Press release

Local Mental Health Heroes recognised by the Deputy PM

Nick Clegg announced the winners of the Mental Health Hero Awards, as people are asked to take 5 minutes to help break the stigma around mental health.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Deputy PM wearing a campaign "Time to Talk" T-shirt

The Deputy Prime Minister has announced the winners of his Mental Health Hero Awards in recognition of people who have done extraordinary things to help, support or inspire people with mental health conditions. Ten regional winners will be recognised at a special awards ceremony tonight following a country-wide search and more than 900 nominations.

The awards will be handed out at a reception in Whitehall to mark Time to Talk Day, where people are being encouraged to take 5 minutes out of their day to talk about mental health and help bring it out of the shadows.

Time to Talk Day has been launched by mental health anti-stigma campaign Time to Change, whose latest survey has revealed that nearly 60% of people with mental health problems wait over a year to tell the people closest to them about it.

Time to Change video

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

I’ve been overwhelmed by the huge number of responses we’ve had for these awards and the incredible work going on to help other people in their darkest hours. Every single one of them is helping us win the fight to tackle the stigma and prejudice around mental health and build a fairer society where no one has to suffer in silence. In my eyes they are all winners.

Days like this are a reminder of the progress we have made in raising awareness of mental health, but we still have a long way to go. Today, we can all make a difference by giving just 5 minutes for Time to Talk Day and speaking out about mental health. It may be minutes to you but could make a world of difference for someone else.

The Deputy Prime Minister also announced that the Department of Health will continue to fund Time to Change for a further year, with an additional £2.5 million on top of the £16 million already invested since 2011. This money will help support and empower people to talk about their mental health problems and to tackle the discrimination they face.

Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister, said:

I’m delighted that we’re investing a further £2.5 million in the vital work of Time to Change next year. The programme has led the way in tackling the devastating stigma faced by so many with mental health problems.

We all have a role to play in ending discrimination for good – Time to Talk Day is a fantastic opportunity to start conversations and I’m pleased to see so many people getting the recognition they deserve through today’s awards.

Tonight’s awards are part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s ongoing work to bring awareness of and treatment for mental health in line with physical health. In government he has helped build a strong foundation for the improvement of mental health services, securing:

About the Mental Health Hero award winners

The regional winners were chosen by an expert panel who were looking for those who were leading the way in changing lives through one or more of the following:

  • helping to break the stigma around mental health
  • inspiring others in addressing or overcoming mental health problems
  • making it easier for people to access mental health support and advice
  • supporting people experiencing mental health problems to stay in or return to work
  • pioneering new or innovative ways of supporting people with mental health problems and/or their families

Kai Moore (south east)

Kai is a former Youth MP for West Sussex who co-founded the ‘Free Your Mind’ campaign 2 years ago. This campaign focused on challenging the stigma and challenges associated with young people’s mental health. Kai led this work by raising the campaign’s aims in a series of interviews, speeches and major events, such as a pioneering youth-led ‘Free Your Mind’ Convention in October 2014. Kai is now a student at the University of Reading but he has left a strong legacy for his Youth MP successors to carry on campaigning to improve outcomes for young people experiencing mental health issues. He said:

I am so amazed and thankful to have been nominated, let alone to have been a winner. I am so grateful for all of the help and support I have received over the years from all of the people and organisations I’ve had contact with and I hope that the campaign and all other work in this area are carried on for years to come.

There is still a lot of work to be done in mental health services and I am just so happy to be able to say I have been a part of it.

Debbie Humberstone (south-west)

Debbie was nominated by her daughter Jess Foster for her work as the founder and coordinator of The Project, a charitable organisation based out of Axminster in Devon that seeks to create a network to support young people aged 12 to 24 with mental health issues. She said:

I feel very touched to have been nominated for this award, and so proud to have won. It means a huge amount to have The Project recognised in this way, and I hope that winning this award will help highlight the importance of the work we are doing, and generally make people more aware of the issues around young people’s mental health.

Anyone and everyone can play a part in changing attitudes to mental illness, by speaking out and taking a stand against the stigma which surrounds it. I am inspired daily by the young people I work with, who show such courage and determination in overcoming their mental health issues – they are the ones who really deserve the award.

