UCL News


Spotlight on... Professor Anthony David

26 August 2021

This week we meet Professor Anthony David, Director of the UCL Institute of Mental Health. Here, he chats to us about work, football, and how to become affiliated with the Institute if you're working in mental health at UCL.

Professor Anthony David

What is your role and what does it involve?

I am Director of the UCL Institute of Mental Health (IoMH). It’s a virtual institute and brings together all of our local academics, clinicians and other stakeholders interested in mental health research – psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, epidemiology – etc., to make sure we are learning from each other, making sure the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and that ultimately, we advance our understanding of mental disorders.

How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?

I have been at UCL for nearly three years. Before that I was Vice-Dean for psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences, King’s College London.

What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

The IoMH wasn’t my idea but I am immensely proud to be its inaugural Director. Last summer I wanted to put the IoMH on the map by holding an international conference covering all the latest developments across the field of mental health. Then COVID-19 came along so we switched to holding the conference virtually – an unusual idea at the time. We had nearly 1,000 people join us from around the world – far more than could have attended in person.

Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?

We are offering ‘affiliation’ with the IoMH to anyone at UCL or our partner institutions and I want as many people to join as possible. This will strengthen the notion that we are a virtual institute and will lead to all kinds of synergies, new initiatives, and sharing of ideas and practice.

What is your favourite album, film and novel?

  • River, a compilation of Joni Mitchell songs arranged and played by Herbie Hancock and band.
  • Local Hero directed by Bill Forsyth. Savvy Scots locals pitted against dreamy romantic Americans. Beautifully observed.
  • The Heart Broke In by James Meek. A family saga that takes in modern morality, recent British history and the politics of science.

What would you tell your younger self?

It gets worse.

What would it surprise people to know about you?

I play regular 11-a-side football. You might not be surprised at how bad I am.

What is your favourite place?

Sitting on our balcony on the River Exe Estuary watching the tide going in and out.