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Mental health

RCN mental health representatives

The RCN Mental Health Programme works with the RCN Mental Health Forum Committee, RCN activists and clinical specialists.

RCN activists and clinical specialists often represent the RCN on national boards to ensure specific mental health nursing policy, practice and research expertise is appropriately profiled.  

Find out more about the RCN's Mental Health Forum committee.

You can also access the RCN subject matter experts and clinical specialists terms of reference (ratified May 2021). 

Simon Arday

Simon Arday

Expert Representative for Parity of Esteem

Simon is a registered mental health nurse who has spent most of his working life providing mental health care across the life course in diverse settings and communities, using various approaches. He has practiced clinically in primary care, CAMHS, acute psychiatric care and liaison psychiatry. He has also held several nursing education and workforce development roles. 

Throughout his career, Simon has actively sought novel and pioneering roles in an attempt to nurture his interests, raise the voice and profile of mental health nursing, and develop a unique pathway that challenged the traditional trajectory of a mental health nursing career. Throughout the last two years Simon has worked as a Specialist Renal Mental Health Nurse at King’s College Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Focusing on supporting the holistic needs of people with diagnosed with a severe mental illness and chronic kidney disease, Simon shaped and developed this role to provide care aligned to the four pillars of advanced clinical practice. This remains the only role of its kind in the country. He has recently been appointed Mental Health Network Manager at King’s with a focus on coordinating mental health initiatives across the organisation.

In 2018, Simon undertook a Darzi Fellowship. During this year, he focused on enhancing the psychological and physiological care of patients across South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and St George’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He led on the development and implementation of a reciprocal learning initiative for RMNs and RGNs, which incorporated workshop-based education and rotational shifts. This successful model has now been embedded across both organisations and expanded to multiple specialities and is part of a quality improvement programme that was shortlisted for a 2021 Nursing Times Award.

Simon joined the RCN as Expert Representative for Parity of Esteem in June 2021.

Twitter: @SimonArday

Alison Blofield

Alison Blofield

Expert Representative for Mental Health Act, Approved Clinician and Prescribing

Alison is a Nurse Consultant and Professional Lead for MH Nursing (Shropshire) in a an integrated trust – Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. An RMN since the mid 1980's and appointed as a Nurse Consultant in 2000 in Acute Care where she continues to practice in inpatient services. As an Approved Clinician and Prescriber she has Responsible Clinician status for a group of patients under the Mental Health Act undertaking the full range of statutory duties. Alison is passionate about leadership and developing skills of other nurses to optimise the contribution nursing care to patients admitted to hospital and reducing time away from home and families.

In addition to expert practice Alison has a key role in upholding the guiding principles of the MHA and ensuring patient choice in treatment. Ongoing objectives are to reduce restrictive interventions and improve the sexual safety of patients on wards. Twitter: @BlofieldAlison

Tim Carter

Dr Tim Carter

Expert Representative for Physical Activity in Mental Health

Tim Carter is an Assistant Professor in mental health based in the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham. Tim is a registered mental health nurse and nurse teacher, and a practising, accredited cognitive behavioural therapist. Tim teaches and leads modules across undergraduate/post graduate mental health nursing and post graduate cognitive behavioural therapy programmes. Tim also supervises PhD projects testing interventions to improve mental health. Tim’s research centres around understanding and evaluating the impact of physical activity on mental health, with a focus on anxiety and depression. Tim has published widely in this area, having led a randomised controlled trial testing physical activity as a treatment for depression in adolescents and authored several meta-analyses and reviews of physical activity interventions for depression and anxiety. Tim has also led and consulted on several community physical activity and mental health-based initiatives.

Carol Cooper

Expert Representative for BME Suicide Awareness, Equality, Diversity and Human Rights

Carol Cooper is the expert lead for Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Suicide Awareness, Equality, Diversity and Human Rights. Her varied career spans public health nursing, workforce development, government advisor, leadership consultant specialising in equitable leadership and international development. She is also the Regional Lead for the Chief Nursing Officer’s Black & Minority Ethnic Strategic Advisory Group (CNO BME SAG) for the Midland & East regions, working to enable equity in the NHS workforce and address matters of access, quality and disadvantage for BME staff and patients.

As an advocate of cultural safety, her work brings into the centre ground the risk of adopting a colour blind approach to health and social care when there are persistent and unwarranted variations in experiences and outcomes for some BME groups. Carol has been actively engaged in the implementation of the Workforce Race Equality Standard and creating a systemic approach to addressing racism in the workplace which is driven by data, expertise and equitable leadership to achieve cultural change.

Developing a health and social care observatory to monitor, track implement and report on the impact of policy and practice on the mental and physical health of BME populations is a development that Carol feels is a necessary step to achieving racial equity in service provision. Her contribution to the RCN Mental Health Forum brings cultural intelligence to the heart of policy making, serves to raise the profile of mental wellness in the workplace and achieve parity between physical and mental health. Twitter: @Carol17881670

Tim Coupland

Tim Coupland

 RCN advisor for Parity of Esteem

Tim is a registered mental health nurse with over 30 years’ experience of working in a variety of mental health care settings including community and inpatient services. 

In recent years, he has worked in senior nurse roles focusing on quality, governance & service development. He currently works in a self-employed capacity providing training, coaching, integrative counselling and consultancy to the NHS and Independent Sector. He is particularly interested in stakeholder work, organisational development, and innovative service planning.

He is passionate about promoting and focusing on the lived experience of those who use services, in particular tackling stigma and negative perceptions of what it means to have a mental health difficulty. He strongly believes that ‘co-production’ is central to the development of services and wants to see greater equality and roles for service users and carers in the planning of mental health services.

Tim has a Diploma in Psychosocial Interventions (Thorn Accred), a business degree, an MSc (Professional Practice in Health Sciences) and is a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Sarah Eales

Dr Sarah Eales

Expert Representative for Liaison Psychiatry

Sarah Eales qualified as a mental health nurse in 1994 and has worked within the field of Liaison Mental Health Care for twenty-one years, as a researcher, clinician and academic, completing a PhD on the Service User Experience of Liaison Mental Health Care in 2013. Sarah Edited the Liaison Nursing Competencies and leads on updates.

As a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at City University London and Bournemouth University Sarah has led Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing programmes and across field curriculum design. Recent research includes integrated care core competencies and health care professional resilience and retention. Sarah is currently the Lead Matron for Mental Health at University Southampton NHS Trust. Sarah is a member of the Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry Executive Committee and the Chair of the Psychiatric Liaison Accreditation Network Accreditation Committee. Twitter: @SarahEales

Catherine Gamble

Catherine Gamble

Expert Representative for Coproduction, Professional Leadership and Workforce Development 

Catherine's 3-year secondment to the RCN’s MH professional lead role supported a wide sphere of influence across the UK including policy, education and research development, supporting members, promoting professional networks and championing good practice, in areas such as Sexual Safety, MHA Review, Supervision, Suicide Awareness, Parity of Esteem, Mental Wellbeing and Public and Patient Involvement.  Her Head of Nursing Practice, Education and Research role at South West London and St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust supports this activity as she is responsible for driving clinical innovation and evaluating nursing workforce development initiatives. Catherine, chairs the UK Wide MHN Expert Advisory Group, is an Eileen Skellern laureate, a RCN Mental Health Nurse of the Year award holder and Royal College of Psychiatrists Team winner. Catherine has broad experience in coproduction, mental health and workforce development. Her clinical expertise lies in working with families and those with psychosis; she has held various NHS roles in acute and community psychiatric services and has published widely. Twitter @minifeet2

Mark Haddad

Dr Mark Haddad

Expert Representative for Reading Well books on prescription scheme 

Mark is a registered mental health and adult nurse, and currently a senior researcher and lecturer at City, University of London. Until 2014 he maintained a clinical specialist role in primary care mental health. Previously he was a clinical research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, and was awarded a Medical Research Council doctoral fellowship, which involved developing and evaluating training for district nurses’ roles in assessing and managing the mental health needs of their patients. His research has focused on extending the mental health knowledge and skills of generalist clinicians such as GPs and school nurses, as well as approaches to improve the physical health care provided by mental health staff. His specialist interests include depression, primary care mental health, and the relationship between physical and mental health. Mark has been an elected member of the RCN Mental Health Forum (2004-14), and was a member of the NICE guideline development group for depression and chronic physical illness (2008-9). He has represented the RCN on expert panels of the Reading Well books on prescription schemes for common mental health problems and for long term conditions. He is currently a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Mental Health Nursing and of the Nursing Standard Evidence & Practice advisory panel. He has more than 50 published peer-reviewed articles, and has recently written a book on depression. 

