Mental health campaigners Bryony Gordon and Dr Alex George are among the recipients of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ President’s medal for improving the lives of people with mental illness.
In his final week as College President, Dr Adrian James has awarded medals to eight individuals who have contributed to improving mental health policy, knowledge and education, population mental health or patient care needs in population and patient care in challenging circumstances.
Recipients are chosen by the College President and approved by the College’s Nominations Committee.
Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said:
“These awards are one of the ways in which we celebrate and honour people in all walks of life who have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to improving the lives of people with mental illness. There are many individuals doing outstanding work to change lives and it was no easy feat to choose the winners of this year’s President’s medal.
“After much consideration, we have chosen eight people whose contributions in diverse fields relevant to mental health are truly stunning and inspiring to the profession. We are deeply grateful for their contributions, and we look forward to continuing our work with them for years to come.”
Among those awarded are campaigner Dr Alex George and journalist Bryony Gordon. Dr Alex George is a former reality TV star, a current A&E doctor and Government Youth Mental Health Ambassador. Alex is on a mission to improve mental health support for young people, including campaigning for Early Support Hubs. In 2021 he presented his first full length documentary for BBC One and Children in Need, “Dr Alex: Our Young Mental Health Crisis”.
His successful podcast, Stompcast, promotes the importance of walking in nature for mental and physical wellbeing.
Alex George, President’s Medal 2023 Recipient, said:
“I am incredibly honoured to have been awarded the President’s medal. I’d like to say a special thank you to Dr Adrian James who has always been so kind to me, especially when I started in my role as Youth Mental Health Ambassador.
“I was full of energy and wanted to help, but I was daunted at the prospect of the task in hand. Adrian took me under his wing and provided a huge amount of support professionally and personally. My aim is to turn the tide against mental illness, change the way we talk about mental health and bring hope to current and future generations. Thank you so much for your recognition.”
Bryony Gordon is a journalist, author and mental health campaigner. In 2016, she founded Mental Health Mates, a peer support group that exists all over the UK. She has used her platform as a journalist to write about her experiences with obsessive compulsive disorder and depression, and has interviewed numerous people about their mental health, from royalty to politicians to president’s sons to everyday people.
Bryony Gordon, President’s Medal 2023 Recipient, said:
“This is a complete honour and one the very ill, 12-year-old version of me would not be able to believe. I would like to thank Adrian, and the College, from the bottom of my heart.”
The full list of medal winners comprises:
Professor Alka Ahuja MBE, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Lead Consultant for the Tertiary Neurodevelopmental service at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Dr Michael Doherty, FRCPsych
Dr Alex George, mental health campaigner and Youth Mental Health Ambassador to the Government
Bryony Gordon, Journalist, author and mental health campaigner
Marsha McAdam, Expert by Experience
Dr Tim Ojo, Consultant Psychiatrist, Former RCPsych Associate Registrar for Policy Support
Dr Lily Read, Specialty and Specialist Doctors Committee Chair, RCPsych
Dr John Russell, Consultant Psychiatrist, RCPsych Associate Dean for Curricula