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A former UK Special Forces soldier from Merseyside, who founded his own mental health charity after suffering post traumatic stress disorder, will be honoured by the Deputy Prime Minister tonight for his outstanding work to help, support and care for people with mental health conditions.

Robert Paxman, who was nominated by a friend and trustee of his charity Talking2minds, is one of ten regional winners of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Mental Health Hero Awards. He was chosen following a countrywide campaign which led to more than 900 nominations.

After suffering a near breakdown in 2006, Robert and fellow veteran Ernie Dowell came up with a new form of talking therapy called Paradigm, which is tailored towards ex-service people and their families and has helped nearly 500 people since 2009.


Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“I have been fighting hard to raise the profile of mental health issues and help break down the stigma that surrounds it so no one has to suffer in silence.

“We’ve made great strides, but we need people like Robert who are working every day for people with mental health issues.

“The work he has done to care and support people in their darkest hours makes him a worthy winner and I hope others will follow his example so that together we can bring mental health out of the shadows and make it as importance as physical health.”

Speaking about his nomination, Rob said:

“I am thrilled and honoured at this award. This is a recognition not only of the massive and growing problem that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder represents, particularly among veterans, but also that Talking2minds is doing its bit to give PTSD sufferers their lives back.

“This award is for the thousands of unpaid hours our volunteers have willingly given to help us to give lives back to the living and end the devastation that PTSD causes individuals and their families.”

The awards will be handed out by the Deputy Prime Minister at a reception in Whitehall to mark Time to Talk Day where people are being encouraged to take five minutes out of their day to talk about mental health and help bring it out of the shadows.

Time to Talk Day has been launched by mental health anti-stigma campaign Time to Change who’s latest survey has revealed that nearly 60% of people with mental health problems wait over a year to tell the people closest to them about it.

The Deputy Prime Minister also announced that the Department of Health will continue to fund Time to Change for a further year with an additional £2.5 million on top of the £16 million already invested since 2011. This money will help support and empower people to talk about their mental health problems and to tackle the discrimination they face.

Norman Lamb, Care and Support Minister, said:

 “I’m delighted that we’re investing a further £2.5 million in the vital work of Time to Change next year. The programme has led the way in tackling the devastating stigma faced by so many with mental health problems.

“We all have a role to play in ending discrimination for good – Time to Talk Day is a fantastic opportunity to start conversations and I’m pleased to see so many people getting the recognition they deserve through today’s awards.”

Tonight’s awards are part of the Deputy Prime Minister’s on-going work to bring awareness and treatment for of mental health in line with physical health.

In government he has helped build a strong foundation for the improvement of mental health services, securing:

  • the UK’s first Mental Health Taskforce to combine the efforts and resources of ministers from across the coalition

  • £400 million investment expanding talking therapies

  • £150 million investment in treatment and support for children and young adults with eating disorders

  • £120 million investment in mental health to include the introduction in April 2015 of the first ever waiting time standards for mental health in the NHS

  • £54 million for the Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme

  • £7 million investment to fund 50 new inpatient beds for children and young people

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