Dr. Euan Hails

Expert Representative for Children and Young People 

Euan is a Consultant Nurse and Professional Lead for Nursing in S-CAMHS Aneurin Bevan University Health Board and a Visiting Professor at the University of South Wales. Euan has extensive experience not only across child and adolescent mental health but also within the areas of education, research and development. He trained as a Thorn Nurse at the Institute of Psychiatry in the 90’s and as cognitive behavioural therapist at the University of London where he completed his Master’s degree. He is a qualified teacher having completed his PGCE at the University of Greenwich. Euan sits on the All Wales Senior Nurse Advisory Group, the Welsh CAMHS Board, the Welsh Nursing and Midwifery Board and the All Wales Senior Paediatric Nurse Forum where he represents S-CAMHS nursing.

Euan completed his Doctoral studies in 2012 at Cardiff University where he researched nurse’s ability to deliver CBT post targeted training. Euan is passionate about mental health nursing, developing the profession going forward and ensuring that children and young people, their families and carers receive a first class service in Wales. He is a Trustee and Vice Chair of the Welsh mental health charity Hafal, a Trustee of the Counselling in Prisons Network and a Fellow of the Bevan Commission Wales. He was recently shortlisted in the Mental Health Nursing Category at the RCNi 2020 Nurse Awards and continues to practice as a nurse and CB Psychotherapist in child and adolescent mental health services in Wales. 

Douglas Hamandishe

Douglas Hamandishe

Expert Representative for IT & Digital Development

Douglas has successfully delivered large scale IT Transformation projects within the healthcare sector and the private sector. Douglas is a practicing Mental Health Nurse with 12 years of experience working across inpatient and community settings, he has successfully combined this with his strong background in engineering and technology, this allows him to add that extra validity and clinical expertise to consultancy and engagement with clinicians and technical staff. This is underpinned by strong effective leadership and coaching approach to successfully drive through change.

Douglas is passionately driven to introduce technology to improve the working lives for Health care professionals by enabling them to deliver a better care for citizens. His passion for patient empowerment has resulted in a chapter on Collaboration between patients and carers being published in Mental Health & Psychiatry 3rd Edition which is used to train nurses on care planning. He also is an honorary lecturer at Kingston University delivery the Recovery focused Care planning module to pre-registration nurses. Twitter: @Influencer101

Ian Hamilton

Ian Hamilton

Expert Representative for safe prescribing and withdrawal management of prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal

Ian is associate professor of addiction at the University of York. He is a registered mental health nurse and has worked with people who have a mental health problem and problems with alcohol and other drugs. Ian now teaches and researches alcohol and drug issues, including trends in population drug use and how drugs impact specific groups such as women. He writes a column for the Independent about drugs and the impact substances have on individuals and society. Twitter: @ian_hamilton_

Liz Hughes

Dr Liz Hughes

Expert Representative for Sexual Safety

Liz is Professor of Mental Health at the School of Healthcare at University of Leeds. She is a mental health nurse who worked in acute inpatient services and substance use services. She has an academic career spanning almost 20 years and has worked in London, the Midlands, and is currently based in Yorkshire. She has a special interest in co morbidity in mental health and has worked with the Department of Health to develop workforce development tools to improve care for people with dual diagnosis (substance use and mental health). More recently she has developed an interest in the intersection between sex and mental health and has lead an NIHR study which evaluated sexual health promotion for people with serious mental illness. Liz has also undertaken studies exploring staff views and practice in relation to sex, sexuality and sexual violence in mental health care. She is currently leading a national study which seeks to examine how mental health needs are identified and addressed after attendance at sexual assault referral centres. Twitter: @LizHughesDD

