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SPSIG student bursaries

The Spirituality in Psychiatry Special Interest Group have made available some funds to subsidise the attendance of medical students at their day conferences.

The bursary is applied for on the following application form, submitted to

This bursary is a one-off partial payment for a specific SPSIG conference, paid from SIG funds.

Students should apply using their academic, NHS or hospital trust email address and stating their course of study, their institution and which year they are now in.

The bursary is primarily intended for medical students. Preference will be given to student associates of the RCPsych.

Consideration will be given to students of other subjects in the fields of mental health and spirituality, or low paid or voluntary mental health workers, on a case by case basis.

A higher level of bursary is available for those willing to help out practically on the day e.g. by passing the roving microphone during discussions.

The SPSIG executive committee will decide who receives the bursary, their decision is final.

Spirituality SIG Chair Blog - November 2020

I am delighted to be able to announce that Prof Chris Cook will be our next SPSIG chair and Dr Ömür Miles our finance officer. Since they were elected unopposed there is no need for the delay and expense of an election. Chris and Ömür will take over their roles at the International Congress in June 2021.

Chris Cook qualified in medicine from St George’s Hospital Medical School, London in 1981 He undertook postgraduate training in psychiatry at the United Medical & Dental Schools of Guys and St Thomas’s in London. His MD thesis was on the genetic predisposition to alcohol misuse, and he published widely in the field of alcohol misuse and addiction, including articles on spirituality and addiction, before making spirituality, theology and health his main area of clinical and academic interest. He has higher degrees in both medicine and theology. He was ordained as an Anglican Priest in 2001.

Professor Cook is Director of the Centre for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Durham University, and an Honorary Chaplain with Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. He is a past Chair of the RCPsych Spirituality & Psychiatry SIG, and a past President of the British Association for the Study of Spirituality. His book publications include Spirituality, Theology & Mental Health (ed. CCH Cook, publ SCM, 2013), Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice (eds Cook, Powell & Sims, Royal College of Psychiatrists Press, 2016) and Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine, Routledge, 2018.

Chris will be familiar to many members of the SIG, having been chair 2009-2013, and will provide much needed stability during these turbulent times.

Ömür Miles completed her undergraduate medical degree in Ankara, Turkey. She developed an interest in psychiatry a
a future career during the medical school years.  The undergraduate education and House Officer year were  followed by a  research role in Cognitive Neurophysiology and subsequently  a PhD in Neurophysiology in the University of Bristol.  Following the completion of the  General Medical Council examinations for overseas doctors she was   appointed to Senior House Officer Rotation in Psychiatry in the Severn Deanery.  Completion of the Rotational Training and the Royal College membership exams were followed by an appointment to a Specialist Registrar Advance Training  Rotation in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry again in the Severn Deanery which then led to gaining her specialist certification.  Her consultant appointments so far have been in Cardiff, Bristol and Gloucestershire.  Throughout her career and since her formative years, a deep interest in the philosophy of Sufism led her to explore other world spiritual philosophies and faiths.  A growing interest in both faith-based and secular spirituality and their relevance to mental health and well being brought her in contact with the Spirituality and Psychiatry Interest Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists where she participated as one of the Communications Officers for nearly 3 years.  During her research and  consultant posts, she gained experience of financial management of modest research projects and independent clinical collaborations in addition to developing an insight into health and social care economy in the NHS.

‘Spirituality and Mental Health: What does the NHS Provide?’

Our next conferences are webinars on 4 and 11 December, please see booking details.

A Student bursary scheme is operating which will reduce the attendance fee for eligible students and low earners to £15 for both half day events. 

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry