It is with great sadness that I have to inform you Dr Anula Nikapota died on 4 April, suddenly while on holiday with her family. We are very shocked by her sudden death. Many of us will remember Anula for her many accomplishments for ACAMH on top of her great expertise clinically and educationally. We are very shocked by her sudden death. Her attainments on top of running a very busy general CAMHS clinic in Brixton were many and varied, and she continued them after retiring from the NHS.
She was active on the board of ACAMH and indeed had been active until the day she died. She was our international officer and was particularly committed to helping develop staff and services in low and middle income countries. For example, she was active in making links and promoting connections in Egypt, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. She saw through ACAMH granting free memberships for the lowest income countries, thus extending the reach of the organisation and sharing its resources widely and generously. At the time of her death she was energetically planning with Martin, our CEO, how to develop further branches and partnerships overseas.
She was modern in her outlook, fully embracing the new technology and opportunities that the Internet offers. With Eric Taylor, she was at an advanced stage in developing an online module, the first in-house one for ACAMH, on research methods so that colleagues in developing countries could carry out their own investigations and evaluations, as well as getting Continuing Professional Development credit for this. She was part of the team that delivered around the country the CAMHS Transformation Clinical Champions project in conjunction with YoungMinds and MindEd, a package of online resources that clinicians could use to increase access to evidence-based services.
She was a superb clinician – wise, knowledgeable and with an unerring ability to engage children and families from diverse backgrounds. She pioneered many novel strategies to extend and improve the working relationships between child mental health services and the wider community, including schools, social care and the voluntary sector. Anula was internationally known for her expertise on how cultural diversity may influence the presentation of mental health problems and attitudes to different interventions.
With the support of Professors Michael Rutter and Eric Taylor, Anula developed and ran the excellent Diploma/MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience. This provides specialist education and training in child and adolescent mental health for overseas clinicians, including psychologists, psychiatrists and paediatricians. One of its unusual features is the direct clinical experience that students get in working clinics. Under Anula’s leadership, the course attracted distinguished clinicians from over 50 countries, and for its 30th anniversary in 2018 many of Anula’s previous students returned to London for the celebration.
Anula was always lively and fun with a sparkling sense of humour. She had a loving husband and family and was an extremely talented musician. She was a wonderful colleague and she will be greatly missed.
If you would like to share your comments and memories about Anula you can in the section below.
Professor Stephen Scott, Professor Eric Taylor, and Martin Pratt