Simba Kaseke (London)

Simba Kaseke is an Inpatient Lead Nurse based at the Hammersmith and Fulham Mental Health Unit, part of West London Mental Health NHS Trust (WLMHT). Simba was nominated by Suzanne McMillan, the Head of Inpatient Care at WLMHT, for outstanding leadership and passion in caring for those experiencing mental health crises, ensuring that the right care and compassion is always available for those who need it. Simba has been praised by multiple sources for his work, including the Metropolitan Police and Norman Lamb MP, Minister for Care and Support at the Department of Health. He said:

Firstly, I would like to thank the Deputy Prime Minister for launching the Mental Health Hereos award. I feel honoured and privileged to be one of the recipients of this award. I do hope that this initiative that the Deputy Prime Minister has launched will go some way in raising awareness of mental illness, dispel some of the stigma and prejudice associated with it.

Hopefully this will result in people with mental illness having the same parity as people suffering with any other medical condition. This award is not only a recognition the work I have been doing but is also a recognition of passion and dedication of each and every member of staff in West London Mental Health Trust. By putting the needs of the patients first, WLMHT is the only Trust that does not turn away any patients picked up by the police under Section 136. This has resulted in no adult patient being detained in a police cell for over a year and no child under 18 with mental illness has been detained in a police cell for over 2 years.

Becki Luscombe (West Midlands)

Becki Luscombe was a tenacious and committed campaigner who, by using her own personal struggles with mental health, managed to raise the issues pioneered by Time to Change to a national level. Tragically, Becki died in September 2014 aged just 23. However, in her short life she managed to take troublesome and complicated issues and deal with them in an open and friendly way, for example by playing a key role in a ‘Laughing for Change’ group in Birmingham. She also achieved national prominence in 2013 for leading a campaign against several supermarkets that were stocking offensive ‘mental health patient’ outfits for Hallowe’en.

Becki’s parents Richard and Sue Luscombe are accepting the award on her behalf, saying that, along with their profound sadness, they felt enormous pride in Becki’s achievements. They expressed her wish that, “If my experiences can be used to further any cause, I would be honoured.”

Myira Khan (East Midlands)

Myira is a counsellor based in Leicester, who has led work locally, nationally and internationally to break down the particular stigma mental health conditions are faced with within Muslim and South Asian communities. Myira offers counselling locally and has also led on a variety of campaigns in her local area and more widely. She founded the Muslim Counsellor and Psychotherapist Network in April 2013 which seeks to promote counselling as a career path for those from Muslim communities, and has attended multiple national conferences and speaking engagements on the topic of mental health stigma in South Asian communities. She said:

I am really honoured and humbled to be receiving the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero Award. I believe it is a reflection of my work as a Counsellor, Lecturer and as the Founder of the Muslim Counsellor & Psychotherapist Network.

I am driven by my passion to create easier and wider access to counselling services for our communities and to provide effective, safe and supportive counselling to all clients.

I also believe in my social responsibility to break down barriers and reduce the stigma around mental health issues. Mental health awareness, talking therapies and counselling/mental health services need to be recognised and fully supported and funded to ensure that everyone can get access to services and the help they need, when they need it.”

Clive Hathaway Travis (east of England)

Clive is an author and campaigner who spent a significant part of his life suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Using his personal experiences, Clive regularly writes, speaks and campaigns on what it is like to experience – and be treated for – severe mental health illnesses, and advocates for better care and understanding of these concerns. This work resulted in a book, ‘Looking for Prince Charles’ Dog’, which was published in 2013 and raised significant proceeds for a number of charities. Clive was nominated by Alison Bass, a psychiatric nurse at South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, who originally worked on treating Clive a decade ago. He said:

I am overwhelmed with pride at receipt of this reward. Thanks very much to the Deputy Prime Minister and the committee for the award which I gratefully accept for the whole service user community.

The mental health service user fraternity really needs to see that recovery from paranoid schizophrenia and depression with a return to a happy and productive life is a possibility.

I relish this opportunity to do that as I am happy, productive and have avoided hospital for over 10 years now.

Jack Wilson (north-east)

In 2009 Jack was subjected to bullying that left him suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, and unable to attend mainstream school. He has since become a volunteer with YoungMinds and has been active with media appearances and speaking engagements in seeking to motivate other young people to either address their own mental health issues or better understand those suffered by their peers. Jack is currently a Young People’s Service User Governor for Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust and works full time as an Apprentice Youth Worker at Youth Focus: North East. Jack was nominated by his mum Suzanne. He said:

I never expected anything like it to happen to me. It means so much to just be nominated for this award let alone win it, I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me get here: my tutors at Hospital and Home Tuition Service Gateshead, my psychiatrists, YoungMinds, Youth Focus: North East, but most importantly, my family who have been there for me through thick and thin – I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

