Leading psychiatrist, Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins, has been announced as the new President of the College of Occupational Therapists, the UK’s professional body for more than 30,000 occupational therapy staff and students.
Baroness Hollins is Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability at St George’s University of London. She first began her career as a GP before moving into the field of psychiatry after witnessing a high proportion of patients with emotional and social difficulties.
Baroness Hollins said “I have worked closely with occupational therapists throughout my career as a psychiatrist, both in child psychiatry and psychiatry of learning disabilities. I am thrilled to be succeeding Lord Walton as President and looking forward to meeting many members in the months ahead.”
Baroness Hollins has been President of both the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Medical Association, and was appointed an Independent member of the House of Lords in 2010 where she speaks on mental health and disability issues. She currently chairs the BMA Board of Science and is Executive Chair of Beyond Words, an organisation which publishes picture books to empower children and adults with communication disabilities to explore and share life events, and to develop skills to support their health, relationships and wellbeing. Her professional and policy work has been inspired by her family experience of disability.
Julia Scott, Chief Executive of the College of Occupational Therapists said: “We are honoured to welcome Baroness Hollins who holds many values shared by our profession. We look forward to working together in our common goal; supporting people to fully participate in all areas of their life.”
Baroness Hollins succeeds Lord Walton of Detchant, as President of the College of Occupational Therapists. Lord Walton supported the College in its campaign to promote occupation in care homes and championed early access to occupational therapy for those with long term conditions including motor neurone disease.
Julia continued: On behalf of all our members I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to Lord Walton for his impassioned support for occupational therapy throughout his presidency. His energy and understanding of the importance of our work has been greatly valued.”