Stephen Bevan, the Director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at The Work Foundation and honorary professor at Lancaster University, has been given a major award for his work on mental health and wellbeing. 

The GAMIAN-Europe Personality Award is given annually and recognises significant, sustained contributions to the field of mental health.

Professor Bevan’s research interests include workforce health and wellbeing, the effect of mental illness on employment, and the positive impact of ‘good work’ on mental health. He is an advisor to a number of UK government departments and has advised employers and policymakers in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Australasia and North America. In 2014 he was named HR Magazine’s 6th Most Influential UK Thinker.

Professor Bevan was presented with the award by the President of GAMIAN, Pedro Montellano, during a special ceremony in Brussels last week.

Previous recipients of the award include the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Lawrence Gonzi; Dr John Bowis, MEP and Stephen Fry.

GAMIAN-Europe was established in 1998 with the aim to champion the interests of mental health patients by representing patient-driven organisations across Europe.

Professor Stephen Bevan said: “I am proud to accept this great honour, but I 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.”

Speaking about the key issues concerning 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.”