The Drum, RTS and have had a Webby nomination. Alan was part of the team that won last year’s Making a Difference award for Hollyoaks’ #DontFilterFeelings campaign and are currently producing the podcast.  

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 one bestseller and her follow-up book Breaking Mum and Dad was released in March 2018 to critical acclaim and unanimous five-star reviews. Anna also hosts and co-produces Breaking Mum and Dad: The Podcast, which is consistently number one in the official iTunes podcast chart. 

Declan Curry

Declan Curry has been a writer and broadcaster for more than 25 years. He chairs conferences, facilitates panel discussions, and comperes awards ceremonies, around the UK and internationally. He is well known for explaining complexity in a simple and lucid manner. He speaks with the authority and clarity when appearing on television, radio, in print and online, specialising in business, the economy and politics. 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. He also occasionally commentates on business and economic news on LBC Radio.  

George Mann

George Mann is the Impact Editor for BBC News at BBC Asian Network. He has previously worked on The Today Programme on Radio 4, BBC Radio 5 Live, World Service, BBC News Channel and BBC News Online. His personal experience of mental health issues has led to him being a passionate advocate of accurate and positive reporting. He has previously been involved with various winning and nominated entries at the Mind Media Awards. When not at work, he supports West Ham and Essex CCC as well as helping run the Colts section at his son's cricket club. 

Hope Virgo

Hope Virgo is the author of Stand Tall Little Girl, and a multi award-winning international advocate for people with eating disorders. Hope helps young people and employers (including schools, hospitals and businesses) to deal with the rising tide of mental health problems. She has been described by Richard Mitchell, CEO of Sherwood Forest Hospital, as "sharing a very powerful story with a huge impact." Hope is also a recognised media spokesperson, having appeared on various platforms including BBC Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, Good Morning Britain, Sky News and BBC News. 

Jane Merkin

Jane has worked as a Series and Executive Producer for the past 20 years on programmes for BBC Television output across all of their channels, Channel 4 and international broadcasters. Subjects have included mental health (winning Mind Media Award for Best Documentary in 2017 for My Baby, Psychosis and Me), refugees, immigration, homelessness, discrimination and racism. Her programmes have been awarded BAFTAS, an International Emmy, Prix Italia and RTS awards amongst others. Jane is currently working on a number of projects, including feature documentaries and is proud to be on the Mind Media Awards judging panel. 

Justyn Jones

Justyn Jones is an international award winning documentary producer/director and a former ITN correspondent, who has personal and professional experience of mental health issues. His credits in 2019 include creating, producing and directing a BBC1 documentary for the Our Lives series called “Taking on the Irish Sea” and producing a Channel 4 news special investigation report called “Feeding China”.

Justyn trained at City School of Journalism, London (SOAS) and Southampton universities before going on to 6 years as a print journalist on daily newspapers the Western Mail and the Southern Evening Echo followed by national and international television news and currents affairs for ITN, APTV, Sky and BBC World. Through his production company Small World Productions, he has made award-winning and ground-breaking documentaries for Channel 4, Discovery, BBC and ITV for more than 20 years. 

Kate Forbes

Kate commissions digital video for the BBC’s biggest online and social media platforms. She manages and mentors video journalists who produce for BBC News on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the BBC news website, reaching one in three adults in the UK. Her team has covered mental health issues extensively, engaging a hard-to-reach audience who do not consume news in traditional formats. As Planning Editor she was part of the team that redeveloped video content for the BBC News app, winning a Webby in the process. She has also won several awards as part of the BBC’s foreign news team, including an Emmy and AIB. 

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 is a passionate registered nurse with over 30 years’ experience in health services, 15 years in clinical positions and latterly in leadership positions, and as a Director of Nursing in the NHS. She now works as an independent Quality Improvement Consultant and is also a Specialist Advisor for the CQC. In October 2016 Mandy experienced severe depression, became suicidal and was admitted to an NHS acute ward for three months. During her recovery she also developed acute anxiety.

Having recovered, Mandy now shares her experience of mental illness, as both a clinician and a patient, in order to increase awareness about mental health, hope and recovery. Mandy also advocates the benefits of self-compassion, wellbeing at work, reducing stigma around mental illness and suicide prevention campaigns.  

Mark Sandell

Mark has been a journalist for more than 30 years in commercial radio, BBC radio and TV, for various indies before setting up his own podcast company 6Foot6 Productions. He edited the first breakfast programme on Radio 5 Live, launched Outside Source and World Have Your Say for BBC World and has produced news programmes on Afghanistan, Haiti, Pakistan and Rwanda among others while at the World Service. Mark has produced shows for every major BBC Network, except Radio 3. His true crime BBC podcast Beyond Reasonable Doubt earned him awards at both the Arias in 2017 and the British Podcast Awards in 2018, and he is currently working on a series of podcasts for Compassionate Mental Health. 

Martin Barrow

Martin Barrow is a journalist and writer, with three decades of experience as a reporter and editor with local and national newspapers. Martin and his wife Lorna are foster carers at their home in Sussex and have a strong interest in the mental health of children and young people. Martin co-wrote Welcome to Fostering, a guide to being a foster carer. 

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 children’s book about the human body called The Marvellous Adventure of Being Human.  

Poorna Bell

Poorna is an award-winning journalist, author of memoir Chase The Rainbow, which covers mental health and addiction, and her second book, the award-winning “In Search of Silence”. 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, The Gates Foundation, and at the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit. She is an ambassador for CALM - the male suicide prevention charity - and has been a judge for the British Book awards, First Women and Sony World Photography awards. 

Rachel Adedeji

Rachel Adedeji is a proud mother to her 1 year old, and a singer and actress who first came to public recognition in 2010 having made it to the live shows on “The X Factor”. She has since toured the UK and Europe and performed in West End shows, and is currently a regular character in Channel 4’s long running soap “Hollyoaks". Rachel is honoured to be involved in this year’s Mind Media Awards especially having talking openly about how mental health could affect mothers when not speaking openly about experiencing baby blues and post-natal depression. 

Sathnam Sanghera

Sathnam Sanghera is an award-winning columnist, feature writer, author and broadcaster from Wolverhampton. He has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards twice, for his memoir The Boy With The Topknot and his novel Marriage Material, the former being adapted by BBC Drama in 2017 and named Mind Book of the Year in 2009. He has won numerous prizes for his journalism, including Young Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards in 2002 and Media Commentator of the year in the 2015 Comment Awards. 

Scott Bryan

Scott is a TV critic and broadcaster and co-host of the BBC Radio 5 Live Must Watch podcast. He writes extensively about British television, including for The Guardian and the i newspaper. Previously he was TV Editor of BuzzFeed UK, where he once tried every technical challenge on Bake Off and failed horrifically. He appears regularly on the BBC News Channel, BBC Radio 4 and other channels to talk about the latest programme developments within the British TV industry. 

Simone Powderly

Big hair, bigger heart! is Simone's motto, but she’s so much more than this. From running workshops for teens who have experienced trauma, producing the Sister Space podcast, to championing curly hair with ‘curl power’; Simone embodies the female empowerment message she works so hard to push.

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 2019 winners

The Bupa Mind Media Awards 2019 winners have been chosen from hundreds of entries from across the media spectrum.

> See the 2019 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.

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Information and advice on a huge range of mental health topics

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