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Local reporter beats nationals to writing award

A weekly newspaper reporter has beaten journalists from national newspapers and magazines to win a mental health writing award.

Eleanor Harding, from the Wandsworth Guardian, was crowned journalist of the year at the annual prize ceremony run by mental health charity Mind.

She fought off competition from more than 50 entries with her portfolio featuring stories from the Guardian’s anti-stigma campaign and explored issues such as body dysmorphic disorder and post traumatic stress disorder.

The award recognises excellence in reporting on mental health and is open to journalists who have challenged stigma and contributed to the subject’s greater understanding.

Eleanor said: “Everyone in our community is affected by mental illness, whether that’s through loved ones, colleagues or personal experience.

“Our year-long campaign aimed to break down the myths surrounding mental health issues in south west London and we believe we were able to make a real difference at our local level.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve done and I’d like to thank all of my colleagues who contributed to the campaign.”

Nina Lakhani, from the Independent on Sunday, was highly commended from a shortlist featuring journalists from the Daily Mail, Big Issue, Men’s Health, Observer and Daily Mirror among others.

The student journalist of the year went to Nottingham University’s Nicola Byrom while Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell was named Mind Champion.

The award is voted for by the public on Mind’s website with Alastair being chosen for his awareness raising work, including the BBC2 documentary Cracking Up, his novel All in the Mind and campaigning work as part of ant-stigma campaign Time to Change.

The awards ceremony was hosted by Mind’s president Lord Melvyn Bragg.

  • Eleanor with Mind’s chief executive Paul Farmer
    (Pic: Martin Usborne)