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The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Professor Petrus de Vries has received two prestigious international awards for his relentless research and capacity-building efforts in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry and mental health.

Professor de Vries is the head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in UCT’s Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health in the Faculty of Health Sciences. He recently received the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ (RCPsych) inaugural Psychiatric Global Health Contributor of the Year award for 2022. The RCPsych is a professional body in the United Kingdom, responsible for education, training and setting and raising standards in psychiatry.

Outstanding contribution

RCPsych president, Dr Adrian James, lauded De Vries for his outstanding contribution to the field and for leading several actions and initiatives in global health that have inspired many mental health and other professionals, as well as families and communities. De Vries received his award at the 2022 RCPsych award ceremony; the event honoured psychiatrists for their exceptional contribution to the field globally.

“I was very excited when I saw that RCPsych recognised the importance of global mental health by introducing this award. Needless to say, I was very surprised but delighted to be the first recipient,” De Vries said.

‘Awards are a powerful motivator’

Meanwhile, the International Association for Child & Adolescent Psychiatrists and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) also awarded De Vries with the IACAPAP medal for his outstanding contributions to the IACAPAP and to the international child and adolescent mental health community.

“But the recognition helps us charge our own batteries and can be a very powerful motivator for others to make socially responsive contributions to their communities.”

The award recognises De Vries’s work as the IACAPAP treasurer from 2018 to 2022; as co-editor of the IACAPAP Monograph; and for his decade-long stint as coordinator of the Helmut Remschmidt Research Seminars – an international research capacity-building programme aimed at early-career child and adolescent mental health professionals. The announcement was made at IACAPAP’s annual conference held in Dubai in December 2022.

“None of us [do] what we do for awards. But the recognition helps us charge our own batteries and can be a very powerful motivator for others to make socially responsive contributions to their communities,” he said.

 

MARCH 2023 | STORY STAFF WRITER. PHOTO SUPPLIED.