The JPIMedia Investigations team has won a prestigious award in recognition of its work around mental health.
The team picked up a Mind Media Award for its Veterans in Crisis campaign, which saw this newspaper and other titles from across the group unite to highlight a lack of support for ex-service personnel experiencing post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression.
The Government had been accused of turning a blind eye to the issue, with the campaign revealing that the UK did not monitor the number of veterans taking their lives, unlike allies such as the USA, Canada and Australia.
A series of hard-hitting articles and personal testimonies from veterans and their families were published across titles in Sussex as part of the campaign, which was backed by the former leader of West Sussex County Council, Louise Goldsmith – who is herself the mother of a serviceman.
One example was an ex-serviceman from Felpham, who told this newspaper how he battled suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the Army, stricken by guilt when his friend was killed in the Falklands War – read his story here.
A counsellor from Hove, who was inspired to join the profession after helping a family cope with struggles following a traumatic time serving in Afghanistan, said that many ex-servicemen and women felt ‘abandoned’ when they left the military.
The Government subsequently announced a raft of improved support measures and a major study into veteran suicides, with charities crediting the JPIMedia investigation for prompting the changes.
Tim Robinson, group content development director at JPIMedia said: “We are really grateful to receive this award, it’s a vindication of the all the hard work put in by our investigations reporting team.
“Mental health issues among military veterans are not given the attention they deserve and the hidden epidemic of suicides in this community is a national scandal which demands to be recognised and tackled.
“We are very grateful to Mind, and most importantly, to the ex-servicemen and their families who shared their many painful stories with our reporters in the course of this investigation – stories which had deep emotional resonance with our readers across the UK.
“It’s now over to the government to respond with commitment and action for ex-service personnel.”
Radio 1 DJ Greg James hosted the star-studded awards ceremony at London’s Southbank Centre on last Wednesday evening.
Anyone affected by these issues can contact the following organisations:
Combat Stress: 0800 138 1619
Help for Heroes: 01980 844280
Royal British Legion: 0808 802 8080
The Samaritans: 116123
Veterans’ Gateway: 0808 802 1212
See all our reports from the campaign here: