JPMHN 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award

The lifetime achievement award recipient for 2021 is Kevin Gournay. Many of you will know Kevin and his work which has made a substantial and sustained contribution to mental health nursing. To refresh you of Kevin’s contribution…

Professor Kevin Gournay, CBE RN PhD CPsychol CSci FRCN FMedSci FRSM AFBPsS Cert CBT. Emeritus Professor of Psychiatric Nursing, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience: King’s College: London. Honorary Professor: Faculty of Medicine and Health: University of Sydney

Kevin Gournay’s career has spanned more than 50 years. He trained as a nurse in Learning Disabilities and Mental Health and subsequently as a nurse therapist at the Maudsley Hospital in 1978. He has been a constant presence in mental health nursing in thsimtime, leading practice as well as practising. He has worked as  a Nurse Therapist in the NHS, completed his Masters, PhD and post-doctoral education (all part time). He won a grant to conduct (with the late Julia Brooking) an RCT of CPN effectiveness and an epidemiological study of body dysmorphic disorder; this being followed by an RCT of treatment that led to the treatment model used today. He has integrated many skills, for example using his CBT skills in palliative care settings and with women who had experienced stillbirth, or perinatal death (this following personal experience).  He has was involved in the setting up of 2 national charities (one for cancer care, one for anxiety).

In 1992 he became a Professor of Mental Health at Middlesex University and in 1995  was appointed as the first Professor of Psychiatric Nursing at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London; a post he held until 2006. During his time there, he served for 2 years as Chair of Institute’s Academic Board, won funding for MRC doctoral and post-doctoral fellowships, a number of research studies, developed innovative training in dual diagnosis and medication management and had an oversight role of several other training programmes.

He was involved in national policy development in prison mental health, high secure settings and specialist personality disorder services. He also served as a specialist advisor to the UK joint Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, as well as providing advice to ministers and the CNO. He worked on a trans-European practice development project (funded by the EC in 14 countries) that focussed on the empowerment of service users. Kevin also worked as a consultant to WHO on international development projects in Russia and other countries and until 2013, on a project in Palestine, aimed at developing mental health services in the West Bank and Gaza. 

Since retiring from his post in 2006, Kevin has continued to work in clinical settings in a tertiary service for people with OCD and complex PTSD (recently much of his work has involved Military personnel). He has also continued his collaboration with colleagues in Australia, including assisting with the setting up of a Centre for Comorbidity (originally at the University of New South Wales and now at the University of Sydney) where he holds a Professorial position. Kevin spends several weeks each year in Australia and is a co-author on the National Guidance on comorbidity, funded by the Federal Government, with a 3rd edition to be published in late 2021. He has extensive experience of presenting mental health issues in print, radio and television media and has served as a member of numerous editorial boards. He is the author or co-editor of 17 books and monographs (including one book published in the Welsh language), 56 chapters in books, 16 reports and literature reviews, 120 articles in peer reviewed journals and numerous articles in magazines, including book reviews and comment pieces. He continues to serve as a reviewer for several funding bodies.

Kevin was appointed CBE in the New Year’s Honours in 1999 for his services to psychiatric nursing, research and education. He is Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing and holds a number of other fellowships, honorary fellowships and honorary degrees. In 2004, he was elected as Psychiatric Nurse of the Year by the American Psychiatric Nurses’ Association.  

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