awardjaneyCharity Rethink Mental Illness has launched a new award to recognise the achievements of mental health campaigners.

The Janey Antoniou Award will celebrate people with mental illness who have made exceptional contributions to raising awareness of schizophrenia and other conditions, tackling stigma and campaigning for better services.

Powerful advocate for mental health services
The award was launched in partnership with the family of Janey Antoniou (pictured), a well-known mental health campaigner and researcher – who also wrote for Mental Health Today – who died in 2010.

Janey, who had schizophrenia, was a powerful advocate for people using mental health services, as well as a respected mental health trainer and writer.

Paul Jenkins, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness, said: “Janey was an inspirational friend and colleague, who worked tirelessly to raise awareness of mental illness and to improve care for people affected by it.

“We are delighted to launch this award, which we hope will be a fitting tribute to all she achieved. It’s also a great way of recognising other campaigners who are working incredibly hard to make life better for people with schizophrenia and other conditions.”

Realities of living with mental illness
Michael Antoniou, Janey’s husband, said: “Janey was a remarkable person who devoted her life to educating others about the realities of living with mental illness. She went through very difficult times because people didn’t understand her condition, and she was determined to change things so that other people don’t have to go through the same.

“By launching this award we want to celebrate her memory and acknowledge all her important work. But we also want to make sure that her legacy lives on, by recognising others who have dedicated their lives to helping people with mental illness, just as she did.”

The award will be given annually, with a prize of £1,000. The winner of the 2013 award will be announced in November.

Mental health professionals will be considered for the award if they have made an exceptional contribution to campaigning outside of their professional roles.

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