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Birthday Honours MBE for Swansea Bay psychologist

Dr Nistor Becia senior psychologist with ABUHB

SWANSEA Bay senior psychologist Dr Nistor Becia has been awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours list for his outstanding work in the health board’s response to supporting refugees from war-torn Ukraine.

Dr Becia was among a team which swung in to action to carry out initial physical and mental healthcare assessments shortly after refugees began arriving in Wales – a key priority in light of the traumas experienced by many fleeing the war zone.

Based at Swansea’s Welcome Centre for Ukrainians, which was set up a few months after the Russian invasion of February 2022, staff from Primary Care and Mental Health and Learning Disability services worked alongside a local authority team to help refugees find their feet in Wales and access appropriate support.

The Lord- Lieutenant of West Glamorgan and Dr Nistor Becia, pictured at a Welcome Centre for refugees

Dr Becia, who spent 10 years serving in the Romanian Army before retraining as a psychologist and relocating to Wales, used his background and expertise, including Ukrainian language skills, to devise a suitable community psychology model which became central to the Welcome Centre’s work.

Pictured right: Dr Nistor Becia, pictured at the Refugee Welcome Centre with the Lord- Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Mrs Louise Fleet.

The idea has been to provide early intervention after initial screening. This approach has reduced the number of referrals to mainstream services, which during the initial influx of refugees could have overwhelmed services in Swansea Bay.

Dr Becia, 42, has also used his annual leave over the past two years to travel to the Romanian border with Ukraine to train health professionals in mental health first aid.

His endeavours have not gone unnoticed, but he admits news of his award came as a complete surprise.

“It would never have occurred to me that someone would make the effort to nominate me for an MBE,” said Dr Becia, who also won a health board Living Our Values award in 2023 for playing a key role in the team’s work.

“I do not know who that person is – that information is kept private, but I am curious!

“When I received the letter, I went through a range of emotions – from shock, excitement to gratitude.

“Now I’m thinking about how I can use this recognition in a positive way, to do something else to help and support others. The MBE represents important values and I want to live up to them, not least in my work with Swansea Bay.

“This is a fantastic recognition for the work of everyone involved with the Welcome Centre. An MBE is recognised not just nationally but internationally.

“Speaking as a Romanian, we know the award well.

“But I could not have achieved this accolade on my own. I am so grateful to the people who have supported me and have believed in my efforts, and I am sure they are as happy and inspired as I am and will continue to support me on my journey in helping others in the coming years.”

The MBE award comes just a matter of months after Dr Becia took up a part-time role as Head of Honorary Consulate of Romania in Wales, a position which sees him promote the interests and support the citizens of the his home country, in conjunction with the Romanian Embassy in London.

Pictured left: Dr Becia, pictured with the Romanian Ambassador to the UK, Her Excellency Laura Popescu.

“I’ve always believed success is about making a positive impact on people’s lives and finding fulfilment in the work we do,” added Dr Becia, who is now awaiting confirmation of a date for his MBE investiture.

“A close friend once told me working for eight hours is surviving, the work you do beyond that, however, is a measure of success.

“There have been times in the last few years when I have felt guilty for not spending more time with my daughter and family, but how can I enjoy a holiday when I can see images on television of children running away and suffering?

“When refugees began arriving – and the initial projection was that around 1,000 would do so, I kept in mind that research suggests mental health symptoms are prevalent in anywhere between 30% and 86% of forced migrant populations. 

“The idea was that with our support we could prevent mainstream services being overrun. Only a few very severe cases have had to be referred as a result.

“To help people is what makes me happy – it was the right thing to do at the time when people needed a sense of safety and support having gone through terrible experiences. With this award, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, but most importantly it’s a validation of my philosophy of life which is to be a good human being and to help those in need.”




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