UCL News


Professor Peter Fonagy appointed to independent panel on mental health

6 August 2021

Pioneering UCL psychologist, Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, has been appointed as a mental health specialist member on a UK Parliament Expert Panel.

Peter Fonagy

The Health and Social Care Committee has commissioned its Expert Panel to evaluate the Government’s progress against its pledges to improve mental health services in England. They have invited Professor Fonagy and three other leading mental health specialists to play a key role in evaluating and shaping the country’s mental health policy.

The Expert Panel has been chaired by Professor Dame Jane Dacre (UCL Medical School) since 2020.

Professor Fonagy, Head of the UCL Division of Psychology & Language Sciences, has received a number of lifetime achievement awards for his pioneering work in psychology, and was the first UK recipient of the Wiley Prize of the British Academy for Outstanding Achievements in Psychology by an international scholar in 2015. He has previously held numerous national leadership positions to guide development of mental health policies, particularly in support of children’s wellbeing. He is also Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

Professor Fonagy studies the development and neurobiology of mental health conditions and conduct problems, and develops psychosocial treatments such as a group intervention for aggression and a project working alongside disadvantaged communities to improve adolescent mental health. He is also leading UCL’s component of a nationwide partnership bringing together universities and the NHS, that is building a closer relationship with local mental health services to improve support for students.

Professor Alan Thompson, Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences, said: “A huge congratulations to Professor Fonagy on his new appointment. This really emphasises his key national role in and major contribution to mental health. It also acknowledges UCL’s strengths and major contribution to the field. This appointment is an important next step in ensuring we (UCL) continue to drive the mental health agenda – both in London and nationally – and for our students and our community.”

Professor Fonagy said: “Mental health disorders are a leading cause of disability in the UK. The focus of the Health Select Committee of successive governments' performance in this area is most welcome, both to celebrate undoubted successes and to draw attention to areas where further investment and effort is needed. Approaching this question in a scientific way based on clinical and research evidence is also to be greatly welcomed as a significant step towards evidence based policy making.”

UCL is committed to making mental health a university-wide priority and was recently among the first universities to join the University Mental Health Charter Programme, launched by the UK’s student mental health charity, Student Minds.


Media contact

Chris Lane

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9222

Email: chris.lane [at] ucl.ac.uk