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Photo of Dr Sarah H Bernard

Dr Sarah H Bernard

Job title Consultant Psychiatrist Child and Adolescent Intellectual Disability

Area of Expertise

  • Teaching/training: Dr Bernard has served on the examination subcommittee of the RCPsych and has chaired subgroups of this committee. She has developed a range of masterclasses on ID and related issues including ethics, assessment, multiagency working, transition and psychopharmacology. She was the lead for undergraduate training in CAMHS 2011-2015 and continues to teach A level students, medical students, psychiatry trainees and other disciplines. She is a champion for careers development in ID. Dr Bernard has coproduced teaching with a young adult with lived experience of ASD and mental health co-morbidities.
  • Leadership/Service development: Dr Bernard is Clinical Director CAMHS – SLP Provider Collaborative and is the LDA lead for the CAMHS SLP PC with responsibility for the tier 3.5/4 services across the 12 boroughs of South London, ensuring equity of services for young people. She oversees the four workstreams (tier 4 eating disorders, inpatient and bed management, complex case management, crisis care).
  • Safeguarding: Dr Bernard is the Trust named doctor for child safeguarding.
  • Research: Her research interests include rare chromosomal disorders, offending behaviours associated with learning disability, assessment of capacity and parents with learning disabilities. Previously, she was involved in studying the role of periconceptional vitamin supplementation in preventing neural tube defects.


Dr Bernard is a consultant psychiatrist with the Mental Health of Intellectual Disability team, a stream of SCAAND. Dr Bernard has extensive expertise in the assessment and management of children and young people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and co-morbid mental health or behavioural difficulties. She has a particular interest in rare disorders, including Prader Willi Syndrome and Neural Tube defects (Spina Bifida). She also has expertise in complex physical disabilities associated with ID. In addition she has expertise in the assessment of parents with ID, the MHA and MCA in relation to young people with ID.

Dr Bernard has been involved with the development of mental health services for children and young people with ID at a national and international level.

Dr Bernard has links with a selection of voluntary organizations, including the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, Unique, the Retts Society and the Prader Willi Syndrome Association.

Education and Training

Dr Bernard completed her undergraduate medical training at the University of Leicester in 1983, where she also obtained a Doctorate of Medicine in 1995. She trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital and then completed a higher training in the psychiatry of learning disability (ID), specialising in the mental health of child and adolescent learning disability (ID). She has been a consultant psychiatrist at the Michael Rutter Centre since 1994.She was appointed as clinical director for the CAMHS SLP in 2019.

  • MB ChB Leicester University 1983
  • MD Leicester University 1995
  • DRCOG Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists 1985
  • FRCPsych Royal College of Psychiatrists 1999



Module Author Mind-ed Behavioural disorders in LD– Royal College of Paediatrics on line publication/e learning revised 2020

Module Author Disability Matters. Mental Capacity Act - Royal College of Paediatrics e learning revised 2019

Module Author Disability Matters. Anxiety and Worry - Royal College of Paediatrics revised2019

Bernard S.H. 2007 Parents with learning disabilities – the assessment of parenting ability. Advances in Mental Health and Learning Disabilities 1,3, 14-18

Bernard S.H. & Turk J. (eds) Developing Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents with Learning Disabilities Gaskell 2009

Bernard S.H., Gratton S., Momcilovic N. 2010. The importance of family: a case report. Advances in mental Health of Learning Disabilities 4, 1, 17-19

Raghavan R., Bernard S.H.,McCarthy J. (Eds) Mental Health Needs of Children and Young People with Learning Disabilities. Pavilion 2011 (Second Edition under preparation – due for publication autumn 2019)

Bernard S.H. The Mental Health Needs of Children with Intellectual Disabilities (chapter) in Mental Health in Intellectual Disabilities. A Reader 4th Ed Holt G., Hardy S., Bouras N.(eds) Pavilion 2011

Bernard S. H. Forensic Issues in Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities in Community Settings (chapter) in Forensic Issues in Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities. Gralton E.(ed) Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2011

Bernard S.H. and O’Hara J. 2013 Needs of Parents with Intellectual Disabilities: An Ecological Perspective. CW 360 The Intersection of Child Welfare and Disability. 10-11

Krishna Menon, Raghavendra Baburaj, Sarah Bernard, (2012) "Use of restraint for the management of challenging behaviour in children with intellectual disabilities", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol. 6 Iss: 2, pp.62 – 75

Simonoff, E., Taylor, E., Baird, G., Bernard, S., Chadwick, O., Liang, H., Riemer, K., Sharma Pandey, S., Sharma, K., Wood, N., Kelly, J., Golaszewski, A., Kennedy, J., Rodney, L., West, N., Walwyn, R., Jichi, F. 2013 Randomized controlled double-blind trial of optimal dose methylphenidate in children and adolescents with severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and intellectual disability. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 54(5):527-35.

Glover G, Bernard S, Branford D, Holland A, Strydom A. (2014) Use of medication for challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disability BJPsych 205, 6-7

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