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Launching Annual Recognition Awards

Psychological trauma is increasingly present in mental health research and clinical services. Yet, significant gaps exist in our knowledge and disparities between research & practice, especially in meeting the needs of marginalised populations, are pronounced.

To improve outcomes for trauma exposed populations it is vital that we ensure service users and healthcare professionals are supported by:

  • Developing & implementing practices that are effective
  • Sharing good practice
  • Investing in the professional development and wellbeing of health professionals working with trauma exposed populations

To help meet these goals we are launching a series of annual recognition awards to highlight and promote clinical and research practice that improve outcomes for service users and staff groups.

Award Sponsors

The Annual Recognition Awards in trauma research and practice are hosted by teams and organisations with recognised clinical, educational and research expertise and knowledge in psychotraumatology or mental health needs, with different populations. Whilst the ARA’s are expected to grow, there are currently four founding sponsors:

  • Centre for Developmental and Complex Trauma (CDCT), part of St Andrew’s Healthcare
  • Crisis, Disaster and Trauma section of the British Psychological Society
  • The Compassionate Mind Foundation (CMF)
  • The RADiANT Research Group, Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

The award sponsors are keen to ensure that we offer approaches to care based on the latest evidence, reaching groups who are most likely to be exposed to, and impacted by trauma and adversity.

The awards aim to encourage, validate and support the dedication of clinicians and academics to continue to develop better understanding, processes, treatments and outcomes for the wide range of trauma exposed populations.

Equally we also see the awards as an opportunity to foster closer network of clinicians and academics to support working towards our collective common goal.

The four sponsoring organisations, and all of the judges involved with the awards are offering their time free of charge, in recognition of the need for a collective effort needed to take the trauma speciality forward.

Award categories

To meet the challenges ahead, the ARA’s are offering six different awards, aligned with our key objectives.

The first award focuses on recognising clinical initiatives, ensuring that the needs of service users are at the heart of the awards.

In acknowledgment of the need to have a skilled and supported workforce, a dedicated award for staff groups working with trauma exposed populations has been formed.

To promote the critical role of experts by experiences and the role of co-production, an award has been established for clinical or research initiatives that demonstrate a strong co-produced or peer led component. Of note is that peer led or co-produced submissions are not restricted to this category only and can also be submitted to relevant all categories.

1. Clinical Initiative: Improving Practice & Outcomes for Service Users

Clinical interventions can take many forms. They may involve direct therapy, guided self help or working systemically through teams or families, and reflect the most critical approach of reducing the impact of trauma and wider mental health presentations that often co occur.

Wider clinical initiatives that address the holistic impact of trauma that improve quality of life, through improving physical health, increasing life skills, social connections, education or employment opportunities are both necessary and highly valued priorities by service users.

Just as clinical interventions play a pivotal role in our responses to either prevent respond to trauma exposure, so must our efforts to ensure that we are offering interventions that are safe and effective, for different populations.


Evaluations of clinical practice can reflect large scale multi centre controls trials led by research teams, or local service evaluations, led by clinicians and services.

The importance of service evaluations is often overlooked in the trauma literature, yet they are of critical importance to reducing the gap between evidence and practice and developing practice based evidence.

They also often reflect work with populations who are not represented in the wider trauma literature and, as such, are critical to ensuring that the needs of marginalised populations are considered.

Service evaluations are often the most translatable into clinical services and we very much welcome submissions from local initiatives.

2. Clinical Initiative That Provides Professional Development or Improves Support for Staff Groups Working With Trauma Populations.

Healthcare professionals and first responders staff groups who work with trauma-exposed populations are dedicated and passionate individuals, often working in challenging environments. Working effectively with trauma exposed populations requires ongoing professional development and support. Well designed training or supervision, derived from evidence and evaluated for its effectiveness

This field of work is incredibly fulfilling, and it can also affect the well-being of those assisting trauma survivors. It is vital that we support staff, for their own wellbeing and to ensure that we continue to provide functional and healthy services. As such, it is crucial to offer staff effective support to prevent challenges, alleviate distress, enhance well-being, and tackle the underlying causes of distress to avoid future issues. Ongoing investments in public and private sectors to promote and protect staff wellbeing, and the continued high profile of occupational distress is key to ensuring the wellbeing of the workforce. However, this will only be achieved if initiatives to improve wellbeing are grounded in theory and evidenced, to ensure they are effective.

3. Clinical or Research Initiative Demonstrating Strong Coproduction / Lived Experience Components That Improve Outcomes for Service Users

Peer led or co-produced research and clinical innovations are increasingly being recognised as key to improving our understanding of trauma and in shaping services and clinical priorities. It emphasizes the value of experiential knowledge twinned with traditional expertise leading to a more nuanced understanding of trauma.

