The 2021 National Counsellors’ Day Awards – Winners!
We are delighted to announce this years National Counsellors’ Day Awards winners. You can check out these amazing individuals and organisations below. A huge thanks to all who entered, we had some brilliant entries and it wasn’t easy choosing the winners!
Best new private practice
WINNER – Liverpool Therapy Rooms
Nomination: Pamela started this business from scratch in 2019, painting the offices, furnishings, advertising and working hard to get known. Pam has successfully turned her business from an empty property to a thriving business helping other counsellors rent rooms, get clients and share in her success. Pam rents to individuals and has a mix of professionals on board. It is thriving, clients have nothing but good things to say and it’s all from a vision she had. I am so proud of her and the business and wanted her to get some recognition from the counselling community. I am proud to call her my friend. Please check out her website. Pam has not had an easy life and this success is driven, she’s is empowering herself and clients and a true wonder woman.
Pam is a beacon to women in business; that it can succeed and it does work. Liverpool Therapy Rooms is the kind of business every large city should have for counsellors looking for a supportive place to work and gives them the confidence to go on and achieve their own goals. The clients are benefitting from this business.
Runner Up – Gill Jackson Therapeutic Counselling
Nomination: I am an integrative therapist (qualified for 13 years) volunteering as a therapist part time alongside teaching nurses and care staff. During Covid lockdown 1 I was made redundant just as I as due to come back from MAT leave. I was gutted but I made the most of a and set up in private practice. I could see there was a massive need for therapists due to the pandemic. Within 6 months I had created a full thriving private practice and have helped over 50 clients to live better lives. I also still teach nurses once or twice a month via zoom on an ad hoc self-employed basis.
I work with clients with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and anger. I am passionate about working within this niche because of my own experiences of anxiety and depression (post-natal after baby 1). I have offered discounted rates for as many people as I can afford to, so that I can help as many people as possible during these very challenging times.
I have been working online and via phone as well as offering walk and talk sessions in local parks. Walk and talks are really popular and an amazing way to work, plus much safer during the pandemic. (Social distancing, regular covid tests and strict guidelines are followed at all times).
I am nominating myself after it was suggested to me by a colleague, she was very impressed with how hard I’ve worked balancing 2 kids, a partner, house, pets, home schooling and setting up my practice.
Most inspirational campaigner/activist
Erin Stevens – www.aclientfirst.com
Nomination: Erin inspires me every day with her tireless campaign work and activism on social media. She is also a very supportive friend and colleague. Erin’s voice has reached so many, inspired others to become activists, given others confidence to speak out and to make change. Her approach is tireless and she never gives up. Even with the daunting task of facing professional bodies, she still perseveres and through her lead I believe she has inspired change for the better in the profession.
Erin is a therapist, writer, poet and activist based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. She is a member of the Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility steering group, and has been a prominent figure in opposing the SCoPEd framework since 2019. Erin is interested in structural oppression, the dynamics of power, and harm in therapy.
After a harmful experience of therapy, it became apparent that the counselling and psychotherapy profession is remarkably reticent about discussing and engaging with harm in therapy, and after reading online about many other clients in the same boat as her, Erin realised that this needs to change.
Her ambition is to remove the taboo around discussing harm in therapy, to create spaces where therapists feel able to engage with this little-spoken-about aspect of the profession, and ultimately, to help therapists to examine their own anxieties and fears around harm, before inevitably, in our practices, we come into contact with clients who have experienced harm.
Erin is the author of ‘Harm in Therapy, an introduction for counsellors and psychotherapists’ (PCCS books, publication date TBC) as well as developing training and resources for therapists to engage with this crucial topic. She is also the current political columnist for Self & Society – the journal of the Association for Humanistic Psychology.
Best Private Practice
BCS Mental Health Service
Nomination: I have decided to nominate my practice, not for myself but for my team.
BCS offers counselling to our local community and beyond, we have been able to offer video, phone, office and home visit appointments. We have a wonderful mix of approaches and disciplines, including everything from PCT, CBT and Hypnotherapy, currently we have 5 qualified therapists with a mix of experience, however over the last year we have aimed to only recruit newly qualified therapists, as we all know heading out after qualifying can be daunting, so joining us gives them vital experience and support in their transition from student to counsellor. Alongside side this support we have been able to run online anxiety workshops and support groups.
