(Vienna, 09 June 2021) Michaela Amering from the Division of Social Psychiatry of MedUni Vienna's Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy was recently awarded the 2021 'EPA Constance Pascal – Helen Boyle Prize for Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in Working to Improve Mental Health Care in Europe' by the European Psychiatric Association (EPA).
In her acceptance speech at the opening of the 2021 EPA Annual Congress, Michaela Amering presented her own work in the context of past and current achievements in research and reform by women, such as the eminent women after whom the prize is named, Constance Pascal and Helen Boyle. She highlighted the achievements of women working to provide human-rights-based mental health care and to establish trialogical collaborations between psychiatrists, people with a lived experience of mental health problems and their families and friends.
She stressed the importance of the role of professional psychiatric associations, particularly the European Psychiatric Association, as an essential authority in safeguarding the responsibilities and opportunities of the psychiatric profession. Scientific progress and improvements in healthcare practices are needed to optimise people's mental health, as is social change to create greater equality, justice and solidarity.
The main focuses of Michaela Amering's scientific and clinical interest include the psychosocial aspects of the situation of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and of their families and friends. Alongside many other topics, she has gained an international reputation for her intensive research into the subjective experience of illness and treatment, as well as into the associated stigma and discrimination and how they can be overcome. She is a proponent of the' trialogue', the partnership between mental health clinicians and researchers and people with lived experience of mental health problems and treatment, and their families and friends. Her work within national and international projects is aimed at the promotion of recovery-oriented health services, as is now required both by the scientific evidence and also in terms of the human rights of persons with psychosocial disabilities. She is an honorary member and Fellow of the World Psychiatric Association and of the European and the World Association of Social Psychiatry and a board member of the Austrian Association of Social Psychiatry. Within the European Psychiatric Association she has also been involved for many years in the 'Women, Gender and Mental Health' section, which is another of her longstanding research interests.
Michaela Amering completed her medical degree in 1987 at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna and did her specialist training in psychiatry and psychotherapy at the Division of Social Psychiatry. The subject of her 1999 postdoctoral thesis was "The social psychiatry of panic disorder". For many years she headed up the specialist "Integrative treatment of psychosis" unit within the Division of Social Psychiatry and is chief medical officer at the day clinic. She spent several years of her research time in the USA, UK and Canada.
The European Psychiatric Association (EPA) is the Europe-wide scientific association for psychiatry. The EPA awards the Constance Pascal – Helen Boyle Prize in recognition of outstanding achievements by female psychiatrists working to improve mental health care in Europe.