Vote in Mind’s poll on the most important mental health issue

Mind are getting ready to head to the party conferences, where they’ll be lobbying on a variety of mental health issues, including mental health at work, the benefits system, discrimination and crisis care.

They’re asking people to vote in their online poll as to what are the issues that matter most to them. The poll is illustrated with a handy infographic to help people make up their minds.

Personally I voted for “fairer benefits” as the most important issue in mental health at the moment, though all the issues mentioned are deeply important. Arguably, given the current government’s barely-disguised contempt for the most vulnerable in society, there’s never been a time when it’s more important for people to stand up and shout about mental health issues.

Go vote.


Shortlist announced for Mind Media Awards

It’s that time of year again, and Mind have just annnounced the 2012 shortlist for their media awards.

Last year The World of Mentalists co-editor Pandora won the Mark Hanson Award for Digital Media for her Confessions of a Serial Insomniac blog. This year there’s at least two of my favourite bloggers nominated – namely Inspector Michael Brown aka Mental Health Cop and Independent blogger Ilona Burton. Both of those are very deserved, and I’m looking forward to browsing the other nominees and getting to know their work a bit better.

Other than the Mark Hanson Award, I’m also pleased that the superb This is England 88 is nominated for Best Drama, and that Patrick Strudwick has been shortlisted for Journalist of the Year for his coverage of psychotherapists offering “gay cures”.

Back in July Mind asked me to write a blog post encouraging people to submit nominations. At the time I wrote,

I’ve submitted a nomination in the Digital Media category. I won’t say who I’ve nominated, other than it’s not any website that I work on. Feel free to submit your favourites too.

Now that the shortlist has been announced, I’ll say that it was Chaos and Control. I nominated her for a saga in which she was stopped by staff from blogging while an inpatient. After some considerable wrangling with the NHS trust PALS service, she seemed to spark some genuine reflection on the part of the trust. She didn’t make the shortlist, but I certainly appreciated it.

Good luck to all the nominees.

Submit your favourite bloggers and tweeters for the Mind Media Awards

On the 13th July nominations close for the Mind Media Awards. Bloggers, vloggers and tweeters can be nominated by you lot to win the Mark Hanson Digital Media Award. Last year it was won by TWOM co-editor Pandora for her Confessions of a Serial Insomniac blog, and in 2009 another Madosphere regular, Seaneen Molloy, won Best Radio Drama for her Radio 4 play, Do’s and Don’ts for the Mentally Interesting.

Both Pandora and Seaneen richly deserved their awards, though I may be biased in saying that since they’re both friends of mine. That said, the Mind Awards also alerted me to some new media figures who I hadn’t heard of before. Beckie0’s trichotillomania YouTube vlogs won the Comic Relief Speaking Out award in 2011, and I’ve been a firm fan of her videos ever since.



I know some people have criticised Mind for running a media awards ceremony, and suggested it’s all a bit glitzy and corporate. My own view of this is that we do need good portrayals of mental health in the media, and one way to encourage that is reward and recognise those that are created. Lord knows there’s been enough bad portrayals over the years.

I’ve submitted a nomination in the Digital Media category. I won’t say who I’ve nominated, other than it’s not any website that I work on. Feel free to submit your favourites too.

Notes from the #MindAwards

Yesterday evening, I found myself at the Mind Media Awards 2011 in London. Pandora, the author of Confessions of a Serial Insomniac, had been nominated for the Mark Hanson New Media Award, and had kindly invited me along as one of her guests.  Hence Pandora, her partner A and I were sat in the audience as Mind honoured positive portrayals of mental health issues in the media.

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Crisis in Mental Health Care

Crisis Care in Mental Health – both community and inpatient –  is inconsistent and increasingly unable to deliver quality services.  Mind published a report today following an independent inquiry which they have carried out called ‘Listening to Experience’. This inquiry looked at evidence from 400 patients, professionals and providers and was intended to provide a qualitative shapshot of care in England.

While the press release points out that some outstandingly good levels of care were reported, it is useful to note some of the main points of criticism that were raised.

When looking at some of the examples cited in the statement from Mind, it’s hard to separate these issues from the agenda of cuts that is currently underway in public services and despite the government’s vehement denial that this is not going to lead to reductions in clinical staff, all I can say is that on the ground, I see it happening with my own eyes.

We have, and this is personal experience, wards closing, staff with redundancy hanging over them, downgrading of professionals and replacing qualified staff with unqualified staff. These are not management posts. These are all clinical posts. Staff remaining are pushed further and yes, eligibility is rising and service delivery is reaching a smaller group of people.
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