RCPsych Registrar Dr Trudi Seneviratne OBE appointed to expert advisory group to The Princess of Wales on Early Childhood

Press release
25 January 2023

Our Registrar, Dr Trudi Seneviratne OBE, has been appointed to an expert Advisory Group that will support The Princess of Wales’ work promoting the importance of early childhood.

Registrar Trudi Seneviratne appointed to expert advisory group

Joining Dr Seneviratne meeting with Her Royal Highness for the first time at Windsor Castle today were experts from across academia, science and the early years sector.

The advisory group of eight will offer strategic advice to The Princess and provide oversight of the work of her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood. They will go on to support The Princess and the Centre as work is accelerated to promote the fundamental importance of the first five years of a child’s life.

The group will support the delivery of the Centre’s work in commissioning new research, learning from best practice in the UK and globally, and raising awareness of the extraordinary impact the first five years of life have on future outcomes. Advisory Group members were chosen for their deep expertise in a range of areas including neuroscience, psychology, perinatal psychiatry, early years services and policy development.

Several of those involved have already played a pivotal role in the work The Princess of Wales has been pursuing for more than a decade in this field, helping her to shape her work on the issue and adding to her determination to help change the way people think about early childhood.

Trudi Seneviratne outside Windsor CastleDr Trudi Seneviratne OBE

Dr Seneviratne has been Registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists since 2020, and has been a perinatal psychiatrist for more than 25 years (South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust), working across specialist community perinatal services to the acute inpatient service at the Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) at the Bethlem Royal Hospital. She has been involved in developing national standards for perinatal services and accredited numerous services across the UK, as well as being involved in education and many research projects over the years.

Trudi explained that she was “delighted” to have been appointed to the Advisory Group and is looking forward to working with the Centre. She will offer guidance on the importance of positive social and emotional development in children and on the areas of work where the Centre can have the biggest impact.

Dr Trudi Seneviratne, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist and Registrar of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:

“For humankind, our experience in the earliest years, lays the foundations for the rest of our lives. As a perinatal psychiatrist – I support the mental health of women during pregnancy and postnatally, as well as their partners and the developing baby. It is the ultimate preventative point to support the entire family unit, supporting biological, psychological, social and cultural factors that influence parental mental health and the child’s earliest experiences.

“The preconception period, and every day from conception matters for us all. The work of the Centre for Early Childhood is pivotal and in collaboration, is securing the future generations of children.”

Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of The Royal Foundation said:

"Working with such an eminent group of people is an absolute privilege. I know their advice and experience is hugely valued by The Princess, and the whole Centre for Early Childhood team, as we continue to drive awareness of, and action on, the transformative impact of the early years.

“The Advisory Group’s support in our key areas of research, collaboration and awareness raising will be invaluable and I look forward to working closely with them to make a difference for generations to come.”

The eight Advisory Group members are:

  • Dr Trudi Seneviratne OBE, Registrar at the Royal College of Psychiatrists

  • Professor Peter Fonagy OBE, Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences at UCL and Chief Executive of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families

  • Eamon McCrory, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology, University College London

  • Dr Alain Gregoire, Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist and President and Founder of the Maternal Mental Health Alliance

  • Ed Vainker OBE, co-founder of Reach Academy Feltham,

  • Carey Oppenheim, Project Lead at the Nuffield Foundation

  • Imran Hussain, Director of Policy and Campaigns for Action for Children

  • Beverley Barnett-Jones MBE, Associate Director at Nuffield Family Justice Observatory and Trustee at What Works in Children’s Social Care.

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