Publish date: 14 November 2023

The Trust is pleased to share that it won Psychiatric Communicator of the Year at this year's Royal College of Psychiatrists Awards.

The Nexus short film project is a collaboration between West London NHS Trust, Imperial College London, the Burdett Trust for Nursing and Inner Eye Productions.

The short film drama explores the impact of Covid-19 on young people's mental health, eating-related coping strategies and the power of connection.

Nexus is based on research by Imperial College London's Dr Lindsay Dewa, an advanced research fellow in mental health and the Institute of Global Health Innovation.

The research focused on preventing and detecting youth mental health deterioration. 

During the pandemic, Dr Dewa was working on the importance of social connection among young people to support mental health. She examined the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the mental health and coping strategies of young people, and the film was co-produced with young people, who have experience of mental health difficulties.

It was in December 2020, that Chris Godwin, director of Inner Eye Productions approached Dr Dewa to make a film based on her research.

With the help of West London NHS Trust, the team selected young people with lived experience of the pandemic, some with experience of mental health difficulties to take part in the project.

From concept and idea generation to filming, editing, completing the film, young people have been at the heart of the project.

The film has had great success since its completion, including a premiere screening at the BFI Stephen Street cinema last year to screenings at cinemas around the country during Eating Disorder Awareness Week as part of a national roadshow.

The film has also been archived by the BFI which means it will be watched by people in years to come to better understand the pandemic.

The team were pleased to accept the award from English journalist (and health advocate) Bryony Gordon on Wednesday 8 November.

The judges comments said: "This year's submissions were of a particularly high quality.

"They demonstrated that psychiatrists and their associates are using the full range of media to bring mental health issues to the attention of the general public.

"The winning nomination, The Nexus film project, is a collaboration between an NHS Trust, an academic centre, a film production company, and crucially writers, actors and producers who include young people with lived experiences of mental illness, poverty and deprivation amplified by the pandemic."

As well as winning a RCPsych Award for Nexus, Dr Suhana Ahmed was a finalist for Psychiatrist of the Year.

Dr Derek Tracy, Medical Director of West London NHS Trust, said: "The RCPsych national wards are the highest in UK psychiatry. 

“These are always highly competitive with extremely strong contenders in all categories. 

“To get two short-listed nominations is an outstanding achievement for the Trust, and of course primarily for the individuals and teams.

“I am delighted that the Nexus project won Communicator of the Year; their co-designed work on young people's lived experiences during the pandemic is outstanding. 

“And I have to make a special mention to our Clinical Director for Older People's Mental Health Service, Dr Suhana Ahmed, for being short-listed for Psychiatrist of the Year. 

“At the ceremony itself, the RCPsych President called the category 'the big one' and to make this list as one of the three best psychiatrists in Britain is astonishing. I'm immensely proud and in awe of Suhana and her achievements".

Nexus is now available to watch online. Here’s the link: Nexus: The power of connections - Covid eating disorder film - YouTube