Sean Duggan awarded honorary degree

6 August 2015

Sean Duggan, our Chief Executive, was awarded an honorary degree by our university.

He joined the Centre as Director of the Criminal Justice Programme in 2006 and was Joint Chief Executive from 2009 to 2011.

Sean worked for the Department of Health, leading on mental health in the criminal justice service where he established mental health provision for prisons. He trained as a Registered Mental Health Nurse in Sussex where he also became Director of Nursing for an NHS Trust.

Sean was Vice-Chair of the National Advisory Group to the Health and Criminal Justice Programme Board and he is a Professional Fellow at the Institute of Mental Health. He was awarded the President’s Medal by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2013.

He obtained his MBA from the University of Brighton in 1992. His honorary degree of Master of Science was awarded on 30 July for his major contribution to criminal justice and mental health.

Professor Stephen Denyer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching, said that under Sean’s leadership and the work of his teams society was now more aware than ever how mental health problems can be prevented and the value of early intervention.

“Research by his Centre showed that in 2010 the social and economic costs of mental health ill health in England stood at £105 billion every year. The cost to UK employers was £26 billion and the cost to perinatal mental ill health was another £8 billion.”

Professor Denyer said the statistics provided convincing evidence of the need for greater investment of effort and resources in mental health support and demonstrates the potential benefits of effective interventions.

He said Sean and his teams had changed the mental health landscape in the UK including development of community care and assertive outreach: “Sean is campaigning to encourage more employers to hire people using mental health services and hundreds of people have now been helped into employment as a result.”

The centre, he said, in 2006 launched a major work programme to improve mental health support in the criminal justice system: “The centre found that too many people with mental health problems were being imprisoned because their needs were identified or there was no support in the community to divert them away from prison.”

Since 2008, he said, the Centre has supported the development of liaison and diversion services in police stations and in courts to help put this right.”

Last year 82 prisoners took their own lives, the highest suicide rate for seven years: “Sean responded by announcing the centre and the Howard League for Penal Reform, supported by the Monument Trust to launch a programme to end the death toll in prisons for good.”

Sean congratulated the University of Brighton for “shining a light” on the issue of mental health: “It touches one in four of us and impacts on the lives of every family, and a quarter of all the people working and learning at our university will be affected.”

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