Where are they now?
After completing the MSc Forensic Mental Health Research, I stayed at the IoP to complete my PhD which used Scandinavian cohort data to examine psychiatric and criminal outcomes for offspring of parents with mental health problems. I subsequently returned to Australia to take up my current post as Associate Professor/ Chair of Forensic Mental Health at UNSW. I maintain research links with the department and miss London!
After completing the MSc Forensic Mental Health Research, I stayed at the IoP to do an MRC funded PhD exploring psychopathology and violence in UK military personnel who have returned from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. I undertook the MSc as a part-time student while completing my specialist forensic psychiatry training. The structured teaching, delivered by leading academics and clinicians, gave me a greater awareness and understanding of research in the field of forensic mental health, which greatly enhanced both my clinical practice and research knowledge. I now lecture on the Research Methodology Module of the MSc. I would highly recommend the MSc course to both clinicians and potential researchers as an excellent platform for career development.
My MSc Forensic Mental Health Research dissertation examined neurocognitive function in children participating in the Child Health and Development Study (CHADS), a longitudinal project examining childhood antecedents of schizophrenia. After completing the MSc, I stayed at the IoP to undertake a PhD on the CHADS project, moving on to focus on brain structure and HPA-axis function in this group of children. I am now involved in teaching on the Research Methodology Module.
On completing the MSc Forensic Mental Health Research, I undertook a two year internship at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a branch of the National Institutes of Health in the United States. As an Intramural Research Training Award fellow, I conducted neuroimaging studies using functional MRI to examine the neurological correlates of substance use disorders. Additional studies investigated reward processing and attentional deficits in schizophrenia. From there, I was accepted to the Neuroscience Ph.D. program at Northwestern University. I'm currently studying memory deficits in schizophrenia and developing novel techniques to ameliorate those difficulties. My time at IoP-KCL was highly beneficial: the coursework and supervision were excellent in training me to become a hypothesis-driven and critically thinking scientist.
On completing the MSc Clinical Forensic Psychiatry, I returned to Singapore to work as a consultant psychiatrist and am presently the Deputy Head of the Department of General and Forensic Psychiatry in the Institute of Mental Health. I am also the Clinical Director of the Psychiatric Housing Unit (a psychiatric rehabilitative unit for prisoners with mental health issues) within our correctional service. I am involved in my hospital's clinical quality improvement initiatives and in developing the forensic curriculum for our Psychiatric Residency Programme.
It was a very enjoyable experience to immerse myself in an academic culture of excellence at the Institute of Psychiatry, with its focus on research and its role as a international centre for teaching and learning. I have benefited from the well-structured Masters programme taught by experts in their respective fields, interactions with other postgraduate students at the IOP, and the very good library and online resources. I find the learning culture at IOP encourages independent and creative thinking and made learning both fun and inspirational.
There are tangible benefits upon the completion of my Masters of Science in Clinical Forensic Psychiatry, as there are practical applications from the diverse but relevant topics taught in the course. The course provided a useful basis for appreciating the forensic issues involved in the care of offenders with mental health problems and assisted me in providing technical advice on forensic initiatives and the implementation of relevant legislations at the hospital and national level. The academic links with IOP have also been useful as an avenue for training in forensic skills for our staff.
On completing the MSc Clinical Forensic Psychiatry, I returned home to become the consultant psychiatrist in charge of forensic services for Trinidad and Tobago.
Clayton A Sewell
On completing the MSc Clinical Forensic Psychiatry, I returned to Jamaica to establish a Forensic Mental Health Service at the University of the West Indies (UWI). We still do not have a clinical forensic mental health facility but I continue to advocate for the scaling up of these services.
On completing the MSc Forensic Mental Health Research, I established my general and forensic psychiatry practice in Canada, working as a forensic psychiatrist at the maximum-security Provincial Forensic Programs Division, Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene. I provide psychiatric treatment to patients with severe and persistent mental illness who also have a history of violence. I am currently involved in research projects on psychiatric seclusion, restraint and sexual offending. I have been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards, including the prestigious Rappaport Fellowship, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law.
My experience of the MSc in Clinical Forensic Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry has been invaluable. It wasn’t until I got to the IoP that I realised how much I had yet to learn, not only about working in forensics, but working as a psychologist. If I run a search on some forensic issue on Google Scholar half the results I get are from researchers whose lectures I have attended.
Staff at the IoP are at the forefront of forensic research, and to have the opportunity to study under them has been an amazing experience. The aspect of the course that I personally have found most beneficial has been the clinical placement. The placement compliments the lectures, providing a practical demonstration of the theory that we learn. The structure of the placement ensures that students attain a variety of forensic experience and always under the supervision of a chartered forensic or clinical psychologist. At my placement I have had the opportunity to pursue research for my dissertation, and get a taste of what it really is to be a scientist-practitioner. When I began this course I did not know whether I wanted to pursue clinical, forensics, or something more research based.
Regardless of what I choose to do next this MSc has provided a solid foundation to enable me to progress to the next stage of my career. This year has not closed a single door for me. It only opened more.
I completed the MSc Forensic Mental Health Research in 2009 and then returned to the US. After a period as a mental health worker with a non-profit human resources agency, I moved to Northeastern University in Boston to begin my studies in the PhD program in Criminology and Justice Policy. I know my experiences at the IOP significantly helped advance me to this position!
I completed the MSc in Forensic Mental Health Research in 2010. I studied part time, juggling clinical work as a Registrar in Child and Adolescent psychiatry with the MSc’s teaching and research modules.
The teaching and research supervision is structured and well organised. The leading academics and clinicians that ran the course provided a good grounding of what is ‘known’ in Forensic Mental Health. They also provided a confident account of what is not known and what questions need to be answered. For me, the most exciting part of the course was learning the research skills and then applying to them to a particular research question in the dissertation module. After completing the MSc, I am now receiving a lot of support from the department in getting my findings published.
Professionally, completing the MSc has really helped me refine my career goals. It has focused my clinical and research interests towards understanding the childhood risk factors for adult psychiatric illness and anti-social behaviour. Gaining the qualification has helped me prove I am sincere about becoming a clinician scientist in Forensic Mental Health. As a consequence my current employers have provided me with a grant to further build on the research I began during the MSc. I would highly recommend the course to potential researchers and clinicians interested in developing their career in forensic mental health.
I am currently working as a senior research manager conducting evidence reviews for a commercial company, Matrix Evidence Ltd. The company conducts reviews for a range of clients including the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). My MSc in Forensic Mental Health Science provided my with postgraduate knowledge and skills in quantitative research methods with specialist training in systematic reviews. The experience directly helped me to gain employment in research.
I completed my Psychiatric Research Trust-funded PhD in the department, examining the neurobiological distinctions between antisocial personality disordered men with and without an additional diagnosis of psychopathy using structural and functional MRI and DTI. I am now undertaking postdoctoral studies with Professors Rees and Friston at UCL.
Stephane de Brito
I completed my MRC-funded PhD in the department, using behavioural, neurocognitive and structural magnetic resonance brain imaging techniques to better understand the characteristics of different subgroups of children and adults displaying severe antisocial behaviour and callous-unemotional traits. I subsequently worked with Dr Eamon McCrory and Professor Essi Viding in the Developmental Risk and Resilience Unit at UCL, before taking up my current post of Independent Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham.