Cold Feet, Hollyoaks, Victoria Derbyshire, Bryony Gordon and I, Daniel Blake were among the winners at the Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards last night. The ceremony, hosted by Mind Ambassador Fearne Cotton, with an introduction from the charity’s President Stephen Fry, was held at the ODEON Leicester Square.
Celebrity guests including Frankie Bridge, George Ezra, John Thomson, Andrea McLean, Nadia Sawalha and Harry Judd attended the awards to celebrate those who, through compelling, honest, and well-crafted work in the media are making a contribution to changing attitudes about mental health.
Prince Harry presented the Speaking Out Award, to the ten runners who featured in the BBC One documentary Mind over Marathon. It is the first time that Mind has given the prestigious award to more than one winner, but in a year that has been exceptional for people speaking publicly about their mental health, the charity wanted to recognise the whole group as a symbol of their remarkable achievements.
Prince Harry, together with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, has this year spearheaded the Heads Together campaign, of which Mind is a charity partner. The Heads Together campaign, which aims to change the conversation about mental health, was also the charity partner for this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon.
Speaking at the event, Prince Harry said:
“I wanted to come here tonight to say thank you. At the beginning of the year William, Catherine and I believed the country was on the cusp of something special. We noticed after decades of hard work from dedicated campaigners, people seemed ready for a different kind of conversation on mental health.
Everyone was tired of stigma and scare stories about mental illness, and frustrated it was always being written up in a negative way. They saw that their children were emotionally open in new ways that seemed positive and empowering. Finally, we were all beginning to grasp that mental fitness was an issue worth talking about for every one of us. They were ready for a truly national conversation on mental health.
With the help of people in this room, this is exactly what we’ve had. In classrooms, in workplaces, around the dinner table, between friends even between strangers. People are now really talking about their own wellbeing and looking to help those around them. And while just talking doesn’t cure all ills, we are now shattering the silence that was a real barrier to progress.
We are grateful that so many in the media got behind the Heads Together campaign. You helped make it the success it has been. But the biggest thanks has to go to the British public. You embraced it, you engaged with it, you normalised it. I’m sure millions of you were surprised by how many people around you had suffered without you knowing. And at the same time, what a relief it was that you were now able to share your own hardships and experiences. Whether you were the talker or the listener, we have all learned a great deal about ourselves and become better people for it.
The nominees here tonight have told incredible stories of courage, challenge and triumph throughout an extraordinary year of mental health journalism. Thank you so much for your work and dedication. But I would especially like to thank the people who were brave enough to share their own personal stories with the public.”
Fearne Cotton, who hosted this year’s awards, spoke candidly about her personal experience of depression and the response she received earlier this year to the publication of her book HAPPY.
Mind Ambassador Fearne Cotton said:
“I think that depression or other mental health problems can make you feel so alienated and like you’re the anomaly. I think once you open up you realise that you’re actually part of a really beautiful, helpful community and that you can really help one another. I had an overwhelming response from people I had never met. People who have, or are still working through tough times themselves, or have been affected by loved ones living with mental health problems. The stories were varied and personal and always so appreciated as I knew then that the whole project had been worth it.”
Mind’s Chief Executive Paul Farmer, said:
“All of the winners and nominees at this year’s Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards have played a vital role in creating greater awareness about mental health and, in doing so, have challenged some of the outdated attitudes and stereotypes that still exist in society and in our media.
The role of the media on public attitudes is huge, and it’s fantastic to see from Time to Change’s new research that balanced and informed coverage is now outweighing stigmatising coverage of mental health in print media. We’re incredibly proud to celebrate some of that work here tonight with the people that are helping to drive that change.
“We received a record number of entries for this year’s Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards, in what has been a phenomenal year for the profile of mental health in the media. At Mind, we’ve seen the impact of this, with more people calling our infoline for help and support and more people accessing the services offered by our local Minds. But this is not the end of our journey. Sadly, we know that stigma and discrimination still exists, which is why we want to thank everyone nominated for an award for challenging perceptions and making the voices of the one in four of us that experiences a mental health problem each year heard.”
