We're delighted to announce a new Special Interest Group (SIG) which will be focused on Digital Psychiatry. 

The SIG will primarily focus on four areas:

  • technology in clinical practice
  • research insights
  • educational opportunities and
  • community building. 

The SIG's work will enhance evidence-based leadership within the field of mental health and technology.  

Executive Committee

David Rigby is one of two co-chairs of the Digital SIG. He is an ST7 in General Adult and Older Adult Psychiatry currently working in Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Trust. He has a Postgraduate Diploma in Medical Education and used to be the Mentoring Lead for East and North East London NHS Foundation Trust.

Outside of work, David is a keen gamer and VR enthusiast. He is the co-founder of PsychTech, a yearly conference on the theme of technology and mental health.

Dr Romayne Gadelrab is one of two chairs of the Digital SIG. Romayne is an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, and a Clinical Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings College London. Romayne is interested in the effects of technology on our mental health.

Following her Maudsley psychiatry training, she studied Innovation at the Elisava School of Design, Barcelona and is keen to see the integration of new technologies in mental health. She also works as an honorary Doctor at the National Centre for Gaming Disorders with a special interest in problematic use of the internet and gaming. 

Alex is a Speciality Registrar in Forensic Psychiatry and the Founder and Director of the RCPsych Leadership and Management Fellow Scheme. He has been Chair of the Psychiatric Trainees' Committee 2018/19 and a National Medical Director's Clinical Fellow 2016/17.

Alex additionally holds a Master's in Leadership for the Health Professions and an Executive MBA, both with distinction, and was recognised as RCPsych North West Higher Trainee of the Year 2020.

Dr Mariana Pinto da Costa (MD, MSc, PhD) is a clinical academic with expertise in Digital Mental Health, Global Mental Health and Medical Education. In her doctoral research, she explored the views of different stakeholders (mental health professionals, volunteers and patients) about the potential of social relationships between people with severe mental illness and volunteers through different formats (face-to-face or using technology) in different European countries.

She developed a new digital volunteering intervention - the Phone Pal - that connects patients and volunteers in the community through smart-phones, which she tested in a trial. She was nominated by Columbia University as one of the Top 100 Innovative Women Leaders in Global Mental Health.

She also has clinical and research experience in Africa, where she was screening alcohol, smoking and other substances involvement, in primary and mental health care users in Luanda, while studying for the International Master on Mental Health Policy and Services at the New University of Lisbon supported by the WHO.

She is past president of the European Federation of Psychiatric trainees (EFPT), and has been the Chief Investigator and study manager of the Brain Drain Study, researching mobility experiences of psychiatric trainees in 33 European countries. 

Dr Bachlani is the Clinical Director for Priory Group Acute and PICU Network of Hospitals and an inpatient Consultant Psychiatrist. Asif is also the Hospital Medical Director for Priory Hospital Woking and Oxford Wellbeing Centre.

Asif has always had an interest in providing highest quality care for patients and has used ‘data’ in order to develop patient pathways in order to meet the needs and unmet needs of the local population. Asif has led on development of patient pathways including the NELFT Acute Care Pathway, North East London Transition Pathway, Physical Health pathway for people with psychosis and Kingston Personality Disorder Pathway.

Due to his interest in mental health outcomes, Asif was also the NHS London Co-Clinical Lead for Mental Health Outcomes for 2 years, between 2017-19 where he authored NHS London training modules on Introduction to HoNOS and How to analyse HoNOS. Asif has also held various clinical and managerial positions in NHS Trusts including Associate Medical Director, Trust Lead for Mental Health Outcomes and Chief Clinical Information Officer.

Asif passionately believes in the value of data for clinicians and organised the 1st ever clinician focused data events for the South London Partnership and the Pan-London benchmarking conference in 2018. Asif organised the inaugural RCPsych Better Data, Better Care conference in 2019 for the General Adult Faculty as well as a series of BDBC webinars and was the Chair of the organising committee for RCPsych 2021 conference.

George is an Academic Clinical Fellow at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and the IoPPN, King’s College London. He has a research interest in digital phenotyping, which he has previously investigated at Oxford University’s Department of Psychiatry, where he remains an Honorary Member.

He holds a Topol Digital Health Fellowship, providing healthcare professionals with training to lead digital health innovations. George has a keen interest in public engagement; he currently sits on the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Public Education Editorial Board and recently founded the Maudsley Digital Health Group to explore topics related to digital technologies applied to mental health.

Hello, welcome to the RCPsych Digital SIG website. A bit about me - I joined this SIG as a CT3 Psychiatry trainee, and will be sub-specialising in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Rather aptly, I first learnt about this SIG during 2021 - when the role of a ‘digitally literate’ healthcare service became more of a necessity than ever before. This was also particularly highlighted by the young demographic of ‘digital natives’ who I work with, many of whom will be accessing the healthcare services of tomorrow.

On the other hand, there has been much public discussion about the impact of rapidly expanding technological systems on human societies. In the mental healthcare system, this translates into potential for transforming the way in which treatments are delivered, innovating how services are constructed, and the subsequent influence this holds on the doctor-patient relationship. I hope that as a collective, we can give voice to this potential - and contribute to the ‘digitally literate’ healthcare service of tomorrow. 

I am a CT3 core psychiatry trainee at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and a Member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Before studying medicine I worked as a corporate lawyer in London, and I have an LLM postgraduate degree.

I’m interested in both digital innovation in psychiatry and how transformation of the digital world affects mental health. I am a trustee of Gaming the Mind, a charity aimed at promoting positive mental health in the video gaming community.

As Choose Psychiatry liaison for the Digital SIG I hope to enable medical students and junior doctors to explore and engage with aspects of digital psychiatry to inform their future career decisions.’

Digital SIG Launch event

The SIG had our launch event on 31 March on the theme of Digital Inclusion. We had almost 100 attendees live, but if you were not able to make it on the day, please watch a recording of the event. There are bookmarks for the times of each speaker if you just want to view an individual presentation.

We will be putting up some bitesize clips of the event in the future.


  1. Introduction to the Digital SIG: VR to telepsychiatry and everything in between Dr Romy Gad el Rab and Dr David Rigby (co-chairs of Digital SIG).

  2. How Citizens Online helps to ensure the switch to online doesn’t exclude people - Jenny Haskey CEO Citizens Online

  3. Is Tele-psychiatry here to stay? Sharing our learning - Professor Alka Ahuja MBE and Gemma Johns

  4. Connecting, Creating & Caring - Insights from the world of digital health innovation - Dr Lia Ali Clinical Advisor NHSx

Read more about plans for DPSIG

Read the Digital Psychiatry Special Interest Group proposal.

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry