It was a great surprise to receive a letter some months ago from Lord Bragg (he of unimpeachable Melvynous South Banksy fame) asking if I might consider taking over from him as President of the charity MIND. Only a few years ago MIND had paid me the great compliment of appointing me their 2007 mental health “Champion” so I was fully aware of the organisation and the fine work they did.
MIND, as you may or may not know is, in its (I should now say “our”) own words: “the leading mental health charity in England and Wales.” This is not to take away from SANE and the indefatigable Marjorie Wallace, or the work done by dozens, indeed hundreds, of smaller more locally based mental health charities up and down the country. I cannot bear it when charities, of all institutions, regard each other as rivals or even enemies. The superb Time to Change for example, is a result of cooperation across the sector. It also gave me great pleasure when this coalition government, for all that it is not my idea of the political dream team of the century (but which government ever was?) made good strides towards placing the issue of stigma front and centre with their initiative Shift.