Above and beyond

Ella Rhodes on the BBC Radio 4 'All in the Mind' awards.

BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind is encouraging nominations of particularly inspirational individuals, groups and professionals for its 2016 awards. Its presenter Claudia Hammond spoke to The Psychologist about the 2014 winners, the difficulty of judging this type of award, and the incredible stories of individual support she has encountered throughout the process.

The All in the Mind Awards are split into three categories honouring an individual, professional and group seen as outstanding in supporting people with mental health difficulties. Among the previous winners were Brighton’s MindOut, a service run by and for the LGBTQ community, and Steve McDonagh who was nominated by his employee Andrew King for support given to him both in and out of the workplace.

Since the 2014 awards both the three winners and six finalists have continued their work and done even more to support others. Maya, who nominated her mother in the individual category for support she received in her battle with anorexia writes a blog sharing her experiences and said anyone thinking about nominating someone should do it, and added: ‘I didn’t think for a minute that we’d be at the award ceremony. It’s a nice way to say thank you and to recognise what she [Mum] has done for me. It also gives other people the opportunity to recognise it, Mum’s friends are always saying how kind she is. It’s a good time to step back and say that you’ve done something good.’

Hammond said while judging the first set of awards many people stood out, but even small acts of kindness seen by people with mental health problems made a massive difference to their lives, she said: ‘One person said when she was going through depression her friend left a cup of tea outside her door every morning, even on those days she couldn’t get out of bed to drink it she really appreciated the fact her friend never gave up on her. That’s one thing that really stands out – people’s persistence in trying to help.’

Though judging these awards may seem like a near-impossible task, Hammond said the stories she has encountered have reassured her of the amazing lengths humans will go to in supporting each other. She added: ‘It’s really hard, you don’t want anyone to be the “winner” as such. We try to include all of the nine shortlisted finalists and emphasise the fact that both the nominee and the person who put them forward are winners as a pair. It’s not about people with mental health problems being passive and not helping themselves – it’s about rewarding both parties.’

Those nominated, Hammond said, show incredible humility: ‘All the nominees said their actions are something anyone would do, which is the same thing heroes always say. But the truth is not everyone would act as they do in these situations – they go above and beyond.’

Author Matt Haig, Kevan Jones MP, Marion Janner, founder of Star Wards, and clinical psychologist Linda Blair will join Hammond on the judging panel. They will be looking for examples of support that showed greater than expected levels of compassion, understanding or practical assistance. er

The deadline for nominations is midnight on 31 January 2016 – see tinyurl.com/aitmaward16. Awards will be announced during a ceremony at the Wellcome Collection in London on 27 June 2016.


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