Coventry Mental Health Nurse, Alex Cotton, has been awarded an MBE by the Duke of Cambridge in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Alex Cotton, a qualified Mental Health Nurse, and now a Senior Practitioner for Street Triage Team, was awarded her MBE for services to mental health. Alex has been an influential driver and collaborator in two major initiatives within mental health services in Coventry and Warwickshire – the mental health awareness campaign ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’ and the Street Triage initiative.
Alex Cotton said of the recognition: “I am chuffed. It is an honour to have an honour. Through my triage work with the police I observed that many men who died by suicide, never accessed support from mental health services. This became the driving force behind ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’: to support men to talk and to support people to listen.
‘It Takes Balls to Talk’ is a campaign which uses sporting themes to encourage people, particularly men, to talk about how they feel. Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust developed the campaign, in partnership with Coventry and Warwickshire Mind, Unite the Union, Samaritans, Time to Change, Public Health Warwickshire and Public Health Coventry. The campaign is supported by sporting venues including Wasps Rugby Club, Blaze Ice Hockey Club and Coventry City Football Club’s charity, Sky Blues in the Community.
Alex continued: “Alongside our brilliantly fantastic volunteers we are working with sports clubs across Coventry and Warwickshire to reach men that other services haven’t reached. We hope ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’ will help to reduce the stigma of men talking about their feelings and that more people will know why, where and when to seek support. Thank you to everyone that has been on the journey so far.”