CPFT staff and Ninja Theory honoured by Royal College at national awards | Research news

CPFT staff and Ninja Theory honoured by Royal College at national awards

CPFT staff and Ninja Theory honoured by Royal College at national awards

Ninja Theory and Recovery College East at the Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards 2018

Staff and teams at Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, including the creators of the worldwide gaming hit Hellblade, have won three awards for excellence in mental health care and research, at a prestigious national ceremony.

Colleagues from CPFT’s Recovery College East and honorary consultant Professor Paul Fletcher worked with Cambridge-based Ninja Theory (pictured above) to develop a pioneering computer game in which the lead character has psychosis experiences. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has received numerous plaudits - including five BAFTAs earlier this year.

They have now been honoured by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and won the Psychiatric Communicator of the Year award for their candid and honest portrayal of mental illness in the game.

Jenny Esson, Recovery College East training and development co-ordinator, who made the acceptance speech said: “We were all so thrilled to receive the award and everyone at the college feels truly honoured to have worked alongside Professor Paul Fletcher and Ninja Theory in this ground-breaking project. This award means so much to everyone and really validates the voice of lived experience and continues the important work of breaking down stigma around mental health.”

Also honoured at the ceremony (7 November) was CPFT consultant Dr Chris O’Loughlin, consultant psychiatrist with the Trust, who is also head of the Postgraduate School of Psychiatry for Health Education England East of England.

In his role he encourages medical students to choose psychiatry as a career, and judges named him Psychiatric Trainer of the Year for his work to revitalise psychiatric training in the East of England. They said: “Chris’s dynamic, approachable style and social media has created a fresh approach to psychiatric training.”

Quote and picture for Dr Chris O'Loughlin's award

CPFT CEO Tracy Dowling, who presented Dr Chris O’Loughlin with his award (pictured), said: “It was a happy co-incidence that several months ago I was asked to present the award for trainer of the year, which was won by our very own Dr Chris O’Loughlin. I promise I had no part in the judging!

"Chris was nominated by trainees from across the region because of the excellent work he has done to improve the quality of training and their experiences as junior doctors. It is important to recognise the value of the work that trainers do – this not only ensures excellent psychiatrists for the future, but also ensures that our services stay at the leading edge of evidence and best practice.

“I was also delighted to see the Recovery College team, Paul Fletcher and our friends from Ninja Theory win their category. The award caps a remarkable year in which the game was awarded five 
BAFTAs but also got people talking about mental health and has done so much to continue to address stigma about psychosis.”

CPFT CEO Tracy Dowling presenting Dr Chris O'Loughlin with his award
Konrad speaking at the awards

Konrad said: "Winning this prize was a great honour. I am extremely grateful to my supervisor Professor Paul Fletcher, all the psychiatry teaching staff at the clinical school, plus collaborators in Cambridge and further afield."One of Paul Fletcher’s students, Konrad Wagstyl from the University of Cambridge Clinical School, was named Medical Student of the Year for his achievements in psychiatry and neuroscience research as “a truly outstanding MB PhD student, who combines exceptional motivation with dedication, creativity and hard work”. 

Tracy added: “To have one of the students Paul mentored, Konrad, named student of the year was just great and to hear him speak with such authority about his incredible work makes me so proud.”

There was further success for CPFT at the ceremony as the Trust’s Gynae Psycho Oncology service, which supports women with mental health and wellbeing needs following cancer treatment, was a runner-up for Psychiatric Team of the Year (all age specialist) while Dr Graham Murray, honorary consultant psychiatrist at the Trust was also a runner-up for the Researcher of the Year award.

Tracy added: “Everyone at CPFT is immensely proud of the work of the Gynae Psycho Oncology service and Graham. They were two highly contested categories, featuring nominations from across the country, and I am delighted they have been commended because the work they do is remarkable, and we are lucky to have so many talented staff working with us. Overall, I hope the Trust continues to receive national recognition for the outstanding work our staff and teams are doing for the care and support of patients and service users across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”

CPFT provides mental health services for adults and young people, and community physical health services to older people and those with long-term conditions across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

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