The Roger Parkinson Award

 In support of mental health awareness and in Roger Parkinson’s memory Mental Health Together present an annual award in recognition of an individual who has demonstrated outstanding work for mental health awareness.

This award is open to everyone in the group and will be awarded each year on World Mental Health Day, this is also the anniversary of Mental Health Together being set up.

In 2019 on the second anniversary of MHT the Roger Parkinson Award was presented to Jason Hemming for all his enthusiasm and committment towards raising mental health awareness.

Also nominated for the award were Marti Dhesi and Karen Reynolds, click on the links to read their nominations.

Click here for past recipients of the award

IMG 0408Jason helps others through being open about his own personal struggles and isn’t afraid to talk about mental health.

Jason started volunteering at the beginning of 2019 and is a great role model for Mental Health Together not only for all the time and effort he puts into the group, but for bravely putting himself forward in a predominately female group.

MHT has always struggled to encourage men to attend the events and activities and when Jason decided to be a volunteer, we recognised this brave act as we know that men find it more difficult to talk. To have Jason in the group as a role model is just fantastic!

Jason finds solace in drawing and organised his first Together Activity 'Crafty Bits and Glitz, Drawing with Jase’ back in June 2019. The activity was well received and everyone that attended enjoyed the therapeutic effect that drawing had on their mental wellbeing.

Jason also got back into running and this has really helped his mental health. He is now a member of the running club Spa Striders and you often see him running at Park Run. He really has found a love for running, entering many running events and forever chasing a new PB!

It is well known that Karen Parkinson’s father took his own life in 1991 and for years before he suffered in silence with depression. Karen was made to keep silent about how he died for many years. Recently Jason hosted an event just for Men “Break the Silence’. The event was attended by 8 men (most of whom had not been to an MHT event before). Hopefully it will be the first of many similar events in our endeavour to encourage more men to open up and join Mental Health Together.

So, Jason Hemming the Roger Parkinson Award 2019 is awarded to you for all your hard work, support and commitment for mental health awareness. We are all so proud of you and it’s a privilege to give you this award!

Well Done Jason!

Roger Parkinson is Karen Parkinson’s father and the inspiration behind Mental Health Together.

Roger Parkinson was just 48 years old when tragically he took his own life in 1991. He was an amazing man who did so much in his short life, all whilst battling depression. Roger was a full-time BT Engineer and was a popular figure in the community where he lived. He was a sidesman at the local church and had been a town councillor. He also worked for several years for the Lion’s charity. In his spare time, he loved playing bowls and meeting friends at his local pub.
At that time there was a stigma surrounding mental health, as a result, Roger suffered in silence for many years, with his friends and colleagues unaware that he suffered from depression. Everyone was shocked by his sudden death and the circumstances surrounding it. Over 100 people attended his funeral, so it just showed how popular and well liked he was.

Mental Health is a hidden illness. It is easy for us to see when someone has a physical ailment, and we feel very comfortable to talk about it. A mental health problem can feel just as bad, or worse, as any physical illness, only you cannot see it. 

Thankfully attitudes towards mental health have moved on since the 90s, but unfortunately there can still be a stigma that prevents some sufferers from seeking help. This will only change when we talk openly about mental health and spread awareness to everyone.

 

It saddens me that my father had to face his illness alone, and so I feel very passionate about the importance of raising awareness not just for depression but for all mental health illnesses.

Family 1

 

 

 

My mother was only 42 years old when she tragically lost her husband to suicide. 

 

 

  Family 2

 

 

 

 

I hope through my own experience, to raise awareness for mental health and for the families with a relative who has a mental health problem.

 

 

  Family 3

 

 

 

 

 

My father took his own life when he was 48 years old and so I am very passionate about Mental Health Awareness. 

I talk openly about my own mental health struggles and I feel very strongly about “it’s good to talk” and that no one should have to face a mental health problem alone.

 

 

 

 

 

Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years in the UK and it is considerably higher in men, with around three times as many men dying as a result of suicide compared to women. It is the leading cause of death for men under 50 in the UK. Those at highest risk are men aged between 40 and 44 years who have a rate of 24.1 deaths per 100,000 population. (Mental Health Foundation)

Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75% of all UK suicides were male. (CALM)

Middle-aged men are one of the most high-risk groups for suicide, they remain three times more likely to take their own lives than women. (The Samaritans)

Mental health issues can affect anyone and can be caused by a number of factors, including bereavement, unemployment, finance and debt issues, family and relationship problems, social isolation, low self-esteem, drug and alcohol issues and many other personal factors. (ITBTT)

At Mental Health Together our aim is to encourage men to join our events and activities. Our Together Volunteers Darren Sharpe and Jason Fredericks both have experienced their own mental health struggles and they openly share their own personal stories in an endeavour to help others. Please see our events calendar for events and activities they are hoping to plan in the future.