EastEnders Scoops Top Honour At Mental Health Media Awards

Lacey TurnerBBC flagship soap EastEnders was honoured last night at the Mind Mental Health Media Awards with the prestigious Making a Difference award.  The award is presented to those broadcasters whose innovative and inspirational portrayals of mental health have a genuine impact on people’s lives.

The judges praised EastEnders‘ ongoing commitment to mental health issues that includes the storyline following the experience of two characters, Jean Slater and her daughter, Stacey Branning, and their diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer said: “For over 20 years, EastEnders has consistently addressed the issues which affect us as individuals and as a society.  Homophobia, racism, drug-addiction, AIDS, euthanasia, and now mental health problems all explored through the characters we come to know and love. The experience of Jean Slater in managing her bipolar disorder and then that of her daughter Stacey, in coming to terms with her diagnosis has demonstrated how mental health issues can be dramatised sensitively, authentically and responsibly, enriching the viewer’s experience.”

The actresses Gillian Wright and Lacy Turner who play Jean and Stacey, were at the star studded ceremony at BAFTA hosted by comedian Shappi Khorsandi.

Accepting the award from Mind Chief Executive Paul Farmer, the series’ Executive Producer, Diederick Santer said: “Thank you, it is a tremendous honour to be told that we’re making a difference. It is a great privilege to work on a soap as you can develop a character over weeks, months and even years, you don’t have to wrap everything up in the space of 30 minutes. It gives us the chance to show that mental health is a fact of life and not an ‘issue’ that needs ‘tackling’. Thanks also to all our contacts who help us with these stories, charities including Mind, individuals, academics, etc, so thanks to everyone for their input”.

The Mind Mental Health Media Awards, sponsored by Comic Relief and Shift, celebrate the best portrayals and reporting of mental distress on TV and radio over the last year. This is the first year the prestigious awards were hosted by Mind following its merger with Mental Health Media earlier this year.