Bob Paxman (north-west)

Bob is a former Special Forces soldier who suffered a near total mental breakdown in 2006 following his time in the military. Drawing on his personal experiences, Bob has since founded a charity called Talking2Minds with another veteran, Ernie Dowell. This charity has researched, created and put into practice a new form of talking therapy known as ‘Paradigm’, which is tailored towards ex-service people and their families and has helped nearly 500 people since 2009. This has been managed with a minimal amount of funds through use of volunteers and borrowed facilities. Bob was nominated by his friend Stephen McDowell who is also a trustee of the charity. Bob said:

I am thrilled and honoured at this award. This is a recognition not only of the massive and growing problem that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder represents, particularly among veterans, but also that Talking2minds is doing its bit to give PTSD sufferers their lives back.

This award is for the thousands of unpaid hours our volunteers have willingly given to help us to give lives back to the living and end the devastation that PTSD causes individuals and their families.

Helen Boutle (Yorkshire)

Helen has spent 20 years leading local communities in Barnsley and Wakefield to provide greater care, compassion and understanding to those suffering from mental health conditions. Through a variety of work and projects, Helen has been instrumental in the emergence of a new community known as Creative Recovery, a people-led organisation that uses creative, therapeutic and social activities to challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and enabling those with experience of mental health conditions are able to live their lives to the full. She said:

These awards are a great opportunity to enliven conversations about mental health. By sharing our experiences we know that we’re not alone and this has never been more important. At Creative Recovery we share positive messages and believe that coming together and being creative can be a catalyst for change.

It’s about getting people thinking about what they can do to boost their own communities and reach out to those who have become isolated, connecting with each other and fostering a new sense of acceptance and belonging.

Ian Callaghan (south-east)

As a former user of secure mental health services, Ian has been working with Rethink Mental Illness and NHS England to provide strategic advice and direction focused on ensuring that patients using secure mental health facilities know exactly the quality and nature of the treatment they can expect to receive. Ian has also pioneered several national conferences that celebrate the achievements in this area and harness their learning potential, and has been credited with effecting a real culture shift within secure mental health services. Ian was nominated by Olivia Butterworth, Head of Public Voice at NHS England, who has worked closely with him on his projects to improve secure mental health services. He said:

I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award – in fact I’m bowled over! I don’t feel like a hero at all because I so thoroughly enjoy the involvement I have with the Recovery and Outcomes project for people receiving care in secure mental health units around the country.

I started with the project when I was a patient in a secure service and it’s great to be able to give something back. Along with a dedicated group of others, I help support people in their recovery and give people a voice outside their service and that’s incredibly rewarding.

To see people that are hidden behind high fences and thick walls who’ve experienced some awful events in their lives make real progress towards rebuilding their lives is a privilege to be a part of – and it’s for all those people that I receive this award.

Notes to editors

Time to Change is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness Since 2011, more than 2 million people (4.8% of the population) have improved their attitudes towards people who have a mental illness. In 2013, Time to Change reported the biggest improvement in public attitudes in a decade.

The Time to Change survey was conducted online using Survey Monkey between 12 December 2014 and 12 January 2015 and was completed by a total of 5,843 people in the UK with experience of a mental health problem.

Other findings from the survey:

  • 73% of people said that once they’d told family and friends, they were the most supportive of all groups including employers, colleagues, teachers, GPs/doctors and online networks
  • when asked about the impact that stigma and discrimination has on their life, 64% of people said it was as bad as or worse than the mental health problem itself
  • 40% currently experience stigma and discrimination either weekly or monthly
  • 66% said that stigma and discrimination had stopped them from socialising
  • 39% said it had stopped them from having a relationship
  • 44% said they were most worried about telling family or friends about their mental health problem compared to 6% who said they were most worried about telling their GP/doctor
  • when asked about whether or not things had improved since getting involved with Time to Change, the picture becomes more positive with 66% saying they became more confident to tell their friends and family about their mental health problem, and 32% saying they were more confident in seeking help

Top statistics on mental health

  • 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year
  • 3 children in every classroom have a diagnosable mental health condition
  • only a quarter of people with a common mental health problem get treatment, mostly in the form of medication
  • 2.3 million people with a mental health condition are out of work and mental health conditions are the primary reason for claiming health related benefits
  • the OECD estimated that mental ill-health costs the economy an estimated £70 billion a year, equivalent to 4.5% of GDP, through lost productivity, social benefits and health care
  • the most common mental health problem is depression which is experienced by 8 to 12% of the population
Published 5 February 2015