Ada Hui

Dr Ada Hui

Expert Representative for Health and Social Justice

Ada is an Assistant Professor at the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham. She is a registered mental health nurse and nurse teacher who has worked in a variety of clinical settings, ranging from community rehabilitation through to high security hospitals. Ada completed her ESRC (+3) CASE funded PhD in Sociology and Social Policy, examining ‘The Uses of Coercive Measures within a High Security Hospital’. She has since been awarded the prestigious Mary Seacole Leadership Award in recognition of her work towards improving the care, experiences and outcomes of black and minority ethnic individuals who use mental health services.

Ada teaches and convenes modules across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes relating to research methods, ethics, policy and healthcare. Ada’s research interests centre on the studies of health and social justice. Using her interdisciplinary expertise in sociology and mental health, she specialises in working with marginalised communities on the themes of emotional labour, role, identity and belonging.

Ada is currently leading the ‘SHARE’ (Social Health and Recovery Experiences) study, examining the lived experiences of mental distress and recovery amongst Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals.  She is also working on ‘NEON’ (Narrative Experiences Online) as part of the Research into Recovery programme of work. She is continuing to build upon her publications whilst working towards influencing theory, education, policy and practice through her academic research interests and expertise. Twitter: @adahui1

Stephen Jones

RCN Professional Lead for Mental Health

A registered mental health nurse, Stephen embarked on an unconventional career pathway; a journey of practice and research development. Stephen shaped and commenced a bespoke HEE funded clinical-academic pathway, consolidating his practice at Oxleas NHS, while commencing a full-time PhD at the University of Greenwich. Stephen has practiced as a registered mental health nurse in the acute inpatient setting, recovery and rehabilitation service, crisis and home treatment and single point of access (assessment and triage). In its final write-up stage, Stephen’s doctoral research explored the influence senior nurse leaders have on mental health nurses towards implementing recovery-orientated practices.

In 2015, Stephen was named a Nursing Times Rising Star for his enthusiasm and commitment to the role of mental health nursing. He has a proven track record of leading change and promoting innovation; improving service-user outcomes, while developing and enriching the professional role of the mental health nurse. Stephen holds a keen interest in mental health workforce development, in particular the areas of career pathways, leadership, teamwork and multi-disciplinary person-centered collaborative working.

Stephen joined the RCN as professional lead for mental health in January 2021. Prior to this appointment, Stephen worked in the South London Mental Health and Community Partnership (SLP), driving the advancement of senior nursing careers across Oxleas, SLaM and SWLSTG. In his role at the RCN, Stephen’s priorities include: driving the UK-wide parity-of-esteem agenda, supporting the mental wellbeing of the nursing workforce, as well as supporting, developing and promoting the work of the RCN Mental Health Forum. Twitter: @SWJ_1

Read the nursing department's spotlight interview to find out more about Stephen.

Nicky Lambert

Nicky Lambert

Expert Representative for Women’s Wellbeing, Mental Health and Menopause

Nicky is an Associate Professor (Practice) at Middlesex University, where she is Director of Teaching and Learning for Mental Health and Social Work. She is also a co-director of the Centre for Coproduction in Mental Health and Social Care. Nicky is a Senior Teaching Fellow (SFHEA) and writes for a range of publications. She is registered as a Specialist Practitioner (NMC) and has been a mental health nurse for 20 years, working as a practice development nurse, ward manager and matron. Over that time she has worked across a range of mental health services both in the UK and internationally, supporting staff and practice development in acute and mental health trusts, councils, businesses and charities. She is also a Trustee for The Bridge and a co-founder of #mhTV.

Nicky has a professional Twitter feed: @niadla and is keen that all people with and interest in mental health engage together as a community to support good practice and challenge discrimination. She has teaching and research interests in women's health and wellbeing, co-production, social media and health education.

Gary Lamph 2

Dr Gary Lamph

Expert Representative in Personality Disorder and Nursing Psychological Interventions

Gary is a Registered Mental Health Nurse who holds the position of Senior Research Fellow / Programme Director for the Regional Offender Personality Disorder Higher Education Programme based at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Gary is also a practising BABCP accredited Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist. Gary has over 20 years mental health nursing experience. Gary has worked in a range of mental health services often following new service development in line with the policy led modernisation of mental health services, including forensic inpatients, crisis resolution and home treatment, early intervention in psychosis, psychological therapies service’s both secondary care and Primary Care IAPT and personality disorder services.

In 2011 Gary won the National Nursing Times Award in Mental Health for leading on the development of the Wigan Multi-Agency Personality Disorder Strategy, during this time he was employed as an Advanced Practitioner in Personality Disorder. He has a special interest in common mental health disorders and co-morbid complexity. He is the previous secretary of the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder and now holds office as the Communications Officer. Gary has a passion to grow opportunities for nursing delivered psychological interventions.

Gary has completed a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) funded Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Manchester. His PhD thesis was titled 'Enhancing understanding of the experience of people with common mental health disorders and co-morbid personality traits who present to primary care IAPT services'. Gary has been an Expert Representative of the RCN for over 3 years and recently represented the RCN on the steering group of the National Clinical Audit of Anxiety and Depression (NCAAD) Twitter: @gazlamph

Rebecca Lingard

Rebecca Lingard

Expert Representative for Reducing Restraint and Restrictive Practice 

Rebecca Lingard has been in the caring profession for over 25 years, starting her career as a care assistant on a dementia unit. Qualifying as a registered Mental Health Nurse in 2003, she spent four years working on a busy inner London acute admissions unit. Rebecca has a special interest in psychiatric intensive care, specifically women's services, and has worked in this care setting for over 10 years. Working as a Matron for East London Foundation NHS Trust, Rebecca is now responsible for Women’s Acute Services in Tower Hamlets and was also the Interim Operational Manager for the London Trial Site for the Liaison and Diversion Service (Criminal Justice Mental Health Team), helping to establish the service before handing over to a substantive operational lead. Rebecca is also an Honorary Lecturer at City University, and a Clinical MAPA Instructor, teaching clinicians therapeutic de-escalation techniques and therapeutic holding skills.

In 2017 Rebecca along with Chris Dzikit became contributing Authors for ‘Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing:  The Craft of Caring’, writing the chapter on Psychiatric Intensive Care.

Rebecca has an MSc in Inter Professional practice completing a research project on patient’s experiences of being nursed in different hospital environments. Rebecca won Employee of the Year in 2014 for ELFT.

Hannah MacDonald

Expert Representative for Lived Experience

Hannah trained as a general adult nurse at King's College, London and started her career on a specialist HIV ward at Chelsea and Westminster hospital. 

This promising start to nursing was to be cut short when Hannah was sectioned under the mental health act the morning before she was to start a late shift. Hannah is very open about her lived experience in the mental health system and she has done talks at various universities and conferences to both nursing and occupational therapy students.

After 12 years out of nursing Hannah has just returned and is now working at a hospice in London.  

Hannah is passionate about how nurses in both physical and mental health settings gaining a deeper understanding of how physical and mental health is intrinsically linked and the importance of all nurses caring for both. She is keen to see nursing embrace the role of facilitating and supporting co-production and peer support in all areas of nursing but would also love to see nursing peer support groups set up for nurses; to enable a safe space to be created where nurses can share their struggles together. Twitter: @Hannahe07786036

Hear about my story of lived experience: I've been given a second chance at nursing

Bertha Matunge

Bertha Matunge

Expert Representative for Practice Development

Bertha is a Registered Mental Health Nurse, Registered Non- Medical Prescriber and she is trained in Behavioral Family Therapy. She started her working career as a secondary school teacher and after 10 years made the bold decision to change careers and train as a mental health nurse at Birmingham City University qualifying in 2006. Her first job in mental health nursing was in working age acute inpatient wards before moving to community nursing where she was for 6 years after which she moved to Nursing Development in 2016. With a background in Teaching she is able to combine this with her Clinical expertise to contribute towards practice development at Surrey and Borders Partnership Foundation Trust where she is the Lead Nurse for Quality and Practice.

