Meet the team
RCN Mental Health Adviser
Ian Hulatt is the Mental Health Adviser at the Royal College of Nursing. He has a UK remit and is responsible for advising on the RCN’s contribution to Mental Health Nursing policy. He supports the work of the four forums in mental health within the RCN, and liaises with individual RCN members who seek support in their work.
Prior to this role he was a lecturer in mental health nursing for seventeen years teaching both undergraduate and post graduate nurses. This latterly was focussed on the leading of a Thorn (psycho-social interventions) course.
Based primarily in Wales, Ian’s role involves much travel which affords the opportunity to encounter much good practice in the craft of mental health nursing.
Cris has worked as a mental health - and learning disability - nurse for over thirty years. He has occupied a wide range of clinical and managerial roles in various organisations. Cris was formerly the mental health adviser at the RCN and as such has worked closely with the mental health forum. He has subsequently been an elected - and then appointed - member of the mental health forum steering committee. Cris was appointed chair of the forum's steering committee in November 2011. Cris and all his colleagues on the steering committee are keen to have contact with the wider forum membership, to hear your issues, concerns and successes - and harness your interests and expertise in taking forum projects forward.
Forum committee members
Mark is a senior lecturer in mental health nursing at City University London, and was formerly clinical research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. His research and clinical interests include common mental disorders, care for long-term conditions, development and evaluation of clinician education, epidemiology and health services research, and he maintains a clinical role in primary care. Mark was a member of the NICE guideline development group for depression and chronic physical health problems, and has been editor of Nursing Minds, the shared newsletter for the RCN mental health forums.
Joy is Reader in Mental Health Nursing and leads the development of and provision for research in the Centre for Mental Health & Wellbeing within the School of Health. She has a background in forensic and acute inpatient mental health care. Joy has conducted extensive research into staff and patients' perspectives on aspects of risk and safety with a specific focus upon aggression, coercive practices and medication management. Her work and publications reflect this area of investigation.
Joy is particularly keen to work with service users and carers to understand the challenges they face when accessing care and their perspectives on therapuetic and non-therapeutic relationships. This largely relates to mental health but also includes areas of investigation across the life span including end of life care and dementia. Consequently service users and carers work with Joy and her team on a number of research projects.
Debbie McAulay is a Mental Health Nurse and currently works as Lead Nurse for Clinical and Practice Development at Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust. Her work involves providing clinical and practice development leadership and opportunities across the Trust with a particular focus on the empowerment of clinical staff in relation to development issues and innovation implementation, sharing best practice across the professional groups, inter-professional working, and clinical leadership. Through her involvement with the RCN Mental Health Forum, Deborah is keen to support and reinforce the valuable role of mental health nurses within the nursing community. Debbie has a particular interest in clinical risk with a focus on positive risk management and recovery principles.
Sharon Dennis is a Mental Health Management Consultant and has undertaken a variety of assignments in mental health provider or commissioning organisations. Prior to this she led the RCN South East Region as Regional Co-Director/Board Secretary.
As a clinician she specialised in acute inpatient care which included working as a family therapist. Sharon also held practice development, teaching and professional leadership roles before becoming Director of Nursing and Public Involvement. While a nurse director she secured a part-time national role as Clinical Speciality Adviser (Nursing) at the National Patient Safety Agency which included contributing to the development of the National Reporting and Learning System.
Sharon was a forum committee member in the 90s and is very pleased to have been selected for a second stint. She has a particular interest in risk assessment, management, and black and minority ethnic issues. Sharon was the first Guest Editor at the Nursing Standard and edited special issues celebrating Black History Month. The Black History Special Issues were both runner up and winner of the Race in the Media Award (Specialist Publications) under her editorship.
The Windrush Nurses and Beyond Foundation have named its Mental Health Nursing Award after Sharon Dennis.
Hannah Marriage qualified as a mental health nurse from City University, London, in August 2011. On qualifying, Hannah worked on a mental health intensive care unit in Nottingham.
As a student she held active roles within the RCN, as Student Information Officer and Student Member of the London Board. She also produced guidelines on effective care planning for transgendered patients within a mental health setting for the trust where she trained.
Hannah is now training to be a health visitor, though her passion for mental health remains, and she finds herself using her mental health skills regularly within her new role. Hannah also continues to work bank shifts within mental health wards.