Alongside this side of our practice, we have a foundation called Let’s Talk, that offers low-cost counselling to local charities where a percentage of each session fee is donated back to the charity, we charge £10 per session and donate £2.50 of this, all of this money gets fed back into the project to secure its longevity. To run this project, we use an amazing selection of students in their final year of studies, to help them accumulate their hours, we do this by offering free supervision and training throughout their time with us. With this foundation we work with some amazing charities such as Hate Crime Wales, Victims Support, and Age Connects.
I like to think that our practice is innovative, due the dynamic nature of our team, we always aim to constantly adapt and develop our services , I started this practice on my own 5 years ago, after deciding to change my own destiny, I started in a little box room in a community centre with the dream of never having to refer someone on, and creating a multi-disciplinary team under one roof, and in the last 5 years we have made some many positive steps towards doing this, however this work will never be done and we will always keep pushing to be able to achieve this and achieve the goal of making visiting a therapist as normal and easy as getting glasses or seeing a GP.
With accepting and mixing different therapeutic approaches we are able to keep growing in our understanding of clients’ needs and that variety of treatment is better than a single approach
Our whole team during this pandemic have never stopped working, moving online and back to face to face when able and then back online again. they did this without missing a beat. Our client loads doubled during this time, and we were still able to offer low-cost counselling to key workers, and deliver our amazing service.
This is one of the main reasons I am nominating my team, as during this time, they have stepped up, never wavered, never complained and just did what they did best, including our team of incredible students, who during this time worked closely with a domestic violence contract so their work was more important than ever during this time. So, for me now is the time I ensure and seek out the recognition they deserve.
Runner Up – ClearView Counselling and Psychotherapy
Nomination: I am a counsellor with a thriving private practice which I set up 12 years ago. I specialise in working with adults who are Neurodivergent (especially other Autistics or ADH(D)-ers) and / or people who are diverse in terms of their gender, sexuality, or relationship(s); along with people with mental or physical health conditions and EAP work. I’m a gay, physically disabled, autistic, and otherwise neurodivergent person, from an immigrant background, and am actively committed to providing therapy to those who are part of similar marginalised groups. I am an activist who is firmly committed to issues of social justice and equality, especially for those in the LGBTQIA+ and Neurodivergent communities.
I qualified during the recession in 2008 and set up my private practice during those difficult times, unsure if becoming self-employed would be realistic. I therefore continued working part-time paid & voluntarily at a mental health charity, and gradually gained the confidence to become solely self-employed. It was a risk as I have physical disabilities and long-term health conditions (epilepsy and diabetes to name but a few), but having my own private practice has enabled me to work with the hours that suit me & with adaptations to suit. As a gay woman I soon recognised that there was a real lack of LGBTQIA+ affirmative & identifying therapists in South Wales, and I soon gained recognition as an openly-gay and LGBTQIA+ affirming therapist within my local area. This has also rapidly expanded over the last 8 years to the Trans* / Non-binary community. I’ve always tried to reach those who may be scared of entering therapy for fear of rejection such as those who identify as gender, sexuality and relationship diverse. Following my own diagnosis 5 years ago as Autistic, and subsequently realising I’m additionally ADH(D), Dyscalculic & Dyspraxic, I’ve also actively reached out to Neurodivergent clients too, as many have had poor experiences of therapy before due to a lack of therapists’ knowledge about neurodiversity. Nowadays I have a consistently full private practice and over 90% of my clients are neurodivergent (especially autistic / ADH(D) ) and/or gender, sexuality or relationship diverse. It has felt risky at times being openly gay, neurodiverse, disabled, and from an immigrant background within our profession, and I’ve certainly encountered other therapists who doubt that autistics “possess empathy” needed to be counsellors. However, I’ve remained my true authentic self and continue to grow my practice to help others from similar backgrounds that have historically been oppressed; and I continue to strive to demonstrate to others in our profession that autistics can be successful therapists too.
