VIPSIG Essay and Video Prizes

VIPSIG Essay Prize

This prize was established to promote interest and encourage excellence in volunteering (UK or abroad) and international psychiatry. Entrants are invited to submit an original essay of their choice. Submissions may include (but are not limited to): a description of a clinical or charitable experience or project; elective report; reflective essay; editorial; research; audit; or literature review.

Details of the 2023 essay prize competition will be added to this page closer to the time.

Past winners of the VIPSIG Essay Prize

We're announcing this year's winners on May 25 on the wishes of Dr Zafrina Majid, whose essay received a commendation. This is in memory of her sibling Dr Syad Arshad Abbas, who passed away on this date in 2011. We've included a few words from her below.


Shaheen Sardar. Familial Relationships: A Protective or Detrimental Factor against Psychiatric Conditions in Female Refugees? (Medical Student)

Sarah Parry. Mental Health Services in Cambodia: research and reflection.


Gunjan Sharma. East vs West: Psychiatry in the Himalayas. (CT1)

Natalie Cook. SKIP: Emotional Wellbeing Interventions. (ST4)


Fiona Martin. Volunteering in a mental health service in Uganda: challenges and rewards. (ST4)

Zafrina Majid. What Appears to be the End, May Really Be a New Beginning. (ST4)

"May 25, 2011 will remain forever etched on my mind. On that fateful day, Dr. Syed Arshad Abbas, my sibling, left us suddenly without saying a goodbye. He was accompanying a critically ill patient in an air ambulance which crashed in New Delhi; there were no survivors in that air crash.

At 34, he had a mission for promoting voluntary health related work, benefitting some of the poorest of the poor. In keeping with his mission, I have travelled to my parental home in Kashmir, every year since 2011, to carry out voluntary work for a charitable trust established in his memory. I am grateful to the RCPsych team for considering to publish my article, based on this work, on May 25, 2020, which coincides with his death anniversary. Getting published on this date will give me an immense sense of comfort and fulfilment and recognition that it is worthwhile sharing such work internationally and continuing his mission in future.

A special thanks to Mark Tuner, Mandip Jheeta and Kit Richardson for making this happen."




  • Claude Shema. Outreach Psychiatry Volunteering Experience with Aboriginal Communities in Canada. (MSc)
  • Andrea Meredith. Mental health services in Cambodia. (ST5)
Read more to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry