On Sunday night Graham Moore collected an Oscar for writing the following words, and all of the other words that told the story in The Imitation Game of Alan Turing, the man who broke the enigma code: "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things no one can imagine."

In contrast to the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards ceremony, Moore spoke from the heart. He broke with a tradition of thespian tears and crafted eloquence to speak directly to young people who are experiencing bullying, isolation and depression.

The writer revealed that he attempted suicide when he was16 years old. Now, from the pinnacle of his industry's achievement, he was reaching out to those who are back where he started; feeling alone, unloved and unlovable.

In front of a global audience he dedicated his moment of triumph for writing the best adapted screenplay to "that kid out there who feels like she doesn't fit in anywhere".

He said: "You do. Stay weird. Stay different, and when it's your turn and you are standing on this stage please pass the same message along."

It earned him a standing ovation.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who played Turing, later dismissed the notion that he had "lost" the Oscar for leading actor, saying: "We are all winners. Graham might have saved a life tonight."

Moore's message is hugely important at a time when self- harm in the young is reaching epidemic proportions. Some 5,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 19 were admitted to A&E last year in England alone, a four-year high.

In some Scottish regions the numbers of children admitted to A&E as a result of self-harm doubled in five years. And the recorded number (563) is the tip of an iceberg. These are emergency cases. How many more youngsters never go to hospital? How many hide their scars from parents and their GP?

It is also the case that girls admit to self-harm but boys find it very difficult. It hurts their pride that they can't control their emotions; they think it makes them look weak, at odds with expectations of masculinity. Boys often pass undetected because they might punch a wall or put themselves into dangerous situations or repeatedly get into fights. And no one spots that it's self-harm.

It doesn't mean they are any less miserable or feel any less alienated.

The Imitation Game is all about not fitting in. It's the story of the ultimate outsider, a man who saved us from Hitler and was rewarded with cruelty. What was done to Turing after the war is a badge of national shame.

As a boy, Turing was both privileged and tormented. He was a boarding school pupil whose Asperger's Syndrome attracted bullying. On one occasion his class mates nailed him under the floor-boards.

His salvation was two-fold. He had one friendship with a boy called Christopher who gave him a book on code breaking, a gift that would eventually save our way of life.

When he handed it over, Christopher explained that what was written wasn't secret but encrypted: "Messages that anyone can see but no one knows what they mean unless you have the key."

Tellingly, the young Alan replied: "How is that different from talking? When people talk to each other they never say what they mean. They say something else. And you're supposed to just know what they mean. Only, I never do. So how is that different?"

Turing's other salvation was his mathematical genius.

He cracked Germany's communications code by building the Bombe machine, a fore-runner of the computer, thereby turning around the country's fortunes in the Second World War. (It is because of Turing's work at Manchester University after the war that he is known as the father of modern computing.)

Yet this hero's great niece appeared on television on Sunday evening to say how wonderful it was for the family that the film had shown the world his achievements.

So why has it taken seven decades since the end of the war to celebrate him? Where are the statues? Where are his medals? Where is his peerage? What about a Nobel prize?

Is their absence because his work was so secret? Or is it because he was homosexual?

It is almost certainly the latter. When his sexual orientation was identified in 1952, this ungrateful country convicted him of gross indecency. It sentenced him to chemical castration by injecting him with female hormones. Two years later he died from cyanide poisoning in an apparent suicide.

No wonder. In 2013 he was given a posthumous royal pardon. Yesterday his family delivered to Downing Street a petition signed by half a million people demanding that 49,000 men who were convicted under the same law also be pardoned. Some of them are still alive.

It must happen and soon. But is a pardon enough? I know we can't change social attitudes retrospectively but surely we can apologise for a law that was so wrong and for "treatment" that was so wicked.

The men who were criminalised could not change their natures. The inhumane interventions to which they were subjected were as ineffectual as they were brutal. They were acts of savagery fuelled by prejudice.

All of the 49,000 deserve an apology as well as a pardon. Turing deserves a great deal more. To him there should be a lasting monument.

But it should be a monument that would mean something to the man. Cumberbatch commented on Sunday night that the scientist would have hated all the noise and razzmatazz of the Oscars.

Having seen the film, I can't imagine a statue would answer any aspiration either. And yet such a hero should be feted if only to keep him as an example to coming generations.

Looking at his life and the suffering he endured because he was different, I wonder if perhaps the answer could lie in a foundation for disaffected youth.

Since we failed Alan Turing in life, might the country reach out in his name to young people who feel as alone as he did. Only a few of them will suffer from Asperger's syndrome. Only a few of them will be gay. And fewer still will be geniuses. It doesn't matter.

What matters is that all of them feel rejected and misunderstood, just as he must have.

There is a lesson for all of us: parents, schoolteachers, employers, students and schoolchildren. Isn't it this? It is comfortable to be a member of the herd, to rub along with our peers and get invited to the party. But how many of the herd will excel?

So often, great gifts make their possessors unconventional. The talented work while we party. They create and innovate while we drink and circulate. But their rarity should not be shunned. It should be treasured.

As Graham Moore wrote: "Sometimes it's the very people who no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."