Due to my physical health conditions that make me highly vulnerable to Covid-19, I’ve had to completely alter my way of working and cease face-to-face sessions for the time being. I had to immediately start offering sessions via telephone or video, neither of which are particularly easy for many, and especially not for many neurodivergent people. As an autistic person myself I never thought I’d be able to make a video call (eye contact in person is hard enough, and there’s so much stimulus!), but I’ve managed to transition easily, and successfully ‘coach’ my clients to help them navigate remote working, and all have remained in therapy. They’ve all said they actually like it as I encourage them to dress comfortably and stim if they want to to help them regulate and remain focused. Nothing makes me happier than to see an autistic or ADH(D) client dressed in comfy PJs, using their fidget toys to stim, flapping, spinning, or pacing the room, whilst happily engaging in therapy from their home!
Most inspirational volunteer counsellor
Nomination: David Cooper completed his placement with Essex probation service offering a professional and supportive environment for our service users. often working with complex issues, he provided a non-judgmental attitude to a client group that is often underrepresented much of the time. David continued his professional and compassionate attitude supporting other students passing on his knowledge and experiences to support students coming into the service. David continues to offer regular hours to our service even though he is now qualified and works with our more complex cases. He has demonstrated an ability to hold clients that are often experiencing a deep level of emotional disturbance and trauma. He continues to bring ideas and a supportive approach to new students to enhance the counselling service within the criminal justice system. David offers his service on a voluntary basis and has helped implement new ideas to enhance the referral process and how students work with trauma. David took online training to working with people on the phones and online and responded to the needs of the service.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Beatrice (Bea) Millar
Nomination: Beatrice (Bea) is retiring this summer after an outstanding career as 27 years as a person-centred counsellor, supervisor, and also after being the Chair of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) for a number of years. She has been my therapist since 2013, thought my counselling training and beyond. Beatrice is the most impressive therapist I’ve worked with, and I’ve had a few before her. She is a living embodiment of Rogers’ relationship conditions. She pops my conditions of worth with her ever-pervading unconditional positive regard. She is so self-aware and congruent, and is able to bring a powerful sense of empathy to the work. But the main word I would use to describe her is dignified. I always feel like I can trust her, at a very deep level. She has a deep belief in love as being central to her work and to her life, I think and has really taught me how to love myself, through loving me, and I’m sure this the case for the many other clients she has seen throughout her career.
As the chair of the PSCR, Beatrice has led them in many campaigns, conferences and workshops – most recently doing work on “Being White” and other anti-racist projects, but so much more. She is always involved in signing / writing letters to the press and politicians, and marching against injustices. She has been involved in a peace walk in Hyde Park, and for me this is the essence of her – campaigning, but also an embodiment of peace.
I obviously don’t know a lot about her life outside the therapy room, so maybe it would be useful for other members of PSCR to speak about her work in this context. But I really feel she deserves recognition as she retires from what has been such an impactful career as a counsellor, as these careers are often so invisible from those who have not experienced the person in their role as a therapist or supervisor.
Employee of the year
Nomination: I have been Michelle’s line manager for 2 and a half years. She works as part of a Workplace counselling team at Alliance Psychological Services, providing 1:1 counselling to clients referring into the service.
I know you’ll receive many different nominations but there are several reasons why I’d like to put Michelle forwards for consideration. I refer to her within the service as my little diamond and more widely as a walking ray of sunshine – always upbeat, always positive. Her confidence in her abilities has really grown over the last couple of years, including on managing risk and safeguarding. The feedback we receive from her clients has always been first rate. Clients describe her as a “lifesaver”, who has helped them to “rediscover my passions”. One recent client said she’d “given me my life back”, another that “Michelle has really made such a positive impact to my life and for that I thank her truly from the bottom of my heart. I will be forever grateful.”
We are fortunate in our profession that we get to support individuals and not just help lives but save lives too. The reason I would like to recognise Michelle in particular is that she has spent the last year working from home and caring for her son, who has autism and learning disabilities. Just getting a quiet space to work has been a challenge for her and, although family members have helped when they have been able, she has had to juggle caring for him with carrying out client work. As a parent myself, I recognise just how unfair it is to invade our children’s homes with our work. But her son has no concept of this and just wants to be near his mum at all times. She was really stressed by this, worrying about potential distractions or interruptions and worrying about spending any time away from him. We agreed early on that this needed to be part of her contracting process so that clients could be made aware if needed or that calls may be interrupted and picked up again. Thankfully all were understanding and grateful for her support.
