Orygen’s Chief of Clinical Practice, Professor Andrew Chanen, has been awarded the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) 2023 Ian Simpson award in acknowledgement of his ground breaking work in developing services for young people with borderline personality disorder and his research in the area.
The award celebrates the most remarkable contributions to clinical psychiatry made through service to patients and the community.
Professor Chanen specialises in the care of young people with severe mental ill-health, dedicating his career to prevention and early intervention.
Professor Chanen said it was a special honour to be recognised by his peers.
“I am very grateful to have worked with an exceptional team of clinicians, researchers, and supporting staff, and to have learned so much from thousands of young people and families.
Professor Chanen established and oversees the award-winning Helping Young People Early (HYPE) program at Orygen, the first prevention and early intervention program for personality disorder internationally. HYPE combines frontline clinical services with research, training, service development and advocacy in Australia and internationally.
“As a trainee psychiatrist, I was struck by what seemed to be the self-evident misery and poor outcomes for those living with the most severe forms of personality disorder. I also witnessed the pessimism, indifference to suffering, and unapologetic bigotry that was so deeply rooted in the culture of services that seemed to be designed to fail those who were most in need,” Professor Chanen said.
“I thought to myself, surely we can do better than this?”
Professor Chanen said that not only is early intervention for personality disorder effective, but also the skills and training required for this are far less complicated than initially imagined.
“The biggest task ahead of us is not training people in complex therapies – it is working collaboratively to support clinicians to make effective use of the skills that they already have, influence the culture of clinical services, counter damaging myths, address bigotry, and foster hope.
“I am confident that these aims are well within the reach of youth mental health services, in Australia and abroad.”
As the award recipient, Professor Chanen will give a keynote presentation at the RANZCP Annual Congress, to be held in Perth, Australia from 28 May –1 June.