Friday, 28 October 2022
Congratulations to Aki Bola-Emerson, our Clinical Service Lead for Perinatal Psychiatry, who has been awarded a Churchill Medallion by the Churchill Fellowship for her work and research into supporting parents affected by perinatal mental illness.
The Churchill Fellowship funds UK citizens to spend up to two months discovering new approaches and best practice in their chosen topic, from innovators and leading professionals worldwide. Fellows are then supported to share their global insights and turn their ideas into action.
Aki was awarded a fellowship in 2017 to explore preventing relationship breakdowns between parents through perinatal mental health support. Due to the pandemic, the award ceremony was postponed and returned in October 2022 when Aki received a medal for her fellowship.
Aki said: “The fellowship enabled me to study the change in couples' relationships when having a baby. I travelled to Australia and the USA to meet with academics and researchers in the field to draw upon their work and translate my findings back to the UK. This was a very proud experience and achievement for me – I fully immersed myself in learning from the global expertise and knowledge.”
This year Aki received a grant from the Churchill Fellowship to develop a model of perinatal couple therapy to support new mothers diagnosed with a mental illness. Aki will deliver this through a course of couple therapy sessions for mothers and their partners, at their home or a local children’s centre. She will also offer multi-family group therapy interventions, providing an opportunity for couples to interact with others in a similar situation and learn coping strategies to help with their mental health recovery.
To help these sessions, Aki aims to provide extra training for perinatal staff members in supporting families. Aki hopes that this will decrease the possibility of a mental health breakdown in new mothers and prevent relationship breakdowns.
Aki added: “I would encourage anyone to apply for the fellowship if they are passionate about a topic and want to help make a change.”
To find out more about the Fellowship and to apply click here: Apply now for a Churchill Fellowship