It brought home to me that, while many of us are fortunate to have the ability to do our jobs from home, many of us don’t have the means, either due to caring responsibilities or equipment and connectivity issues. Michelle has really risen to the challenge, balanced her responsibilities and given as much as she can to her clients, working flexibly over evenings or weekends as time has allowed. She is a truly client-centred, ethical, trustworthy, human practitioner who i feel represents the best of our profession.
Most inspirational tutor/lecturer
Lesley, S. Dougan
*Programme Lead for MA Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice and MA Counselling and Psychotherapeutic Practice at Liverpool John Moores University
Nomination: I have nominated Lesley because she has been a source of inspiration and encouragement within both my professional academic counselling training and within my personal development. Lesley has been a constant reminder of my acceptance of me as a developing counsellor and the acceptance of myself as a neurodivergent person/counsellor. Prior to this course of study, I was masking who I was, although obviously not because my differences have been pointed out through the years, something which I accepted as a flaw within me. My self-esteem and confidence was shrouded with self-contempt but hidden with a smile. I accepted and laughed off questions and jokes about my neurodivergent ways and internalised my sense of self as being stupid and abnormal. With Lesley’s accepting presence , genuine, non-judgmental attitude and qualities I could flourish and develop as a competent counsellor and my self-concept has shifted from distorted conditioned beliefs about self to that of someone who can hold their head high, question discriminatory judgments and know my worth as a human being, who is different from but who has lots to offer for just being me. There were times where I struggled with processing and Lesley within my one-to-one sessions about assignments, she was understanding of my ways of being and was fully supportive and adapted her practice to accommodate my needs. Lesley also taught lectures on a wide range of topics including autistic process and pre-therapy. The way in which she delivers her lectures was also at a speed and pace that is inclusive to all learners and hidden disabilities, most importantly the subject content and the delivery is of a quality that is inclusive and thorough in the material provided. Lesley has encouraged me to continue and at no time did I feel different or feel like giving up. Lesley is passionate about her teaching and subjects and this is evident with the extensive material and support that is given and encouraged with all her team . My experience as a trainee has been enjoyable because at every corner of a struggle, I was given the time and explanation in a clear and concise way. At no point where students made to feel they had to answer a question by Lesley , or felt any pressure, we all developed and grew in strength at our own pace, yet with gentle encouragement we could grow as competent counsellors. Lesley was also my personal development group supervisor and as a result of the ways in which she accepted me and her own ways of expression and calming influence and genuine care for her students, I was able to further grow and develop ,which has resulted in profound changes within me, in my personal life and expectations from future employers. I will no longer be silenced by a life that was stunted by childhood adversity or hiding who I am, because Lesley allowed me to open up, gently encouraging me to speak the truth. Lesley is also my academic supervisor for my dissertation year, again she is inclusive with her guidance and adapts emails that make sense and I am so very grateful.
The course includes presentations about diverse ways of being and included neurodiversity throughout the course modules. Students were also given the option to pre-record presentations we had to deliver which reduced my anxiety over speaking excessively and feeling shamed. Lesley also allowed me to record lectures which I have since deleted but this enable me to process over in my own time. Lecture slides were also provided (emailed) days before the actual lecture so that I could process the information. We also enjoyed a curriculum with the core model of person-centred and experiential practice, integrating other specific approaches.
We had additional training telephone counselling/online which was well laid out and easy to understand. I believe if it was not for the training we received in telephone/online counselling I would not have been as prepared or competent. We were able to practice with each other and could see the pitfalls and benefits of actually practicing and had to give feedback. I consider LJMU and the tutors who delivered this were proficient in guiding us. The online learning was just as exemplary as face to face, although it was disheartening not to have actual lecture and can never be the same level due to technology interference and being able to engage face to face , it was a relief to have such supportive tutors who were able to support each and every one of us through this difficult time.
Most Innovative Private Practice
Nomination: I qualified in 2017 and set up Serendipity Counselling the following year. I wanted the practice to have an Affordable Counselling offer, as I felt, the community needed more counselling provision as other agencies either had closed their waiting lists or there was a 3 month plus waiting time. I began working Teesside University to offer a placement to students on their PhD Counselling Psychology programme. This was successful and subsequently a local men’s wellness charity approached us with a collaboration to offer free counselling to the guys they were working with who were in need. For every 10 guys who turned up to one of their social events there always seemed to be one who needed additional support and they recognised that need and they wanted fund a minimum of 6 free sessions.
We have just completed 300 hours of free men’s counselling funded by Menfulness. Our collaboration and their social media skills brough the practice to the attention of other agencies. There are now 5 counsellors on placement with me at Serendipity from Teesside, Leeds Beckett, York St John Universities in addition to the University of Derby. We also work with Changing Lives-York Women’s Centre and the City of York Local Area Coordinators to provide funded counselling for their clients.
I am so proud of the work we have done at Serendipity Counselling I feel I would like the team to be recognised and celebrated. It has grown organically and now has a proven, successful business model in addition to being a real asset to the local community. It has taken hard work, a lot of learning but some great collaborations have been made with training institutions and community agencies. We also regularly consult with men’s mental health charities across the UK on our way of working. All referrals are contacted with 24 hours and appointments usually available within a week or so.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work that I and my team have put into working and celebrate our success. I know many before me have provided the service we do but our success during a pandemic has been amazing!
Student of the Year
Nomination: Diana is a student on the Level 5 diploma at The Manchester College. She qualifies in June/July this year. Diana is a simply wonderful human being. She has overcome considerable persona difficulties in order to pursue her ambitions of becoming a counsellor, whilst raising two small children alone. Despite everything, Diana has been a source of immense kindness. Whilst establishing her own boundaries, her generosity of spirit and kindness are immense. Diana supports other students who are struggling – always in a respectful way that does not undermine autonomy. During a dreadful year on our course, we have had uncertainty, deaths, dropouts etc. Diana is a voice of kindness and gentle support. Diana is calm, authentic, kind, compassionate and generous. She has supported our entire class in one way or another.
Bio and response:
I am first and foremost a proud mum of two children, however as they got older, I wanted to try something different for myself. So, I changed my job of ten years and enrolled on the Level 2 Counselling Concepts course at The Manchester College.
What has followed has been a wonderful journey, filled with generous people willing to give of themselves in order to enrich our experience as trainee counsellors. I am so happy to say that despite a pandemic, home-schooling, a new job with Pharmacist Support (a charity that supports the wellbeing of Pharmacists) and a whole new online world, I am about to finish my Level 5 Therapeutic Counselling Diploma.
It has been the most interesting, rewarding, tiring but ultimately fulfilling thing I have ever done and I am grateful to all who have contributed to my journey. It was a lovely surprise to be nominated. Thank you so much!
Employer of the year
Nomination: Spill offers an online counselling service with video calls, phone and a written Ask a therapist questions service. It is simple to access for clients and has a great platform to work from.
Spill has been a fantastic employer. They offer a very competitive wage for their Counsellors, amazing support from the management team, in-house supervision and CPD for free which has included 3 sessions with Windy Dryden. They demonstrate that their counsellors are valued and listened to and are very open and transparent with feedback received from the Counsellors back to the Spill team and also with providing feedback for Counsellors from both the company and from clients. They are innovative offering Single Session therapy alongside sets of sessions and the written questions service. They also sent out a Christmas present and thank you card to all the Counsellors on the team, including myself who had only joined the spill team the week before. These little things also help to make it feel a positive place to work and to feel valued.
Counsellor of the Year
Freedom Release Multilingual Counselling and Emotional Well-Being Centre
Nomination: There is a high demand of multilingual counsellors in the UK. I specialise in trauma, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, career issues and addictive behaviours. I also work in schools with pupils who are unhappy and getting into trouble or finding it hard to find their place in the world. Multilingual Counselling services for children, young people, adults. (English, Polish, Lithuanian, Russian languages)
During these challenging times, I still provide both face to face and online counselling and emotional support for my clients, help them to overcome their struggles and take back control over their lives.
I would like people whose English language is not native to know they are not alone and can get help in their own language. I’m always working to the highest professional standards, constantly updating my knowledge through research, and undertake training in the latest techniques to keep my skills up to date with developments in the world of psychotherapy, and making sure I provide my clients with the best service I can.
