Licensee recognised by PM for mental health campaigning work

By Mike Berry contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Mental disorder, Prime minister of the united kingdom

Tim McKenna and Time for Change director Sue Baker
Tim McKenna and Time for Change director Sue Baker
A Leicestershire licensee has been recognised by the Prime Minister David Cameron for his work in raising awareness of mental health disorders.

Tim McKenna, licensee of Punch pub the Bulls Head in Blaby, Leicester, is an ambassador for the mental health campaign Time to Change, run by the charities Mind and Rethink.

He suffers from bipolar disorder and has previously attempted suicide but is now undergoing treatment and therapy. He was asked by the campaign to champion its work on men’s health and subsequently appeared in a TV advert promoting its work.

He has also written a column for the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ on his experiences.

Watch the advert

Stigma

The PM’s Points of Light award “recognises people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others”.

Cameron said: “Regrettably too often there can still be a stigma attached to mental illness. It takes real guts for those with personal experiences to talk about them. By courageously telling his story in such a public way, Tim has made it easier for others to reach out to friends, families and colleagues or to ask for the support they need.”

McKenna said he was thrilled to receive the award.

Purpose

“I only started speaking out about mental health to help make sense of my illness, and because I felt I owed it to my sister and others who are no longer here. It's been a pretty amazing journey so far, one that has given me back a lot of my self-confidence and sense of purpose. I certainly didn't expect to win any awards though,” he said.

“All the regulars are fully aware of my mental illness, as I'm quite open about it now, after years of hiding it away. They’re really pleased for me, and a bit proud I think. I do tend to be the ‘go-to guy’ if anyone has a friend or family member who is struggling, which I don't mind at all. I've certainly not experienced any negative reaction to my openness, which is great,” he added.

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