Garfield scoops Mind accolade

Freelance Simon Garfield has been crowned Mind Journalist of the Year for his investigative piece “Unhappy Anniversary”, which appeared in The Observer Review.

The article traced the legacy of tranquillisers such as Valium, following the drug’s 40th anniversary.

Judge Sophie Goodchild said his article was “written in a thoughtprovoking but unsensationalist style that combined sensitive case studies with some impressive original material”.

Garfield said: “This really was a fascinating piece to write. Journalists have to be careful not to become a social worker or doctor when getting involved in writing these sorts of pieces, but it is always gratifying to know that you are helping people.

“I am very honoured to win the Mind award. It is a charity that does not sit on the fence on issues and is constantly campaigning and lobbying to make a change.”

Times columnist Matthew Parris was named runner-up for his piece “Dispatches from Prozac City, an estate somewhere near you”. In it, Parris paints a bleak picture of a Britain increasingly depressed and dependent on anti-depressants.

Melvin Bragg presented the awards, which celebrate reporting of mental health issues in the local, national and consumer press, and are now in their 10th year.

Other journalists shortlisted were: Emma Elms, Marie Claire; Paul Groves, Birmingham Post; John Hinton, freelance, The Times; Nick Johnston, freelance/columnist, The Observer; Mary Riddell, The Observer.

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