The board revealed they made the decision based on Stephen’s “invaluable work [… and] tremendous impact” on raising the profile of mental health and increasing patient involvement. They recognised that he had made these contributions both as director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation, and as a founding president of the Fit for Work Europe Coalition.
Professor Bevan joins the company of previous award winners, including the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr. Lawrence Gonzi; Dr. John Bowis, MEP; Prof. Norman Sartorius; Mr. Kyell Magne Bondevik, ex Norwegian Prime Minister; Mr. Stephen Fry; Mr. Jurgen Scheftlein; Mrs and Mr. Hilka and Vapuu Taipale; Prof. Barbara Lopez Cardoso and Dr. Matt Muijen. The organisers say they all share considerable contributions to the field of mental health and improving mental health patients’ rights and wellbeing.
Commenting on the award, Professor Stephen Bevan said: “I am proud to accept this great honour but am also grateful to The Work Foundation for providing the platform to conduct what has been both pioneering and rewarding research.
“While much progress has been made, mental illness remains a major and unresolved issue across the EU. The annual cost to the region remains at €461 billion and cannot be ignored any longer. Only 25% of people in the EU get any treatment despite it affecting 38% of people in any given year.”
On addressing the key issues around mental health, he said: “We must continue to change perceptions around mental illness, so that it is considered on a par with physical illness. We must think about progressing people with mental health issues in sheltered employment into competitive employment. And finally, we must continue to encourage self-management of care by placing the service user at the centre of their care.”