Prestigious Churchill Fellowships awarded to people working in mental health

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust has just awarded 18 Travelling Fellowships to people working in the field of mental health.

It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.1

This is the second year of a partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, during which time 39 Fellowships have been awarded – an investment of over £255,000. Past projects have included research into psychological support for military families, support for persons bereaved by suicide and best practice in helping young people with eating disorders.

This year’s award winners are:

  • Pam Schweitzer, from Blackheath, Director of the European Reminiscence Network and an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Greenwich. She will be travelling to Japan to study arts projects for families living with dementia.
  • Dr Rebecca Moore, a Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist from Dulwich, who will be travelling to the USA to investigate approaches to treating psychological birth trauma.
  • Dr Erin Hope Thompson, from Kilburn, and the Founder and Director of The Loss Foundation, who will be travelling to the USA to research best practice in bereavement support.
  • Barbara Bloomfield, a relationship counsellor and supervisor from Bristol, who will be travelling to Australia and the USA to explore approaches to supporting adult couples affected by autism or Asperger's.
  • Sophie Hodge, from Deptford, and a Programme Manager for the Royal College of Psychiatrists, who will be travelling to Finland, Australia and New Zealand to explore approaches to early intervention in cases of psychosis.
  • Dr Rebecca Amissah, a medical doctor from Bow, who will be travelling to the USA to study approaches to using art and music to improve mental health outcomes for people with mental health conditions.
  • Caroline Hearst, an Autism Educator and Consultant from Reading, who will be travelling to Australia, New Zealand and the USA to investigate autistic engagement in peer support and advocacy, and peer research into autism practice.
  • Niki Powers, a Chartered Psychologist and Managing Director from Edinburgh, who will be travelling to the USA to investigate services for teenagers affected by trauma.
  • Rebecca Cotton, from Dulwich, and Director of Mental Health Policy for the NHS Confederation, who will be travelling to Australia and the USA to research approaches to using digital technology in mental health services.
  • Dr Kat Taylor, a Clinical Psychologist and researcher from Lancaster, who will be travelling to Finland and the USA to study initiatives embedding the arts in health care.
  • Angela Samata, an Arts and Mental Health Practitioner from Birkenhead, who will be travelling to Japan and the USA to investigate attitudes to artists with diagnosed mental health conditions.
  • Amy Wolstenholme, an Alcohol Project Manager from Tulse Hill, who will be travelling to Canada and the USA to investigate approaches to improving care for patients who exert the greatest burden on health services.
  • Dr. Ajay Thapar, a General Practitioner from Cardiff, who will be travelling to the USA to study innovative approaches to treating people with distressing sleep problems.
  • Rosie Tressler, a charity Chief Executive from Oxford, who will be travelling to Australia and Canada to explore preventative mental health interventions for university students.
  • Jacqui Jobson, from Newcastle, and Director of Advocacy Centre North, who will be travelling to Australia and Canada to explore advocacy approaches addressing mental health among LGBTQ communities.
  • Geraldine Esdaille, an Executive Director from Manchester, who will be travelling to the USA to research culturally appropriate services for black women with multiple complex needs.
  • Dan Trevor, a Psychotherapist from Conwy, Wales, who will be travelling to the USA to investigate mindfulness interventions for children and young people.
  • Martin Malcolm, from the Isle of Lewis, and Head of Public Health Intelligence with NHS Western Isles, who will be travelling to Canada and New Zealand to explore approaches to tackling social isolation and loneliness in rural communities.

Julia Weston, Chief Executive of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, said:

“Churchill Fellows travel globally and return with innovative ideas and a commitment to sharing their findings to help others in the UK. Mental health issues affect people in all areas of life and all professions, and this is reflected in the range of topics chosen by our 2017 Fellows in this field. Their research will contribute to better community-based treatment and support in the UK.”

Dr Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research at The Mental Health Foundation, said:

“Our partnership with The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust compliments the emphasis we place on practical based study. The Travelling Fellowships give UK citizens a unique opportunity to explore new ideas in mental health from overseas, in order to bring back new ways of tackling difficult and under-researched issues.”

Fellow’s case study

Garry Botterill travelled to the Netherlands and the USA in 2015 on his Churchill Travelling Fellowship to investigate the use of specially trained assistance dogs to help veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Garry, a police sergeant and the co-founder of Service Dogs UK, a charity which pairs assistance dogs with former military and emergency service personnel who have PTSD. Garry wanted to use his Fellowship to ensure his nascent organisation was informed by the best possible practice.

Since Garry has returned from his travels, Service Dogs UK has trained two veterans to work with their service dogs and a third partnership is now underway. Garry has given talks to both colleagues in the police and veterans’ networks, and he has become a Mental Health Advocate for Sussex Police.

1. McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016) Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (2014)


Notes to Editors

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust

In total 150 Fellowships have been awarded across the UK in 2017, an investment of over £1.4 million in UK citizens. The Fellows will be travelling to 49 countries between them, across six continents, where they will carry out a wide range of projects, designed to benefit their communities and professions in the UK. The average length of a Fellowship is six weeks.

Churchill Fellows come from all over the UK and from many different backgrounds. They must be UK citizens aged 18 or over, but no qualifications are required. What Fellows share is a passion to make a difference and a desire to share their passion to inspire others.

The categories for the 2018 Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowships will be announced on Tuesday 9th May 2017. See for more details.

We have many examples of Fellows’ stories of achievement from 1965 to the present day. If you would like one from a particular year or location, or would like to interview a Fellow, please contact The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Press Office on 020 7799 1660, or email

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The Mental Health Foundation

Good mental health for all

The Mental Health Foundation is the UK’s charity for everyone’s mental health. With prevention at the heart of what we do, we aim to find and address the sources of mental health problems so that people and communities can thrive.

The Foundation is a UK charity that relies on public donations and grant funding to deliver its work.

Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, on Monday 24 April, 2017. For more information subscribe and follow

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