At the same time these voices and experiences can be underutilized or invisible without committed actions, imaginative individuals, expansive leadership and "trauma informed" organizations. The process is an adventure in managing risk for the potential rewards (better outcomes) while offering both challenge and support.

This award is assessing the effective, significant and constructive participation and influence of EBEs and quality of partnership working (reciprocity and investment). It is about meaningful ‘doing with.’

4. Early Stage Career Research Award: Applied Research That Focuses on Improving Understanding Psychological Trauma

A rich understanding of the way in which trauma presents and the experiences underpinning the emergence of trauma symptoms in those requiring support from healthcare services is critical to informing effective approaches in working with and addressing the holistic needs of service user populations.

The integration of research with clinical practice reflects a necessary interface for the delivery of quality care that is empirically informed by robust real-world data and evidence.

Accordingly, generating research that bears great potential for meaningful impact on the experiences of and outcomes for people in healthcare services, whether as a user or provider, is arguably a central responsibility held by clinicians, academics and researchers in the field.

5. Established Career Award: Applied Research That Focuses on Improving Understanding Psychological Trauma

In addition to recognising and encouraging initial entrance into the clinical research sphere, we are equally keen to recognise and celebrate the work of individuals with an established portfolio of research, who continue to show an outstanding commitment to the advancement of the psychological trauma field.

Within recent years, the psychological trauma field has seen some innovative and trail-blazing research by pioneers in this area. Research which significantly contributes to current understandings of and ways of effectively working with psychological trauma in clinical care will be considered for this research award category. Significance may be demonstrated through the devising and addressing of pertinent research questions, or via the development and application of novel and notable research methods.

Please note that all submissions for this category must be able to demonstrate evidence that the submitted work to which the award application relates has been subject to a peer-reviewed publishing process. For example, peer-reviewed, published journal articles or book chapters would be eligible for this award category. Self-published articles and guidelines that have not been derived from empirical research data or processes will not be considered.

6. Applied Research or Clinical Initiative That Improves Understanding, Management or Outcomes of Psychological Trauma in Marginalised Populations

Membership of one of more socially marginalised group elevates the likelihood of exposure to trauma and adversity across the life span, as well as clinical needs relating to trauma. Yet, marginalised groups are under represented in innovations in this field.

We cannot assume that policies and practices developed for dominant social groups meet the needs of all social groups. Individuals from minoritized backgrounds may experience unique adversities and barriers to accessing with services. As clinicians, researchers and leaders we have a responsibility to ensure specialist mental healthcare is accessible to all and to support the work and development of people working in this area.

The aim of this award is to shine a light on these communities to ensure their needs are given greater prominence and to highlight the work being undertaken with under researched and supported populations.

Submission, Judging and Outcome Reporting Process

Submitting for an award is a straight forward process. We are keen to encourage, not put off submissions! Individuals and teams can nominate themselves for an award or they can be nominated by a third party, with the consent of those being nominated.

1. Access and complete the submission form 

A copy of the awards submission form can be downloaded from the bottom of this page. If you are not able to download a copy, please get in touch at and we will be able to provide you with a copy. 

2. Submit your form

Completed submissions form needs to be submitted to Submissions will be acknowledged within 3 working days. You can also email this address to ask any informal questions or to request a discussion with the chair for the awards, to clarify any points relating submissions or the submission process.

In instances where individuals or teams are nominated by third parties, the award organisers will contact, via email, the nominated parties to confirm they consent to being nominated and to confirm the accuracy of the submission. 

3. Anonymous screening 

After the form is submitted all identifying information is removed and forwarded to the senior judges for initial screening. In the event of incomplete or unclear submissions being received, the judges will request the awards administrators contact the lead name on the submission and will be invited to re submit, once omissions or clarifications are made.

The decision to anonymise submissions, prior to judging, is to reduce the risk of bias in the judging process. The submission will then be forwarded to the judges who will assess the submission based on pre-agreed criterion and their own expert opinions.

4. Judgements agreed and outcome fedback

Following the completion of reviews for each award category, the judges individual rating are discussed as a judging team and a consensus agreement is reached for an outcome. Judges will agree an overall winner for the each award, and where appropriate, also award highly commended awards. The outcomes of the each of the award categories will be notified by email.

ARA Resources

 A copy of the submission form to be completed and submitted can be downloaded from here.

Please also consult the brochure provided here for further information about the awards. The brochure includes full information on the submission, judging and outcomes process, further details and examples of potential submissions that would be eligible for consideration under each of the award categories, and information on the sponsors and judges of the awards.