She is passionate about Nurse Education and besides supporting student nurse experience and preceptorship in her Trust she also contributes on mental health nursing modules at Kingston University as a visiting lecturer clinician. She has been involved in projects looking at the impact of nursing development programmes on recruitment and retention and has had the opportunity to share her work at conferences. She strongly believes that all nurses have different skills and strengths to contribute towards the improvement of the quality of care provided to patients and their loved ones and to support each other to maintain good health and wellbeing. She is also very passionate about the development of BAME nursing leadership and provides mentorship to BAME nurses

She is currently doing an MSc in Leadership and Management in Health. Twitter: @Bmat111

Clare McAdam

Clare McAdam

Expert Representative for Perinatal Mental Health

Clare is a registered mental health nurse with 35 years’ experience; she has worked in adult inpatient, community mental health & crisis teams gathering a varied set of skills in therapeutic interventions & clinical leadership. More recently over the last 10 years she has worked in perinatal mental health in Devon, in collaboration with Dr Jo Black Perinatal Psychiatrist she set up & developed the Devon Partnership Trust Community Perinatal Service.

Specialising in perinatal mental health has enabled Clare as a nursing leader to grow a service from a small team to now four community perinatal teams offering NICE concordant care & treatment, and a new 8 bedded mother & baby unit for women living in Devon, Cornwall & Somerset. She has a longstanding passion to improve outcomes for women & families where there are mental health challenges.

In her additional roles over the last 3 years, Clare has been involved as a nursing representative with the perinatal mental health NHSE Clinical Reference Group. The group’s work is to seek parity in the delivery of perinatal mental health care across England with an agreed suite of outcome measures. Working alongside women with lived experience has been an essential component in all aspects of the clinical reference groups & service development. She was also the Perinatal & Infant Mental Health Clinical Lead for the NHS Southwest Clinical Network in 2019/20. She is currently Deputy Director of Nursing at Devon Partnership Trust whilst still connected to all things perinatal mental health. Twitter: @McAdamClare

Jennifer Oates

Dr Jennifer Oates

Expert Representative for Nurse Education

Jenny is a lecturer in mental health at the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care at King's College London. Her clinical background is in liaison psychiatry and community mental health. Her PhD thesis was on the mental health and wellbeing of nurses. Her research and teaching interests are: management of suicide and self harm; nursing and midwifery workforce wellbeing; nursing professional role development.

Jenny has been an independent member of the governing body of Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group since 2012, contributing to the governance and quality surveillance of health and care services in the city. She has been a Specialist Adviser and Mental Health Act Reviewer with the Care Quality Commission. She was previously a Mental Health Nursing Adviser and Fitness to Practice panel member at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Annessa Rebair, RCN Council member representing the Northern region

Dr Annessa Rebair

RCN Advisor for Suicide Prevention, Coaching and Personal Development

Annessa has 28 years’ combined experience working in mental health nursing and in nurse education. Annessa is a senior lecturer, coach and academic lead for mental health at Northumbria University. She enjoys supporting practice development and coproduction within Trusts and the university. Her subject specialities include suicide, coaching, personal development, humanistic care, and spirituality.

Annessa has represented the RCN at Council and at various national groups for suicide including the National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group and was elected to the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. Annessa was a key instigator and contributor to ensuring suicide awareness was identified as a competency for all student nurses and included in NMC standards. She was also a Trustee for the charity Papyrus (prevention of young suicide) and is now a Trustee and teacher with the Teen Yoga Foundation.

Annessa is involved in research about suicide with the ambulance service and with veterans. Her Professional Doctorate was entitled: Meeting Spaces: crafting conversations about suicide in pre-registration nurse education; it is concerned with the co-construction of meaningful encounters in health contexts. @annessarebair

Billy Ridler

Billy Ridler

Advisor for pre-registration nurse education in Scotland

Billy has worked within health and social care for almost 15 years and has been a registered Mental Health Nurse since 2013. Billy is currently a Course Leader and Practice Education Lecturer at Robert Gordon University and maintains clinical roles within the local NHS Board and a third sector care organisation. 

