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Damehood for Professor Til Wykes

The Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London is delighted to announce that Professor Til Wykes, Vice-Dean of Psychology and Systems Science and Professor of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation, has been awarded a damehood for services to Clinical Psychology, in the New Year Honours List 2016. 

Professor Dame Til Wykes has been an international leader in understanding and advancing the rehabilitation and recovery for people with severe mental illness. She founded, and is Co-Director of, the King’s Service User Research Enterprise (SURE), which is the first unit in the UK to focus on including the service user perspective by employing people who have experience of using mental health services. She was the founding director of the Mental Health Research Network, which delivered a dramatic increase in opportunities for service users to participate in mental health research.

Professor Dame Til Wykes said: ‘I am really proud of my work in supporting people who have experienced mental health problems to be involved in designing and carrying out mental health research and delighted this has been recognised.  My research would have been much less interesting without their thought provoking questions.’

Dame Til has degrees in Psychology and Clinical Psychology from Nottingham, Sussex and London universities and is a practising clinical psychologist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, working mostly with people with psychosis. The main focus of her clinical research is the development of better treatments for people with schizophrenia but her investigations stretch across all mental health conditions.

She concentrates on discovering new psychological mechanisms and uses them to develop better treatments, following this up with studies showing how to implement them in the day-to-day work of the NHS. Among treatments developed are those for hearing voices; for thinking problems; and for bolstering self-esteem. She is currently leading a major national project supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) that will investigate the best way to provide computerised thinking skills treatment (cognitive remediation) to young people with a first episode of psychosis.

She built the NIHR Clinical Research Network’s Mental Health Research Network and was the Director for 10 years. The Clinical Research Network supports all health research and its studies in mental health now recruit more than 35,000 people per year into projects that guide new treatments in the NHS. She is executive editor of the Journal of Mental Health which encourages service user submissions and has people with experience of mental health services on the board.

Nearly 15 years ago she founded the Service User Research Enterprise (SURE), which employs expert researchers with experience of mental health services. She is now co-director of SURE and shares this role with the first, and only, professor of service user led research in the world, Diana Rose.  She is a Fellow of: British Psychological society, Academy of Social Sciences, US Academy of Cognitive Therapy and in 2015 was presented by the British Psychological Society with the Promoting Equality of Opportunity award.

Professor Shitij Kapur, Executive Dean and Head of Faculty at IoPPN at King's, said: ‘Damehood is one of the highest honours an individual in the United Kingdom can achieve – and I am delighted that it has been bestowed upon Professor Wykes. It is a well-deserved recognition of her many contributions to science and to care and for her colleagues and students, this recognition is inspiring as it underlines the importance of the work that we do.  What a wonderful way for the year to start for IoPPN and King’s – congratulations, Til!’

Read Dame Til’s note of thanks to all her collaborators on her LinkedIn page.

Other King’s staff to feature in the 2016 List include Professor David Cowan, Director of the Drug Control Centre at King's, who received an OBE for services to anti-doping science, and Professor Kim Wolff from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, who was awarded an MBE for public service to road safety. Professor Wolff was based at the IoPPN’s National Addiction Centre between 1997 to 2011, before moving to her current position in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science.

For further information please contact Louise Pratt, Public Relations and Communications Manager, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King's College London Tel: +44 7850 919020 Em: