UK radio awards for BBC Radio Berkshire Talking Heads programme – reducing the stigma around mental health
Last year CMG acquired an excellent specialist mental health provider, Sevilles, which runs outreach services for vulnerable adults with mental health challenges in the Reading and Wokingham areas. Sevilles (now called CMG) is run by Polly Falconer who has a wealth of knowledge in mental health including her own lived experience.
Polly, not only helps those with mental health problems, but effortlessly talks about her own experiences. To such an extent that she has been instrumental in winning two awards for a Talking Heads radio show on BBC Radio Berkshire.
In Polly’s words: “Brighter Berkshire is a campaign that was started by my neighbour who was frustrated by the lack of conversation around mental health. Together, we approached BBC Radio Berkshire with the idea of opening up conversations about mental health. There was initial excitement around the idea with the suggestion of running a 2 hour mid morning programme with myself and 2 other women presenting the show. However this was met with a lot of resistance. After all 3 women with lived experience of mental health challenges on the radio talking about their experiences, didn’t seem like a good idea.
Despite the resistance however, the show went ahead. Talking Heads was born and was well received.* We have covered a range of topics including schizophrenia, sport & mental health, work and mental health, mental health and the arts and men’s mental health. Last month we broadcasted from Prospect Park Hospital to demystify what happens in a psychiatric hospital.
Although we have a range of guests, the thing the audience comment on the most, is the 3 of us talking about our own experiences and the fact that we also have some fun on the show, which all helps to break down the stigma.
We were nominated for the Audio & Radio Industry Awards (ARIAs) for Best Community Programme and received a Bronze Award. These awards are for the best in UK radio across the board. And also a Frank Gillard Award for Diversity where we also got a Bronze. These awards are for the best in BBC Radio.”
Polly has also been doing some great work for CMG to support our own efforts around improving mental health support for our staff. After receiving some excellent feedback at a workshop she ran at our recent Registered Manger’s Conference, Polly will now be running regular training sessions for our CMG managers to help create more awareness around mental health.
CMG also intends to roll out a programme around resilience, to further support staff in their roles and promote a culture of support around mental health wellbeing.
*Talking Heads goes out 11- 1pm on the 3rd Monday of the month and can be found in the middle of the Sarah Walker Show on iplayer for 30 days after the show