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PIF Essay Competition

Held annually, PIF Essay Competitions allow eligible PIF members to explore and discuss a specified topic on psychiatry and/or mental health through a written essay .

Essay entries are limited to 1000-1500 words and judged by an assessment panel of RANZCP members according to clarity of expression and logical presentation of argument, along with demonstrated evidence and originality.

The winning essay receives A$1000 and is published in Australasian Psychiatry, with 2nd and 3rd place receiving A$500 and A$250 respectively.

This year, PIF will be running two separate essay competitions for medical students and prevocational doctors. The essay competition for medical students will be announced later this year.

The 2020 PIF Essay Competition for prevocational doctors

In recent times, the global community has experienced several disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, bushfires and now the novel coronavirus – these events can all directly or indirectly impact on the mental health of individuals, families, groups and communities.

Recognising that psychiatrists have important roles in disaster planning and preparedness, and response, this year’s essay topic is: ‘The psychiatrist’s role in responding to global disasters’.

*Eligible applicants are medical postgraduates year 1 and 2, and other medical practitioners (excluding trainees/Fellows from other specialty). 

Please read the competition Terms & Conditions and submit the essay through online form by 11.59pm AEST Sunday 2 August 2020.

Read the winning essays

2019 topic: The more we understand mental health, the more we diagnose mental illness

First place: Carrie (Yifan) Zhang

Second place: Olivia Leyden

Third place: Koshy Mathew

2018 topic: Discuss the potential benefits and harms of compulsory treatment in psychiatry

First place: Benjamin Tassie

Second place: Christopher Lemon

Third place: Samuel Tan

2017 topic: Doctors’ mental health is more important now than it has ever been

First place: Eliza Mason 

Second place: Kuhan Perumynar

Third place: Akhil Bansal

2016 topic: Discuss the portrayal of psychiatry in popular culture: harmful or helpful?

First place: Benjamin Vialle

Second place (tied): Ceren Guler & Calina Ouliaris

2015 topic: Psychiatry: Art, science, both or neither?

First place: Benjamin Vialle

Second place: Asiel Adan Sanchez

Third place (tied): Christopher Lemon & Oluwatobi Martins

2014 topic: It can be challenging for a doctor to be a patient

First place: Shadi El-Wahsh

Second place: Oluwatobi Martins

Third place: Sophie Gascoigne-Cohen 


Direct any questions to or call us toll-free on 1800 337 448 (from Australia) or 0800 443 827 (from New Zealand).


The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has received Australian Government funding under the Specialist Training Program (STP) to deliver this initiative.