The search is on for unsung heroes across the region, as nominations open for the Thrive West Midlands Mental Health Star 2020 awards.
Organised by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), the Thrive awards celebrate the people, teams or organisations who have made a significant contribution to improving mental health in their area.
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “The Thrive awards are a brilliant way to recognise the achievements of the unsung heroes from the region who are making a positive difference to their communities.
“I am delighted to be a part of the awards for the third successive year as the stories never fail to inspire and amaze.
“Not only do the Thrive Awards celebrate our unsung heroes but they also help to highlight the many issues still surrounding mental health and wellbeing, which we know we must work hard to help eradicate.”
Nominations are invited from across the WMCA region – anyone can suggest an individual or organisation they feel has had a positive impact on their own or someone else’s mental wellbeing.
It could be a friend, family, work colleague, carer or health professional, an individual or someone representing a group or company – and could be in either a personal or professional context. The closing date for nominations is Sunday 3 November.
Shuranjeet Singh, aged 23, from Handsworth, Birmingham, won a Thrive West Midlands Mental Health Star 2019 award in the Young Person category for his work to raise awareness of mental health issues and signpost people to support.
He set up a not-for-profit organisation called Taraki – a Punjabi word for moving forward positively – following his own experience of mental illness while studying for his undergraduate degree.
Taraki’s projects include encouraging Punjabi men to talk openly about mental illness – the organisation’s website features personal stories and photographs of more than 50 men – and holding mental health and wellbeing workshops for Punjabi students at British universities.
Shuranjeet said: “Winning a Thrive Award in 2019 was a fantastic opportunity to not only showcase the work Taraki has done with Punjabi communities but also to learn about the inspirational acts of other people to better their own, others’ and their wider community’s mental wellbeing.
“For me, it was a great boost of motivation to continue driving Taraki’s work forward across the country. I would encourage anyone to nominate a friend or organisation who has helped to improve people’s mental health. No matter how small, we can all contribute to a collective change in our society if we work, support and encourage one another.”
Shortlisted nominees will be invited to an awards ceremony on Wednesday 29 January 2020 at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich Albion Football Club.
For more information and to nominate someone for a Mental Health Star Award, visit https://www.wmca.org.uk/thriveawards
Caption: Deborah Cadman, CEO of the WMCA, presents Shuranjeet Singh with his Thrive West Midlands Mental Health Star 2019 award