Counsellors Together UK – Member of the Year
Hi I’m Becki, She/Her. I am a LGBT and disabled therapist in training. I’ve been quietly political for years, but was always advised to not put my head above the parapet. Stumbling across some incredible activist therapists on twitter introduced me to a world of passion and challenge. It was here that I found a place to voice my need for accessibility and inclusion. The lock-downs of 2020, whilst bringing their own challenges, suddenly made the world more accessible for me in regards to networking, protesting and training. This has brought me into contact with CTUK, PCU and the PCSR. I recently joined the PCSR’s steering group, allowing me to engage heavily in the organisation and our work with anti-oppressive practice. I’ve been heavily campaigning for accessibility for the disabled community, as well as improving inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community. I’m also a counsellor for an LGBTQIA+ organisation, and completing my placement hours to set up my private practice.
From CTUK Admin:
Becki was chosen as our member of the year precisely because of the tenacity she describes above. What she doesn’t share, but we are happy to, is the community she has built around her and we have seen this grow over the last year along with her confidence. It has been a pleasure to watch her journey towards becoming a more outspoken person who is not afraid to spark fire into her passions. She represents what we hope every member of Counsellors’ Together UK will experience as they seek and find their own voice in this community.
Chosen by CTUK members
Unshame by Carolyn Spring
How do we move from shame to ‘unshame’? This book by Carolyn Spring documents her journey through psychotherapy to overcome trauma and dissociation: a must-read for all counsellors, psychotherapists and other mental health professionals, as well as clients and survivors
Carolyn is well known amongst counsellors and her preceding book ‘recovery is my best revenge’ is a popular recommendation (alongside Carolyn’s trainings) to professionals wanting to learn more about dissociation. Unshame is a unique look into the therapeutic journey of trauma recovery and it is no surprise it found itself at the top of the voting poll.
Recommended Read (non-professional)
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
A dazzling novel about all the choices that go into a life well lived, from the internationally bestselling author of Reasons to Stay Alive and How To Stop Time.
Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
Matt has managed to carve his spot within a niche that, at times can feel both saturated and sparse of content. He writes in an accessible way that make his works suitable for clients and counsellors alike.
Student Choice 2021
Drop the Disorder by Jo Watson
In October 2016 Jo Watson hosted the very first ‘A Disorder for Everyone!’ event in Birmingham, with psychologist Dr Lucy Johnstone, to explore (and explode) the culture of psychiatric diagnosis in mental health. To provide a space to continue the debate after the event, Jo also set up the now hugely popular and active Facebook group ‘Drop the Disorder!’.
Since then, they have delivered events in towns and cities across the UK, bringing together activists, survivors and professionals to debate psychiatric diagnosis. How and why does psychiatric diagnosis hold such power? What harm it can do? What are the alternatives to diagnosis, and how it can be positively challenged?
This book takes the themes, energy and passions of the AD4E events – bringing together many of the event speakers with others who have stories to tell and messages to share in the struggle to challenge diagnosis.
This is an essential book for every one of us who looks beyond the labels.
Jo is an outstanding person, not that she lets you tell her that. But it is true. What she has managed to create, long before this book was in the making really is exceptional. Reading this book is like attending one of her events. There is a lot to think about and it never shies away from the hard truths about our mental health system.
Product of the Year
I may destroy you by Michaela Coel. Aired on BBC One and HBO
I May Destroy You is a British drama television series created, written, co-directed, and executive produced by Michaela Coel for BBC One and HBO. The series is set in London with a predominantly Black British cast. Coel stars as Arabella, a twenty-something writer in the public eye who seeks to rebuild her life after being raped. The series premiered on 8 June 2020 on BBC One and on 7 June 2020 on HBO.
This critically acclaimed drama punches hard around many issues of sexual violence. From the different types of assault, reporting to the police, how different people are responded to as they report to the police and those who make false accusations. The series allows for nuance and it runs with it creating complex and not always likable characters. But then, that is reality. We are not always likable and the aftermath of rape is not pretty or likable.
Best public figure promoting mental health
Russel Brand may not be the first name that you think of in this light but the man behind the nomination has undergone some transformative work over the last couple of years that now sees him talking about mental health, spirituality and recovery to his 2.5 million followers on Instagram. From regular meditations to podcast interviews with mental health professionals and spiritual leaders. His book, Recovery, is a reworking of the 12-step programme that he used to overcome his own addictions. It is written in an accessible manner which demystifies the whole process and makes it relatable to many more people. He embodies the de-stigmatisation of seeking help for mental distress by sharing about his own struggles and with sharing about therapeutic concepts that many feel are beyond their reach.