President commends 'magnificent seven' for improving lives of mentally ill

Statement / comment
03 July 2019

A journalist, neuroscientist and psychologist are among the seven people awarded a President’s Medal for improving the lives of people with mental illness, at a ceremony during the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ annual International Congress. 

The medals, which were introduced in 2010, are awarded to those who have contributed to policy, public knowledge, education and meeting population and patient care needs in challenging circumstances.   

Recipients are chosen by the College President, Professor Wendy Burn, and approved by the College’s Nominations Committee.

Presenting the awards, Professor Wendy Burn, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “It is always a challenge choosing the winners of the President Medal as so many people across different sectors are working to improve the lives of people with mental illness.

“The seven winners have worked tirelessly to ensure that awareness of mental illness and the need for quality services to treat people is higher than ever before.

“The College are deeply grateful for their contributions and we look forward to continuing our work with them over the coming years.”

The winners of a President’s Medal are as follows:

  • Prof David Steward Baldwin – He is a Professor of Psychiatry in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton. He conducts research into the aetiology and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders and leads a tertiary referral service for patients with treatment-resistant affective disorders.
  • Ms Hannah Betts – A freelance journalist that has used her established platform, Hannah has helped to break the stigma associated with depression and medicinal treatment.  She has written openly about her experience with depression and how she has managed this through psychotherapy and antidepressants.
  • Dr Sarah Caddick – She is a neuroscientist who has held leadership roles in academia and private/public grant-making organisations where she has been responsible for the development, oversight and restructuring of strategic, programmatic and operational activities across a range of scientific disciplines.
  • Prof Patrick Corrigan - Prof. Corrigan is a licensed clinical psychologist with more than 30 years of designing and implementing services for people with serious mental illnesses and their families. Currently, he is principal investigator of the National Consortium for Stigma and Empowerment, a collaboration of investigators and advocates from more than a dozen institutions.
  • Mrs Diane Goslar – Diane is involved with several Committees and Groups addressing alcoholism. Working with the College she often gives presentations, has published numerous articles, and has made three podcasts the most recent being on alcohol and stigma. Diane is very active in lobbying Local, National and European politicians on policies regarding alcohol addiction particularly the need for after-care services.
  • Dr Gertrude Nimali Seneviratne – Dr Seneviratne is a adult and perinatal consultant psychiatrist at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. She is the lead consultant for their specialist Perinatal service and a lead for children’s safeguarding at the Trust. And has been awarded an Order of the British Empire in the 2019 New Year’s honour list.
  • Mrs Ruth Sutherland – Coming from a background in public and voluntary sectors in public health, mental health and in voluntary sector leadership. Ruth was appointed Chief Executive of Samaritans in August 2015. Prior to this, she was CEO of Relate and previously held senior executive leadership roles at Rethink, Alzheimer’s Society and Scope. Ruth is also Co-Chair of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance and was the founding Director of the Community Development and Health Network, a charitable membership network committed to addressing inequalities in health and wellbeing in Northern Ireland.

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