Former Kneesworth rehabilitation centre patient receives mental health hero award from Nick Clegg

Ian Callaghan receiving his Mental Health Hero certificate from deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.

Ian Callaghan receiving his Mental Health Hero certificate from deputy prime minister Nick Clegg. - Credit: Archant

A patient at a rehabilitation centre has been recognised by the deputy prime minister for turning his life around and helping others to do the same.

Former Kneesworth House Hospital patient Ian Callaghan was awarded a Mental Health Hero Award by Nick Clegg in recognition of his work at the centre.

The 50-year-old – who had suffered with bipolar disorder for 25 years – was admitted to the hospital in 2008 to receive specialist care after a ‘catastrophic crisis’ following months of depression and feeling let down by mental health services.

He said: “It was months before I was really well enough to engage with all the treatment on offer there.

“I was just too depressed. But the staff were patient and kept telling me I would get better.

“I was in hospital for more than four years, but it was necessary to take all that time to ensure that I’d be safe once again when I was discharged back into the community.”

While he was in hospital, Ian became involved in the My Shared Pathway project which aims to increase the recovery and outcomes of secure mental health care.

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Since leaving the hospital in 2012 he has continued his involvement on a voluntary basis to support the Recovery and Outcomes group all over the country.

Ian, who sang and played cello in the Bassingbourn Parish Church music group while at the hospital, said: “I help support people in their recovery and give people a voice outside their service and that’s incredibly rewarding.

“To see people that are hidden behind high fences and thick walls who have experienced some awful things make real progress towards rebuilding their lives is a privilege to be a part of.

“I really do have Kneesworth House to thank for supporting me throughout my journey of recovery and I always enjoy returning there to see all the people who helped me.”

“Through this involvement I come into contact with some of the bravest of people who are so often marginalised, misunderstood and sometimes even vilified in the press.

“It is for all these people – the real heroes – that I accept this award.”

Kneesworth House hospital is currently recruiting to fill nurse and support service roles. For further information visit PiC’s recruitment site on or call the hospital on 01763 255 700.