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The Duchess of Cambridge visits King's College London's IoPPN


The Duchess of Cambridge today visited the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute at King’s College London to find out more about the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience’s (IoPPN) pioneering ‘bench to bedside’ perinatal mental health research and to meet leading scientists in the area.  The Duchess continued to the Mother and Baby Unit, Royal Bethlem Hospital, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, to meet clinicians and patients.

At least 20 per cent of women are affected by mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year following the birth of a child. If left untreated, it can have significant and long lasting effects on the woman and her family. This visit reflected The Duchess's interest in understanding the challenges and issues surrounding maternal mental health, to learn what support is available, and to hear first-hand about the science underpinning our understanding of maternal mental health.

The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute, IoPPN

The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute is one of Europe’s largest centres for interdisciplinary neuroscience excellence. Her Royal Highness was met by Rt Hon the Lord Geidt, Chairman of King’s, Professor Ian Everall, Executive Dean of the IoPPN, Professor Carmine Pariante, Professor of Biological Psychiatry at IoPPN, and Dr Gertrude Seneviratne, perinatal psychiatrist and Lead of the Perinatal Mental Health Services at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

The Duchess of Cambridge with IoPPN Executive Dean Ian Everall and Carmine Pariante (Image:


The Duchess was shown to a laboratory, where she met Professor Paola Dazzan, Professor of Neurobiology of Psychosis and Vice Dean International IoPPN. Professors Pariante and Dazzan discussed key biological research in perinatal mental health from the IoPPN, and showed The Duchess equipment and techniques used in the lab.

The Duchess of Cambridge with Professor Paola Dazzan (Image:

Following this, Her Royal Highness met with Professor Louise Howard, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Professor in Maternal Mental Health, and Dr. Chiara Nosarti, Reader in Neurodevelopment and Mental Health. Professor Howard discussed her work in improving the treatment of perinatal mental health problems, and Dr. Nosarti talked about her research on the long-term effects of prematurity on brain development and mental health.


Professor Ian Everall, Executive Dean, King’s IoPPN said: ‘The Institute is the best in the world for academic research in this area and our co-location with South London and Maudsley is globally unique.  The Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute is one of the largest clinical research facilities focusing on the brain from its very earliest stages of development through to end of life conditions.  We are honoured The Duchess of Cambridge has visited us today to find out more about our ground breaking work.’


Professor Carmine Pariante, King’s IoPPN added: ‘We are delighted to have been able to show The Duchess of Cambridge the breadth of our research and that of our colleagues in perinatal mental health, and to share our ambition to improve the lives of mothers with mental health issues and their babies.’

Bethlem Royal Hospital, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

The Duchess then visited the Mother and Baby Unit at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, where she was met by Dr. Matthew Patrick, Chief Executive of the Trust. The Mother and Baby Unit specialises in the treatment of antenatal and postnatal mental health illnesses including postnatal depression and post-partum psychosis.

Her Royal Highness visited the Sensory Room, where mothers engage in activities such as infant play and massage. The Duchess then visited the Nursery Room where she had a chance to join a group discussion with other mothers, before being shown to the Video Therapy room, where Dr. Seneviratne showed examples of video therapy work, including the beneficial outcomes.

Following this, The Duchess joined a group discussion with clinicians and professionals involved in the Trust’s perinatal mental health care, including community nurses, midwives and health visitors. Dr. Seneviratne described the integrated care pathway for women with perinatal mental health problems in South London and Maudsley services, from primary care, to secondary care in the community, to the Mother and Baby Unit.