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Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture addresses mental health in organisational leadership

Professor Sally Maitlis shared new research into leaders’ experience of depression and anxiety in the Department of Organisational Psychology’s annual memorial lecture.

Photo of Professor Sally Maitlis, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

While interest in workplace mental health has grown rapidly in the last few years, the focus has remained largely on employees at lower levels in the organisational structure.

In the 2021 Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture, Birkbeck’s Department of Organisational Psychology welcomed Professor Sally Maitlis, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, to share new research into senior leadership, mental health and professional identity.

Entitled ‘Hidden from View: Leading with Depression and Anxiety’, the lecture saw Professor Maitlis present findings from an ongoing study of depression and anxiety among leaders in organisations and their implications for our understanding of professional identity and stigma, leadership, and mental health in the workplace.

The lecture, held online for the first time in its history, was attended by staff, students, alumni and friends of the Department of Organisational Psychology and the College and followed by a lively Q&A session.

Dr Rebecca Whiting, Reader in Organisational Psychology at Birkbeck, who gave the vote of thanks, said: “Tonight’s fascinating lecture has touched on so many areas of interest to our community. The insights that Professor Maitlis has covered will not only resonate with our academic staff, but with our doctoral and MSc students, many of whom are in the audience tonight. It is a great privilege in our department to have such an engaged alumni community and it has been fantastic to bring that community together today.”

The Alec Rodger Memorial Lecture is an annual event honouring Professor Alec Rodger, a hugely influential psychologist and founding member of Birkbeck’s Department of Organisational Psychology and is funded by the T. Ritchie Rodger Research Fund.

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