The President’s Medal

I’m going to take myself to the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, later today – the Royal College of Psychiatrists is holding its 2015 International Congress in my adopted city, the place where I started my policing career and got interested in mental health issues.  In February, Professor Sir Simon WESSLEY invited me to attend and “honour the College by accepting a President’s Medal for a significant contribution to the lives of people with mental illness.”

WOW!   just WOW!  WOW!!  WOW!!!

I will admit, when I read Sir Simon’s letter inviting me to accept the medal, I smiled very broadly indeed … and then I unintentionally laughed out loud at the very thought of it. A policeman banging on about mental health law and mental health guidelines is something I still find fairly unlikely and somwhat hilarious for the impact it appears to have, if I’m honest.

Far more seriously – and having learned a bit more about the President’s Medals and to whom the Royal College gives them – I am just utterly overawed by the honour and very, very humbled.  It has typically been given to senior politicians like Norman LAMB, Lynne JONES and Charles WALKER; or to Chief Executives of our major mental health charities like Paul FARMER, Paul JENKINS and Sean DUGGAN.  Add to that mix various other international academics, politicians and psychiatrists who have also had a particular impact and I’m just stunned, grateful and amazed to be listed alongside them in the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Roll of Honour.

So tonight, after spending many evenings and weekends blogging, tweeting and taking phone calls – especially during the time when none of this stuff was really any of my business and especially when I probably should have been doing any number of other things – I get to take myself off to an awards’ ceremony at the ICC and a slap up meal in the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham (my alma mater) … what’s not to like?!

I actually started writing this BLOG for frontline cops who are given very little training on mental health issues and mental health law before being sent out on the frontline of British policing, protecting vulnerable people.  I’m grateful to those in policing and especially to those beyond it who tell me they’ve used it – over one million times. In particular, I’ve always taken heart from feedback that patients and their families have used the information to stand up for their rights when dealing with police officers or mental health professionals.

No blogs for the next week and a half – the BROWNs are off on holiday tomorrow for more celebration and some certain relaxation.

IMG_0053IMG_0052Winner of the President’s Medal from
the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award.


12 thoughts on “The President’s Medal

  1. 1 July 2015
    Dear Michael,
    You are truly honoured in the best possible way – you did not seek glory but sought ways to understand and have compassion. Your award is truly merited.
    Best wishes to you and your family and have a great vacation.

  2. Congratulations! Very well deserved and a just reward for your endeavours. It’s not just ‘front-line bobbies’ that read your blog. As a Paramedic I’ve had plenty of use from it too. Enjoy your special night, and your holiday. Best wishes for your continued success.

  3. Michael an oustanding achievement and justly deserved; enjoy the evening and of course your well earned break with the family. Llongyfarchiaday/Congratulations well done Dave Morgan (@daimogssoapbox)

  4. Congratulations on a much deserved recognition of your work. Hope you have a splendid time and you and the folks get a well earned and happy break.

  5. Congratulations, Michael. I know you’re work was intended to assist police officers, but I am sure I am not alone in having used what I have learned from you on several occasions in a non-policing environment. Influence is a vine and your vine is flourishing: enjoy every well-deserved minute.

  6. Do the mentally ill get a good beating in cells under section 136? No one would believe them if they tried to complain, because they are mentally ill.

    1. Firstly, use of police cells massively reduced and if I may so say: largely as a result of my work and that of some others in the West Midlands area about 10yrs ago which proved influential nationally and up to the highest levels of Government – so to the extent that your very casual jab has any merit at all, adverse outcomes and experiences happen far, far less than they used to.

      And to the extent that things do still go badly awry, most of the major inquiries and reports have said, again and again, that is about society as a whole and public services as a whole – not just about the police. So don’t take my word for anything: read the independent reports.

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