The entries for the Mind charity annual media awards closed on Friday 7th July, a shortlist will be announced later this year. Last years’ winners presented a touching array of stories from Professor Green sharing his experiences about his Dad’s suicide to Rosie Adam’s blog about post-natal depression. The awards help to publicise important developments surrounding mental health in the media and through public engagement, with awards for digital champion and student journalist among those for drama and radio. There are also special awards given for speaking out and making a difference. These categories allow a particular focus for addressing the stigma surrounding mental health encourage people to talk about it and provides the drivers to initiate change, especially for young people.
In the words of Jeremy Paxman,
“I think the big difficulty is for people to realise that this is perfectly normal, it is perfectly normal to have mental health problems. I’ve got a bad knee at present, but I’m not embarrassed to tell you or anybody else about it, but people are embarrassed to talk about mental issues, and its perfectly normal, particularly among young people, to have issues with depression or suicidal feelings. I don’t think you’re going to change young people overnight but what you can do is change the climate around it so that they’re find it easier to talk and to seek help and you know, the media can really help with that.”
This coincides with the Mind annual mental health survey which allows everyone over the age of 16 to share their experiences surrounding mental health and accessing care and services. This is a simple and accessible way to gather data to look at how well service providers are meeting the demands of the public, but what about children and young people below the age of sixteen? Could this particular survey model be tailored specifically for younger age groups and parents? With mental ill-health becoming an increasing concern for our children and suggestions that CAMHS waiting times are ever increasing, would it not be useful to provide a similar survey to parents, professionals and young people to share their experiences and identify gaps in this particular area. Last year the office of national statistics carried out the first survey on children’s mental health since 2004 – that’s over 12 years in which a significant and important age group was forgotten, suggesting that there is scope for such a survey to be useful, such as those in the Children’s Societies Good Childhood report, which suggest that mental health and wellbeing in children has declined over the past 5 years. Something needs to be done to address this gap so that the mental health and wellbeing of future generations is not overlooked.
*Please note: all opinions and views expressed are that of the MICE Hub and not associated with Mind charity. All published media associated with Mind charity is original and reproduced exactly as it was published at mind.org.uk