Claudia Hammond, Dame Kelly Holmes and nine incredible stories. The BBC Radio 4 All in the Mind Awards winners have been revealed
On a sunny Monday evening, as we make our way to the Wellcome Collection in London, I try to imagine the stories we’re about to hear. Having listened to the podcast for some time, I had an idea of those nominated and their stories, but there’s something very different, listening in your own time, to seeing these people in person.
We took our seats and waited for 6.30pm, when recording was due to begin. It is the day of the BBC Radio 4 All in the Mind Awards, hosted by presenter and broadcaster, Claudia Hammond.
The podcast I speak of is that of the same name, All in the Mind, a programme which explores the limits - and potential - of the human mind. The awards, launched as way of recognising and congratulating the people and organisations that have “gone above and beyond the call of duty to help you with your mental health” continue to grow, having seen three times as many applicants as last year, Claudia states.
Whether that is a result of All in the Mind having more listeners, more people being comfortable talking about mental health, or more people helping others, we don’t know - perhaps it is a combination of all three, Claudia suggests.
Working within the mental health and wellness industry myself, I would agree. In the last two years even we have seen the topic of mental health become more ‘normal’ in everyday conversation, and no longer is asking for help deemed weak. We all have mental health, sometimes we can manage it alone, other times we need someone to help us navigate that stage of our lives - and that’s totally OK.
Very moving and uplifting @BBCRadio4 All in the Mind award thus evening. Compare, the very lovely @claudiahammond, and got a pic with the lovely judges - our Marion, the fab @mandystevens22 and the glorious @damekellyholmes. Who won? Listen in tomorrow! You'll be glad you did. pic.twitter.com/NWHCZlN2WC— Star Wards (@starwards) June 25, 2018
These awards are remarkable and so needed. There are many obstacles we will face throughout our lives, but when these obstacles seem too big or impossible to overcome, it is often the support of the people around us who help us carry on. The Radio 4 All in the Mind Awards want to recognise these unsung heroes; to commend those who have made a difference to a person’s life - whether they know it or not.
Who was nominated?
There are three categories for the awards: the group or project, the professional, and the individual. For each category there are three finalists, accompanied by the person who nominated them - yes, it was quite the emotional evening.
The Project Award
The Professional Award
A mental health professional (psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, nurse, volunteer or other) whose dedicated help and support made a significant difference to an individual. The professionals nominated this year were counsellor Judith Wood, GP Dr. Jens Foell and nurse Tanya Lord.
The Individual Award
An individual friend, family member, colleague or manager who offered significant support. The individuals nominated this year was friend and actor, Madeleine Smith, shop manager Ian Cardy and pastoral lead and parent support advisor, Fiona Sadler.
Those armed with the seemingly impossible task of choosing the winners for each category were double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes, mental health campaigner Marion Janner OBE and NHS Director and mental health advocate Mandy Stevens.
Having worked in mental health and experienced their own battles, all three judges expressed how vital having a support network around you can be. With more than 1,000 applicants for the awards this year, understandably, picking a winner proved difficult. As they took to the stage to present their categories, Kelly, Marion and Fiona spoke of wanting all of the applicants to win, and how inspiring it was to hear their stories.
Now for the winners! Many of the finalists had featured previously on the All in the Mind podcast, so some of their stories I knew, but I wasn’t prepared to hear the recording again, knowing the individuals speaking were sat just a few rows ahead of me.
As each recording was played and the winner was announced, you could feel the pride they felt as they heard their name read aloud. It was their gasps of surprise and shock that really made it feel real - these people aren’t expecting to be recognised for their work or efforts in supporting those in need, it’s something that feels natural to them - which in my opinion, makes them even more deserving.
So without further ado, the winners of the 2018 BBC Radio 4 All in the Mind Awards were:
The Project Award, presented by Dame Kelly Holmes: KIM nominated by Hannah.
KIM is an award-winning charity, providing professional, high quality mental health support and recovery in the community. Their KIM sessions are group-led activities which are innovative, friendly, fun and always focused on individual development and progression. With tailored sessions for men, women and children alike, support is available to anyone.
“I can't put into words how much it's changed my life, but I know it has and for the better” said Hannah, who nominated the group. “The people I've met and come across, how much they've played a vital part in me being where I am today, the person I've progressed to be... I'm really overwhelmed right now.”
The Professional Award, presented by Marion Janner OBE: Counsellor Judith Wood, nominated by Nathan.
Nathan contacted Judith when in his early twenties, he started losing his sight. Judith, senior sight advisor at the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind (OAB) and specialist counsellor, was the person who helped him come to terms with the changes in his life, and become the man he is today. When accepting the award, Judith explains how important Nathan is to her own journey, having lost her sight herself, and how proud she is of how far he’s come and the work he’s doing for the OAB.
“Judith could share her own experiences with me, I'd never spoken to anyone else like that before” said Nathan, on being counselled by someone who had been through a similar experience.
The Individual Award, presented by Mandy Stevens: The “angel from above” Fiona Sadler, nominated by Steph.
All three finalists had incredible stories, and ones that they didn’t believe warranted recognition. Madeleine Smith for example, nominated by friend Stephanie, said in their recording how she doesn’t do much - they are only small acts of kindness, yet the difference it had made to her friend’s life was massive, as Stephanie explained.
But the winner was Fiona Sadler, pastoral lead and parent support advisor, who essentially, saved friend and nominator Steph’s life. Fiona reached out to Steph after finding a goodbye note to her son in his school bag. She was the support Steph needed and has been ever since, through that moment, through her time being sectioned, to now, where Fiona continues to be Steph’s key support network and friend. Steph describes Fiona as “an angel from above”, the woman who reached out in her moment of crisis and saved her life.
These awards truly were remarkable. The people we met - whether finalists, mental health campaigners or working within the industry - are all inspiring. All of us in that room were contributing to the raising awareness of mental health and support in some way, and it just shows that no matter how small the act, we really are making a difference.
You can listen to the All in the Mind Awards on the All in the Mind podcast, available now. You can follow Claudia on Twitter (@claudiahammond) and keep up with all things #AllintheMind on the BBC Radio 4 website.
For mental health support and to find a professional near you, visit Counselling Directory.