Mind Champion of the Year Award 2008 shortlist announced

Progressive psychologist Rufus May and acclaimed author Clare Allan shortlisted for mental health prize

Mental health maverick Rufus May and writer Clare Allan have been nominated for the Mind Champion of the Year Award 2008. The nominees will compete with mental health campaigners, journalists and medical professionals for the title, which celebrates the work of people who have challenged stigma and contributed to a greater understanding of mental health issues.  Previous winners include last year's champion Stephen Fry for his awareness-raising work on bipolar disorder, Frank Bruno and mental health campaigner Peter Campbell.

Mind is inviting the public to vote for their favourite Mind Champion from a shortlist of seven candidates at: www.mind.org.uk

The winner will be announced on Thursday 15 May at the Mind Awards ceremony at Kingsway Hall Hotel, London, hosted by Mind's president Lord Melvyn Bragg. The Mind Book of the Year, Journalist of the Year and Student Journalist of the Year will also be announced at the event.

This year's nominees for Mind Champion of the Year are:

Clare Allan
Journalist and author Clare Allan rose to fame in 2007 with the release of her novel Poppy Shakespeare, a satirical take on life on the inside of the mental health inpatient system. Her book was recently adapted into a 90-minute drama for channel 4. Clare has spoken openly in the media about her own mental health problems, and writes a regular column for Society Guardian on issues affecting mental health service users.

Patrick Bracken
Patrick Bracken is a practicing psychiatrist and an active supporter of the mental health service user movement. Trained in both psychiatry and philosophy, he is author of several books including Trauma: Culture, Meaning and Philosophy and Postpsychiatry: A New Direction for Mental Health. He works at the University of Central Lancashire where he holds a chair in the new Institute for Philosophy, Diversity and Mental Health and also as a clinician with the West Cork Mental health Service where he is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Clinical Director.

Mark Easton
Mark is Home Editor for BBC News, an award winning documentary-maker and news correspondent. He wrote and presented the BBC 2 series The Happiness Formula which investigated the science and politics of wellbeing. Mark strives to make the mental health agenda accessible to a wide audience and to get the voice of people with mental health problems heard. His informed and fair reporting sets the standard for how mental health issues should be covered in the media and he recently contributed to a guide aimed at journalists and editors on how to accurately report on mental health and suicide.

Rufus May
Rufus May was 18 years old when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and told he would be taking medication for the rest of his life. Since that day, Rufus has come off medication and trained as a clinical psychologist, and is a dedicated campaigner on mental health issues. Many consider Rufus to be a maverick as he believes there is no such thing as schizophrenia, that medication can destroy lives and that there's nothing wrong with hearing voices. His controversial work is the focus of a Channel 4 documentary The Doctor who hears voices to be screened this evening (Monday 21 April at 10pm).

Dr Liz Miller
Liz Miller is a practicing GP in London who has spoken and written openly about her own mental health, and managing her bipolar disorder without medication. She is co-founder of the Doctors' support network, a self-help group for doctors who are experiencing mental health problems and a trustee of the mental health charity Stand to Reason. She is also a frequent columnist for 'Pendulum' the magazine of MDF the Bipolar Organisation. Liz frequently speaks out on self-management strategies and last year appeared on Stephen Fry's documentary The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive talking about her personal experiences.

Marius Romme and Sandra Escher
Highly regarded progressive psychiatrist Dr Marius Romme and science journalist Dr Sandra Escher are best known for their pioneering work on hearing voices. Co-authors of groundbreaking books Accepting voices and Making sense of voices, their work focuses on how to manage auditory hallucinations successfully, and started the hearing voices movement. Romme and Escher have also been involved in setting up self-help groups for people who hear voices across Europe.

Dr Jan Wallcraft
This year, Jan Wallcraft celebrates 20 years of involvement in mental health activism at a national level. A mental health system survivor herself, Jan has worked at a variety of mental health organisations where she has promoted the views of mental health service users. The first co-ordinator of Mind's user network, Mindlink, she went on to help set up UK Advocacy Network, and was a member of Survivors' Speak Out's national committee. Jan was lead researcher on the user-led Strategies for Living Project at the Mental Health Foundation and was formerly the National Institute for Mental Health in England's Fellow for Experts by Experience.

Cast your vote at www.mind.org.uk

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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