On Wednesday evening, Student Minds Cambridge sat down with Dr Ahmed Hankir to interview him about his remarkable life and career.
Dr Hankir has described himself as a proud British Muslim, a survivor of psychological trauma/torture, a mental health campaigner and a researcher. He is passionate about empowering and dignifying people with lived/living experience of mental health difficulties, challenging mental health-related stigma and breaking down the barriers to mental healthcare.
Dr Hankir spent his formative years in Lebanon but was forced to leave his family for the UK at age 17 as a result of the catastrophic civil war. In the UK, he started off as a janitor cleaning floors on minimum wage for 70 hours a week, all the while adjusting to an increasingly Islamophobic and violent UK, but he nevertheless managed to secure a place at medical school to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor.While he was at medical school, Dr Hankir suffered a debilitating episode of psychological distress that was triggered by the 2006 Lebanon War, leaving him derided and ostracized by the community that he once belonged to. After recovering, he resumed his studies with renewed resilience, qualified from medical school in 2011 and went on the pioneer, ‘The Wounded Healer’ an innovative anti-stigma program that blends the power of the performing arts and storytelling with psychiatry. ‘The Wounded Healer’ signposts Dr Hankir’s inspirational recovery journey from ‘impoverished and suicidal service-user with mental illness’ to ‘multi-award-winning psychiatrist and mental health advocate’. Dr Hankir has delivered ‘The Wounded Healer’ to over 75,000 people in 19 countries in five continents worldwide and ‘The Wounded Healer’ has been integrated into the medical school curriculum of four UK universities.
His dedication has led him to give Keynote Lectures alongside Nobel Prize Laureates, Ted speakers and celebrities in national and international conferences and to lecture at some of the most prestigious universities in the world including Harvard, Yale, Padua, Coimbra, Cambridge and Oxford. Dr Hankir is also the recipient of numerous awards including the Royal College of Psychiatrists Foundation Doctor and Core Psychiatry Trainee of the Year Awards which mark the highest level of achievement in psychiatry in the UK.
We were thrilled that Dr Hankir so kindly agreed to speak to us at Student Minds Cambridge! A recording of the interview is available to view here.