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.
Winner of the Mind Digital Media Award.