Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nomination for Mind Media Awards 2013

Nominating myself for an award goes against all my self-depracating Britishness, but buoyed on by being named on the list of most influential people in Britain I thought I would give it a go.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have long-term mental health problems and this is something I write about regularly. I also produce a podcast whose first episode was dedicated to mental health and stigma, in an interview with Charlotte, aka Bipolar Blogger. The fact that I often write from a service user's point of view does not mean that I feel I can get away with poor research or inadequate information: I always thoroughly investigate whatever subject I am writing about.

I also try to write about mental health issues in forums which are not dedicated to health or disability issues. In particular, in the past year, I have written about mental health at The F-Word feminist website and for the New Statesman:

Challenging stigma is particularly important to me. The discrimination which occurs daily, and the prejudice displayed against people with mental health problems is an incredibly widespread problem and this is made worse by irresponsible reporting in the media. Making sure that I write responsibly is therefore a key priority, and in particular I take care to follow the Samaritans guidelines on writing about suicide and self-harm. I also publicise these and share them when appropriate on social media and with other writers. I also use Trigger Warnings and Content Notes when needed.

The platforms where my writing is published have considerable reach, and I expand this further by sharing the work on my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts. This social sharing means that more people are able to find and read what I write, and can in turn share it with their friends and contacts. 

Being named on the Most Influential Disabled People in Britain list does demonstrate the reach and impact I have. Through my writing and social media work I have made contacts and been able to network with a wide array of people and organisations, and I particularly enjoy having the opportunity to connect with people who would be isolated without social media as a means of communication. 

It is for all these reasons that I am nominating myself for the Digital Media section of the Mind Media Awards 2013. I believe so strongly that reporting on mental health should be responsible and should have service user voices at its core that I follow these principles throughout my work, and it is because of these core beliefs that I am putting myself forward.