Anula Damayanthi Nikapota In Memoriam

It is with great sadness that we record the death of Dr Anula Nikapota.

She died on 5th of April, 2019 suddenly while on holiday with her family. Before she retired, her work had been primarily at the South London and Maudsley Hospital Trust and at King’s College London. There, she showed herself to be 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.

In addition, she was widely known and highly regarded for her international work. In Sri Lanka, where she had graduated, she was WHO consultant for development of children’s services and trained many disciplines. She was also very active in training, making links and promoting connections in countries developing their services, including Japan, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. She was internationally known for her expertise on how cultural diversity may influence the presentation of mental health problems and attitudes to different interventions.

This expertise was conveyed widely – for instance in her contributions to Rutter’s textbook. She developed and ran the excellent Diploma/MSc in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience of King’s College London. This continues to provide specialist education and training in child and adolescent mental health for overseas clinicians, including psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians. The graduates of the course now include distinguished clinicians from over 50 countries, and for its 30th anniversary in 2018 many of her previous students returned to London for the celebration.

At the UK’s Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) she was the international development officer, and was responsible for granting free memberships in the lowest income countries, and extending the Association’s outreach.

She leaves a husband, Vijita, three children and seven grandchildren. She will be remembered with affection by many, not only for her fine professional contributions, but also for her sparkling personality and deep cultural interests and attainments.