Thrive Mental Health Commission Awards

The WMCA is proud to announce the first ever Thrive Mental Health Commission Awards.

In January 2017, the WMCA’s Mental Health Commission published the Thrive West Midlands action plan on mental health, aiming to reduce the impact of poor mental health across the region and ensure that mental health services work well for everyone. The Thrive Mental Health Commission Awards will mark the first year of the Thrive West Midlands programme by celebrating the ground breaking work being done across the region to improve mental health and wellbeing.

As part of the awards, we are asking you to nominate your Mental Health Stars – the people who have made a significant contribution to improving mental health and wellbeing in your area.

We will be giving out a Mental Health Star award to one person from each local area in the WMCA.

You can nominate anyone for a Mental Health Star award – a friend or relative, carer or colleague, a mental health nurse or social worker. We want to celebrate the amazing people across the West Midlands who are making a real difference in mental health, whether it’s the friend that helped you through a difficult period, the GP who always takes the time to talk, or the volunteer who gives up their evenings to provide support to vulnerable people in their community.

Award Winners

  • Sue Oldham was named Warwickshire’s Mental Health Star
    • Sue was recognised for her role in running the Pathway programme at St Mary’s Church in Leamington Spa, an adult mentoring programme for people with mental health challenges, addictions and chaotic lifestyles. Sue has worked tirelessly to make Pathway a success, empowering others to improve their lives and inspiring people in her community.
  • Emma Jayne Sasaru was named Walsall Mental Health Star
    • Emma Jayne, was recognised for her work as a lived experience expert and peer mentor volunteer for birth trauma and perinatal mental health. Her job sees her draw on her own experiences of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to support others, improve local maternity services and campaign nationally to raise awareness.
  • Louise Dutton was named Staffordshire’s Mental Health Star
    • Louise Dutton was recognised for her voluntary work as an advocate for mental health in Tamworth, where she volunteers for Changes, a local mental health charity. As a former service user, Louise has overcome her fears to fundraise and passionately raise awareness of the importance of mental health services in the community.
  • Gary McLeod was named Solihull’s Mental Health Star
    • Gary was recognised for his role in establishing the Fiveway Café, a safe place where young people can drop in, get a drink and get emotional support from staff and peers. All activities are based on the five ways to wellbeing, and help young people to develop confidence to talk about their mental health.
  • Sue Taylor was named Shropshire’s Mental Health
    • Sue was recognised for her outstanding work and contribution to the emotional health and wellbeing of looked after children in Shropshire, where she has worked with hundreds of children and carers over a twenty year period. Sue is a source of advice and guidance for her colleagues, helping to maintain and sustain those that support children with complex needs.
  • Jon Mansell was named Dudley’s Mental Health Star
    • Jon was recognised for his work as an expert by experience, campaigning to raise mental health awareness and advocating for improved services across the West Midlands. Jon is a member of the People’s Network in Dudley and has most recently been working with the West Midlands Police to provide mental health training to officers.
  • Alex Cotton was named Coventry’s Mental Health Star
    • Alex was recognised for her work creating the successful mental health awareness campaign ‘It Takes Balls To Talk’, an innovative campaign which uses sporting themes to encourage people, particularly men, to talk about how they feel. Since its launch in 2016, project volunteers have attended a range of sporting events across Coventry and Warwickshire, helping to break down the barriers that can prevent men seeking support with their mental health.
  • Lakhvir Rellon was named Birmingham’s Mental Health Star
    • Lakhvir is an ambassador and trainer for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), working with a number of public, private and third sector organisations to raise mental health awareness and train people on how to respond in a crisis situation. She proactively works across a number of diverse communities, and has developed a series of videos with service users from different backgrounds telling their stories, showing that mental health difficulties are not confined to any one group.
  • Carl Bailey was named Telford & Wrekin’s Mental Health Star
    • Carl was recognised for his dedication in establishing the group Challenging Perceptions, a peer support group for young adults between 16 and 24 with poor mental health. Challenging Perceptions aims to create a community and sense of belonging for its members, reducing the stigma around mental health and giving young adults the chance to achieve their ambitions.
  • Zoe Atkins was named Sandwell’s Mental Health Star
    • Zoe was recognised for the personal difference that she has made to improving mental health and wellbeing, working as a full-time carer and advocate for her daughter Jodie.
  • Lesley Easter named Regional Reach Star
    • Lesley has been recognised for developing and delivering a series of community cycle clubs across the Black Country Area, bringing people together to increase physical activity, promote wellbeing and good mental health.


If you have any questions about the Thrive Mental Health Commission Awards, please email