In fitting surroundings, the Film category, sponsored by ODEON, was selected by a public vote and awarded to I, Daniel Blake, which tells the story of a carpenter, played by Dave Johns, recovering from a heart attack and navigating the modern benefits system.
Speaking about the Film Award via video message, the film’s director Ken Loach said:
“It was a story we felt needed to be told about the social pressures that arise from poverty and from a conscious cruelty by the state where people are forced into choices about their lives and their futures which are clearly going to have a devastating effect on their mental stability….The two main characters, who both became very distressed and unable to cope, had real problems both mentally and physically as a consequence of social deprivation, poverty and even hunger. Mind has done terrific work over the years so to be recognised by you is really important to us.”
The News and Current Affairs Award was presented to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire in recognitionof the dozens of stories on mental health covered sensitively by the programme across the year. Meanwhile Catherine Jones of 5 News was awarded Journalist of the yearfor her series of stories about failings in the mental health care system and the human cost.
BBC Radio 1Xtra took home the award for Radio for their ongoing campaignMy Mind & Me – the year-long focus on issues around mental health affecting young Black and Asian audiences.
In the Soaps and Continuing Seriescategory, sponsored by Lipsy, Hollyoaks beat competition from EastEnders, Casualty and Call the Midwife, for its storyline on character Scott Drinkwell, while Cold Feet – after celebrating its return to screens after a 13-year hiatus – won the award for Dramafor its storyline centring on the depression of John Thomson’s character, Pete.
There was a new award this year, as Mind came together with 2016 winners ITV’s Loose Women to launch the Lighten the Load Hero award. This award celebrates the everyday heroes who support those of us living with mental health problems. The award was presented to Leeanne Tomlinson who was nominated by her colleague Susan Kirlew.
Me and My Mental Illness, which told the unflinching stories of seven people living with various mental health problems straight to camera, won in the Documentary category, sponsored by The England and Wales Cricket Board. Elsewhere Construction News won the award for Publication, for their Mind Matters Campaign. The campaign addressed the issue of suicide in male construction workers – who are at the greatest risk of suicide in the UK at 3.7 times above the national average – by encouraging leaders in the sector to share their personal stories to empower others to seek help.
This year’s Making a Difference award – presented to someone in the media that sets the agenda and initiates change – went to Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon, whose memoir Mad Girl addressed her life with OCD with honesty and humour, as well as presenting the Telegraph’s Mad World podcast and founding Mental Health Mates.
Robin Brinkworth of Edinburgh University won the Student Journalist award, in memory of Anna Sargent, for his work on the first ever ranking of UK university mental health services for The Tab. BBC Three’s Things Not to Say won in the Entertainment category, while the award for Digital Championwent to Ian Boldsworth for The Mental Podcast, which deals with deeply personal accounts from Ian regarding his mental health, alongside interviews with friends.
Photographs from the Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Awards are available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmb6ttxh
The full list of Virgin Money Giving Mind Media Award winners:
My Mind & Me, BBC Radio1, BBC Radio 1Xtra & BBC Asian Network
Entertainment sponsored by The Energy Network
The Things Not To Say, BBC Three (Mentorn Media)
Student Journalist in memory of Anna Sargent
Robin Brinkworth, Edinburgh University
Mind Matters Campaign, Construction News
News & Current Affairs
Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Two & BBC News Channel
Journalist sponsored by Bupa
Catherine Jones, 5 News, ITN
Soaps or Continual Series sponsored by Lipsy
Hollyoaks, Channel 4 (Lime Pictures)
Film sponsored by ODEON
I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach
The Mental Podcast, Ian Boldsworth
Documentary sponsored The England and Wales Cricket Board
Me and My Mental Illness, Channel 5 (Knickerbockerglory TV)
Cold Feet, ITV (Big Talk Productions)
The ten runners from BBC’s Mind Over Marathon
Making a Difference
Bryony Gordon, writer of Mad Girl, presenter of the Telegraph’s Mad World podcast, founder of Mental Health Mates
Loose Women Lighten the Load Hero award
Leeanne TomlinsonMental health in the media