UCL News


Dr Helen Killaspy wins Association of European Psychiatrists Research Prize

9 February 2007

Dr Helen Killaspy (UCL Mental Health Sciences) has won the Association of European Psychiatrists Research Prize for the best scientific paper in 2006 in the field of psychiatric epidemiology, social psychiatry and psychotherapeutic interventions in mental disorders.

The award is open to psychiatrists below the age of 40 working in Europe, who are lead authors of papers in the field. Dr Killaspy, a senior lecturer in rehabilitation psychiatry, was the lead author of 'The REACT study: a randomised evaluation of assertive community treatment in north London', published in the 'British Medical Journal' last year.

The REACT study is the first randomised controlled trial to be carried out in the UK comparing assertive outreach with standard community mental health team care. Assertive outreach is a specific model of intensive community mental health service implemented nationally as part of the Department of Health's National Service Framework for Mental Health. The assertive outreach teams work extended hours and with fewer clients than the standard teams. They focus on people with serious mental illnesses who have had difficulties engaging with services and have had lengthy or recurrent hospital admissions. In the USA and Australia this approach has been shown to reduce the number and length of admissions for this client group. The REACT trial found no differences in inpatient service use for clients of the two types of service but those who received assertive outreach were better engaged and more satisfied with their care.

Dr Killaspy commented: "I am delighted at winning this prize, it really is a great honour and a wonderful reward for a five-year project. I am accepting the prize on behalf of the whole research team involved in the study, and would like to empahsise our gratitude to the many patients and staff who took part. I would also like to thank the funders of the study. In fact the study would never have taken place without local 'pump priming' investment from Camden and Islington Health Authority which then attracted further funding from the King's Fund and later from the Department of Health."