On Thursday 5th of February Ian Callaghan attended Admiralty House in Whitehall to receive a Mental Health Hero award from the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. The awards were to recognise those who, in the words of Nick Clegg, have ‘gone above and beyond to help, support or inspire people with mental health conditions.’ Ian was nominated for this award by Olivia Butterworth, Head of Public Voice, for NHS England amongst others.
Those of you familiar with the work of the Recovery and Outcomes Groups will know that Ian has worked tirelessly for a number of years on a voluntary basis to raise awareness of life in secure services and the issues that affect people using these services.
This work started through involvement in the My Shared Pathway Project, then setting up and facilitating a network of regional Recovery and Outcomes Groups. Last year Ian organised the first National Recovery and Outcomes Conference that brought together people from secure services from all over the country. It was a truly inspiring event with over 100 people living in secure services and 350 delegates in total, it was the first time so many people from secure care had met together in one place.
In typically modest fashion on receiving this award Ian said: "For the past two years it has been my privilege to be the organiser and facilitator of the Recovery and Outcomes Groups and to have been the main organiser of last year’s national conference. I’ve been doing this as a volunteer but with the support and encouragement of many other people and organisations including NHS England and Rethink Mental Illness.
It’s been such an important part of my own recovery journey and has helped keep me well for the past four years. Through this involvement I come into contact with some of the bravest of people – people who are so often marginalised, misunderstood and sometimes even vilified in the press. It is for all these people – the real heroes – that I accept this award."
Rosie Ayub – Patient and Public Partnership Account Manager at NHS England attended the award ceremony with Ian and said: "It was a fantastic night surrounded by people passionate about mental health who have selflessly given so much. When introduced to Nick Clegg, Ian didn't miss the opportunity to raise the profile of the challenges service users face in secure services and the fantastic work happening across the country. I know I am joined by many people who are delighted that Ian's inspirational work has been recognised in this way and I can't think of a more worthy winner."