Stevenage’s Mary Mitchell wins national mental health hero award

PUBLISHED: 07:01 29 October 2018

Mary Mitchell received an award from The Sun newspaper for her work with people with mental health problems. Picture: NICK JOHNS

Mary Mitchell received an award from The Sun newspaper for her work with people with mental health problems. Picture: NICK JOHNS

©2018 Archant

An incredible woman has been hailed a hero for her work with people who have mental health problems, winning a national award after being chosen from thousands of nominations.

Prime Minister Theresa May was on stage to honour unsung NHS heroes at The Sun’s Who Cares Wins health awards – with one of the winners being Stevenage’s Mary Mitchell.

Mary, who lives in Broadwater Crescent, was presented with the Mental Health Hero award by musician Professor Green for opening up her home to patients discharged from the mental health unit at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.

Since 2011, the retired GP receptionist has hosted 37 patients, usually for no longer than six weeks but occasionally for up to three months.

Mary, 71, said: “I don’t think I do anything special. I’m a normal person with a bedroom to spare.

“When the crisis team at Lister feels a patient is ready to come off the ward, but isn’t quite ready to go home to look after themselves, the patient comes to me for some motivation and confidence to go home and do things by themselves.

“I have no medical training at all. The most important thing I offer is someone to talk to anytime of the day or night.”

Garry Fry, who lives in Stevenage’s Chells Way, was cared for by Mary following a nervous breakdown in 2012.

The 59-year-old, who has a dissociative disorder, said: “I was at Lister for three months. They wanted to gradually reintroduce me to my family – I’m married and have two grown-up children – and felt it wouldn’t work if I was dropped straight back into the family home.

“I was placed with Mary and her help was invaluable.

“She is a wonderful woman. She was always there and very supportive.

“The most important thing Mary gives is space and time to the individual. She deserves this award so much.”

The awards, hosted in London by TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, are now in their second year.

Mary was nominated by a friend’s daughter, with the finalists voted for by Sun readers.

The host scheme involving Mary covers the whole of Hertfordshire. If you are interested in becoming a host and have a spare room, time to listen and no children under 18 at home, call Rosheen on 07768 131413.

More news stories

A new strings foundation for young children launched last week in memory of Dorothy Wells, who honoured her Hitchin links with a bequest dedicated to young aspiring muscians.

Yesterday, 16:23

The carer of a 16-year-old girl from Stevenage with disabilities – who suffers from cerebral palsy – is fighting back after a torrent of online abuse.

Yesterday, 16:07

The group who have drawn up plans for a regeneration of Churchgate have given a presentation to Hitchin councillors about their proposals ahead of an exhibition this weekend.

Yesterday, 14:44

Launched this week, the North Herts District Chairman’s Volunteer Achievement Awards 2019 celebrate the achievements of outstanding, praiseworthy individuals who volunteer their time to make a real difference in their communities.

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Read the The Comet e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

The Comet weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy