Mind Champion of the Year announced

Mental health charity Mind haveannounced Dr Liz Miller as Mind Champion of the Year 2008 at its annual awards ceremony in central London hosted by Melvyn Bragg.

The Mind Champion of the Year Award, which is voted for by visitors to Mind's website, honours those who have made a significant contribution to challenging discrimination against people with mental health problems.

Liz, a practising GP in London, has bipolar disorder and has written and spoken openly about her self management strategies, last year appearing on Stephen Fry's documentary The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive. She has been an inspiration to other doctors and was co-founder of the Doctors' Support Network, a self-help group for doctors who are experiencing mental health problems.

On receiving the accolade, Liz said: "I'm very touched to receive the award. It's really important that we change attitudes about mental health, and a good starting point is changing attitudes within the medical profession. Through the Doctors' support network we aim for doctors to learn to be kinder to themselves and others and to let them know they're not alone. Doctor's get ill too - we're only human after all."

Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: "Liz deals admirably with her own mental health problems whilst working in a demanding profession and finding time to be a passionate mental health campaigner. Liz was instrumental in establishing the Doctors' Support Network. Being a GP herself, she was aware that doctors often don't make easy patients and saw a need to give them someone to confide in who would truly understand their perspective. She is a fantastic role model and a worthy winner of this year's Champion of the Year Award."

Liz received hundreds of votes, beating off competition from mental health campaigners, journalists and other medical professionals to claim the title. Previous winners of the Mind Champion of the Year Award include Stephen Fry and Frank Bruno.

Awards were also presented for Mind Book of the Year - which went to Sunday Express Editor Martin Townsend for his book The father I had about life growing up with a father diagnosed with bipolar disorder; Mind Journalist of the Year - which went to Society Guardian journalist Mary O'Hara and Mind Student Journalist of the Year - which was awarded to Huw Davies of the University of Cardiff newspaper Gair Rhydd for his article on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.    

The Mind Awards are part of Mind Week, which this year focuses on debt and mental distress. Mind's new report In the red: debt and mental health shows that debt is a significant factor in worsening our mental health and people living with mental health problems are almost 3 times more likely to be in debt.

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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