The Judging Panel

Bill-Ryder Jones will appear at the Mental Health and Me Celebration event as our Celebrity Judge to announce the overall winner and present the prizes!
Bill Ryder-Jones is a singer-songwriter, musician and film score composer from West Kirby, Merseyside. He co-founded the band The Coral, together with James Skelly, Lee Southall, Paul Duffy, and Ian Skelly, playing as their lead guitarist from 1996 until 2008. He has since pursued a solo career, writing both his own albums and film scores, as well as producing records for other artists and appearing as a session musician.

Ryder-Jones' debut album, If..., an instrumental concept album featuring the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, serving as an imaginary film score for the Italo Calvino novel, If on a Winter's Night a Traveller..., was released in 2011 to critical acclaim. His second album, A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart was released in 2013, again to positive reviews. His third, West Kirby County Primary, was released in November 2015. 

Bill Ryder-Jones has actively spoken about mental health and his own experiences with depression, also including these experiences within his own song writing. 

Faris Khalifa - Faris Khalifa is a writer and mental health advocate who represents a number of mental health charities around the UK. Faris has given talks, written blogs and provided consultation for charities such as Time to Change, The Mental Health Foundation and Sane. His work has appeared on such online publications the front page of Reddit, Upworthy, The Guardian, The Echo and the Daily Mail. Faris was has been recently featured as a case study in a documentary filmed by VICE UK, which tried to shed light on the stigma around men in mental health. Faris currently continues to work with and write for a number of mental health charities.

Clare Shaw, described by the Arvon Foundation as "one of the country's most dynamic young poets", Clare Shaw has two collections from Bloodaxe: Straight Ahead (2006), which attracted a Forward Prize Highly Commended for Best Single Poem; and Head On (2012). Clare is a Royal Literary Fellow at Huddersfield University, and a regular tutor for the Poetry School, the Wordsworth Trust, The National Writer's Centre for Wales, and the Arvon Foundation. She also works as a mental health trainer, researcher and consultant, and has published widely in the field, including: "Otis Doesn't Scratch (PCCS 2015), an illustrated guide for young people struggling with self-injury; and "Our Encounters with Self-injury" (2013), an edited collection first-hand experiences. Clare also led our What's Your Story? Project with the Mental Health Consortium.
John Donoghue is an award-winning author and mental health pharmacist. He is a past chairman of the UK Psychiatric Pharmacy Group and a founding member of the College of Mental Health Pharmacy. In 2012 he was made a fellow of the College in recognition of his contribution to mental healthcare. He was a member of the WHO-Europe DepCare (Depression Care) Project and of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Mental Health Task Force, and was the manager of a Department of Health project in community mental health which won a national award. He has written widely on mental health issues and has over 80 peer-reviewed publications including book chapters and commentaries, and presented at many international symposia. He has also created and delivered many educational packages related to the treatment of severe mental illness which have been used both in the UK and internationally. 

In 2015, John’s novel ‘The Death’s Head Chess Club’ was published. It concerns a gifted Jewish chess player in Auschwitz. It has been published internationally and translated into 6 languages and won the 2016 Waverton Good Read award, the only literary award voted for by the general public.

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