Trust trainee psychiatrist shortlisted for national award

RCPsych Award winners to be announced on Wednesday

A doctor at the Trust, who is passionate about challenging mental health stigma, has been shortlisted for a national award.

Ahmed Hankir, a Specialty Trainee in Psychiatry currently working in inpatient learning disability services, is one of three finalists in the Core Psychiatric Trainee of the Year category at the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) Awards.

The RCPsych awards mark the highest level of achievement in psychiatry and Ahmed’s latest nomination makes him the first person to be shortlisted in three separate categories. In previous years, he was twice shortlisted for the RCPsych Psychiatric Communicator of the Year and he received the RCPsych Foundation Doctor of the Year.

Ahmed says: “I feel very fortunate to receive this type of recognition. It’s a blessing and a real opportunity to be of benefit to other people.

“I’ve always been very honest and open about my personal experiences. When I was a medical student I experienced an episode of psychological distress that was triggered by the Lebanon War (my home country). To have recovered from that and to now be a finalist in the College awards is hugely empowering.

“People with mental health difficulties often hear that they’ll never recover or that they will never amount to anything in life. These are myths that we must collectively debunk. People with mental health difficulties can recover and they can also realise their dreams.”

Last year was a busy year for Ahmed, and many of his achievements of 2017 were included in his nomination for the award.

In 2017, he co-authored 14 publications – including a paper in the Lancet – with much of his research focusing on implementing and evaluating innovative programmes to challenge mental health stigma. He also pioneered the ‘Wounded Healer’ programme – a method of teaching that blends the performing arts and psychiatry which he presented at the World Psychiatry Association World Congress in Berlin and the Australasian Doctors’ Health Conference in Sydney.

Dr Hankir was invited to co-edit a textbook on Islamophobia and psychiatry with senior colleagues of the American Psychiatric Association which will be published by Springer next month. He was also interviewed by the BBC about Islamophobia and mental health following the terror attacks in London and Orlando.

Ahmed added: “What I enjoy most about my job is meeting people who are experiencing mental health-related difficulties and giving them hope that recovery is a reality.

“Despite the availability of effective treatment, there are many people with mental health difficulties who continue to suffer in silence and we must challenge stigma and break down the barriers to mental health care.”

The winners of the RCPsych Awards will be announced at a ceremony at the College on Wednesday 7 November.

Good luck, Ahmed!