On Saturday 28th July 2018 I attended the first ever Mental Health Blog Awards – the brainchild of my friend Mike of Mike’s Open Journal who hosted the event (and did an amazing job by the way!).
Before travelling down to Portsmouth for the awards, I knew the STOP Suicide campaign, which I lead as part of my role at CPSL Mind, had been nominated in the ‘Campaign of the Year’ category. However, as cliché as this probably sounds, I never expected that it’d win.
I attended with no expectations in terms of the actual awards and I was absolutely fine with that. It was lovely that somebody nominated STOP Suicide at all. The whole reason I made the journey was to spend time with the friends that I’ve made through my blogging and campaigning. It was a pleasure to see Mike, Beth, Angie, Hannah, Mel & Nicole again and to finally meet people like Sophie.
It was completely the icing on the cake that STOP Suicide did win ‘Campaign of the Year’ though!
It isn’t that I don’t think our campaign deserved to win – I absolutely do. I just was sure that some of the other nominees would have a larger audience voting for their involvement in national campaigns. For instance, Jodie has done amazing work with Time to Change, Sophie with the Samaritans and Kay always performs well in awards – and rightly so – for MH Stories. That is some seriously stiff competition right there without even touching on the rest of the inspirational nominees.
My colleagues, Campaign Makers & I put everything into making a success of STOP Suicide. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved with our comparatively small regional, Cambridgeshire campaign.
Recently I’ve been evaluating the impact of our big campaign push in May 2018 and, as the results have begun to emerge, all of those evenings and weekends spent working earlier in the year feel absolutely worth it.
In May alone, campaign was seen millions of times within Cambridgeshire through bus advertising, appearances in the media (including BBC TV & Radio) and our community roadshows – at which we took an LED TV van & Campaign Makers to Cambridge train station, Peterborough city centre, Wisbech town centre, Anglia Ruskin University, Tesco, Cambridge United FC and Peterborough United FC.
That was our core aim as a local charity – to reach our local community. We know we interacted with at least 5,000 local people at our events and distributed around 32,000 suicide prevention resources.
What’s more, our pre- and post-campaign surveys show a genuine positive shift in attitudes in Cambridgeshire towards suicide prevention. People grasped our message and are more likely to act now if they are concerned that somebody may be suicidal.
This regional campaign didn’t stay regional though!
So many people internationally have embraced STOP Suicide and I am so grateful for that. We know that the campaign was seen over 1.9 million times on social media and that the film itself was viewed 70 thousand times.
For the dedication, hard work and subsequent reach & impact of our work to be recognised by my peers in the mental health community is truly special. I cannot describe how much it means to me to know that you guys – who inspire me! – have been inspired enough by a campaign that I’ve worked on to vote for it ahead of so many other worthy nominees.
I just want to say thank you to you all. To my colleagues at CPSL Mind, our STOP Suicide Campaign Makers – including Beth, Mike, Jodie, Leah & Steve who appear in the film – and everybody who has supported the campaign in any way. This award is for all of us who contribute to suicide prevention.
Our job is by no means done though. We need to continue to focus on supporting those individuals who are experiencing suicidal thoughts.
STOP Suicide, my colleagues, Campaign Makers and I will continue to do just that.