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Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families Chief Executive Awarded OBE

Professor Peter Fonagy's contribution to the field of mental health has been recognised with an OBE.

Peter FonagyHampstead's reputation as a hub for world leaders in the field of psychology is further enhanced as Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief Executive of the Anna Freud Centre, is awarded an OBE.

Professor Fonagy first came into contact with the Centre as a teenager when he received help from the organisation after being separated from his family upon leaving Hungary. Now over 30 years later and after ten years successfully leading the Centre that once helped him, Professor Fonagy has been honoured with an OBE in recognition of his services to psychoanalysis and psychology.

Trained as a child and adult psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist, he has dedicated his life and career to advancing global understanding of common and serious mental health problems. Over the last 30 years he has carried out ground-breaking research and developed new treatments for children and adults with mental disorders that are now being used across the world.

Professor Fonagy’s pioneering work on mentalization based treatment has drawn together theory and clinical practice in radical new ways. His work on mentalization-based treatment (MBT) has been rolled out internationally and has been applied to patients suffering from range of debilitating diagnoses, including borderline personality disorder, eating disorders, anxiety and depression.

He is also the Freud Memorial Professor and Head of the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at University College London (UCL), where he leads a large team striving to improve mental health and well-being in the UK and internationally through research, education and driving clinical change from the grassroots up.

At the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, Professor Fonagy has led the charity’s training activities, academic links and cutting-edge research in child mental health, enabling it to expand its reach and provide help to thousands of children and families across the globe.

He said: “My career is a testament to the value of collaboration in science. I have worked with colleagues throughout the last 30 years and it is their cumulative achievement which was recognized by this wonderful award. Mental health problems present the biggest single challenge to the civilized world; it is more of a burden than any other health issue, it dramatically shortens our lives (on average by 17 years) and even worse, if untreated, destroys the quality of the years of life we do have. If the award helps bring a little more attention to what psychological interventions can achieve I will be even more delighted to have received this honour.”

Michael Samuel, Chair of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families' Board of Trustees said:  “For many years Peter has transformed perceptions of mental health and the treatments available. This award of an OBE is a fitting recognition of his contribution to psychoanalysis and psychology.”

Those who have worked with Professor Fonagy have emphasised that the award is well-deserved. Ruby Wax, a Trustee of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said: “His unique insight, contagious enthusiasm and extraordinary energy have inspired a generation of students and professionals and provided hope to countless children and adults suffering from mental health difficulties.”