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25th Jun, 2022

Search is on for region's unsung heroes of mental health

THE search is on for unsung heroes across the region, as nominations open for the West Midlands Mental Health Star 2022 awards.

Organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the awards aim to celebrate people who are making a real difference for the mental health of others as well as recognising those that have made a significant contribution to improving mental health and wellbeing across their community.

This year’s awards are linked to the WMCA’s new Mental Health Commission, whose remit includes highlighting examples of innovation and good practice in mental health.

Nominations are invited from across the WMCA and anyone can suggest an individual or organisation they believe are making a positive impact.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, said, “After an incredibly difficult period for so many due to the pandemic, addressing mental health issues has never been more important.

“That’s why I am really pleased to be bringing our Mental Health Star Awards back, and I look forward to hearing positive stories from across the West Midlands of the fantastic and selfless work people have done to help others.

“Not only do these awards give us the opportunity to shine a light on unsung heroes that have helped others throughout our region, but they also help highlight the ongoing issues surrounding mental health and wellbeing, and what more needs to be done to address them.”

At the 2020 awards, Sophia Badhan won the top award of West Midlands Thrive Mental Health Superstar for working tirelessly to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health, following her own battle with anorexia.

She took the time to visit schools across the West Midlands to encourage positive talk around mental health as well as working with Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust to improve the involvement of young people in their own care.

Currently studying European Languages and Cultures at the University of Groningen, the teenager, originally from Sutton Coldfield, is also part of the mental health youth board Think 4 Brum, where she has led the development of a Self-Isolation Survival Guide, offering practical advice and tips to help young people with pre-existing mental health conditions stay positive during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Speaking on the opening up of nominations for 2022, Sophia said, “After struggling with mental health issues myself, I understand how important it is to give credit to all of the amazing charities, services, and people out there who are making a positive difference in people’s lives every single day.

“Winning the award in 2020 meant everything to me and if anyone thinks that others have also deserved recognition for their hard work in improving mental health, I strongly encourage them to nominate.”

The closing date for nominations is Sunday January 23, 2022 at 23.59pm.

For more information, please visit www.wmca.org.uk/starawards

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