Campbell praises media's improving mental health coverage

Alastair Campbell, giving the keynote speech at the Mental Health Media Awards last night, was out of character as he praised some sections of the media for their coverage of mental health conditions.

"I spend a lot of my time criticising our media, particularly for the way it covers politics – but I think we have seen a gradual and growing improvement in the way we see mental health issues portrayed, and events like this can help continue that trend," said Campbell, who revealed having battled depression while working at Number 10 in an interview with the Independent on Sunday's Sophie Goodchild.

Goodchild, along with Francis Elliott received an award for their Independent on Sunday investigation, "Prozac Nation", which ran in April. It was the first year that an award was given for print publications.

"As someone with personal knowledge of mental health distress after a '24 –carat' breakdown, I know that a sympathetic storyline in a programme like Eastenders can make a real difference for people who are having to live with it in reality', said Campbell.

Maggie Gibbons, chief executive of Mental Health Media, the organisers of the Awards said that while coverage of mental health issues had improved both nationally and regionally, more still needed to be done.

"The challenge for journalists, writers and programme makers is to make sure the bar doesn't slip and challenge any suggestion of stereotyping and poor language when it comes to airing mental health issues in the public domain, in whatever shape or form," Gibbons said.

Guardian Films won the award for the "TV and Radio News" category for "Iraq Mental Meltdown," a documentary made for Channel 4.

The "Young People's Media" award went to Maroon Productions for "Giving up the Weed", produced Channel Four.

The "Factual Radio" award went to "In the Bin" by Loftus Productions for BBC Radio 4 and a series about suicide produced by NCVS/BBC for BBC Radio Nottingham won the "Raising Public Awareness" award. The "One Life" TV strand on BBC One took the "Making a Difference" award.

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