Prior to this role Billy worked within inpatient mental health services and was an Early Clinical Career Fellow at NHS Education for Scotland. Billy has undertaken a Master of Science degree in Nursing, winning the Dr Alice Kiger Research Prize for his dissertation work that explored non-medical within mental health nursing practice. He has also completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning Teaching and Assessment and is a registered Nurse Teacher with the Nursing and Midwifery Council and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Billy's interests include pre-registration nurse education, humanist approaches to health, social care and education and the history of health and healthcare.   

Jacqueline Sin

Dr Jacqueline Sin

Expert Representative for NICE Guidance 

Jacqueline is a mental health nurse and health services researcher. From mid-2020, she joined City, University of London as Professor of Mental Health Nursing. Prior to that, she held a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) post-doctoral research fellowship based at St George’s, University of London, and worked as a clinical academic at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and University of Reading.

Jacqueline’s clinical and research interests focus on understanding the needs and experiences of individuals affected by psychosis and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (as much as other mental health conditions), and those of their family carers and siblings, so to developing and evaluating psychosocial interventions - delivered via individual, group-based, and e-health medium - to enhance their mental health and wellbeing.

She just completed a nationwide trial of an online multi-component resource for carers supporting a loved one affected by psychosis (see COPe-support). Jacqueline is an active Cochrane review author and writes extensively on the aforementioned topics. She served as a member of the NICE Guideline Development Group for psychosis and schizophrenia (2007-2010).

Oliver Soriano

Oliver Soriano

Expert Representative for older adult mental health

Hi, I’m Oliver Soriano, Head of Nursing and Quality for Psychological Medicine and Older Adults Directorate of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. I lead and provide overall nursing and quality standards across our older adult services, both inpatient and community teams, as well as Memory Services and Care Home Intervention Teams. I also provide nursing leadership across a variety of services including National Specialist Services for Neuropsychiatry, Mother and Baby Unit, Eating Disorder Unit, Anxiety Disorder services both inpatient, community, day care and outpatient teams.

I’m from the Philippines and have been working in the NHS for the past 23 years and have been in the nursing profession for the past 29 years.

I’m a member of the national BME Male Nurses Network as well as on our Trust’s BME Network and our LGBTQ network. I’m a board member of the Kings Global Health Partnership (KGHP). This has given me the opportunity to visit Somaliland (2015) and Zambia (2020) in scoping the need for mental health provision within their healthcare system.

I’m currently the interim Chairperson/President of the Philippine Nurses Association UK (PNAUK) and an advisory board member for the charity organisation Filipino Unite (FU). Both organisations vision and mission are to provide help and support to the Philippine nursing workforce and the wider Filipino community. Twitter: @GoalsOlivers

Suzie Southey

Suzie Southey

Expert Advisor for Emergency & Urgent Out of Hours Care

Suzie has been a registered nurse for over 30 years. She is currently a Consultant Nurse in Urgent Primary Care and Dementia care, with a focus on frailty, dementia, mental health, and palliative care. Prior to that Suzie worked for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust for 18 months as the Lead/Consultant Nurse for Urgent Care, and mental health.

Suzie has facilitated several collaborative working events with blue light and mental health partners; sharing and encouraging innovative ways of working together to improve mental health care and services. Suzie has 18 years’ experience as a Consultant Nurse across specialties from critical care services through to primary care. She has specialised in urgent and out of hours care, trauma care, palliative care, mental health, frailty and dementia. Suzie’s qualifications extend across the emergency and mental health care specialism.

The Dennis group

The Dennis Group

Formed in the name of Sharon Dennis (1963-2013) UK’s 1st BME Director of Mental Health Nursing and RCN South East Regional Director (2004-2009). This group, consisting of BME MH RCN activists and those with lived experience of using MH services, are working with the MH Forum and MHN Expert Representatives to ensure equality and inclusion is profiled in mental health policy, practice, research and leadership. Twitter: @TheDennisGroup1
Dr James Turner

Dr James (Jim) Turner

Expert Representative for Therapeutic Interventions 

Jim, Professional Lead Mental Health Nursing/Visiting Professor Suzhou College, China Department of Nursing and Midwifery/College of Health and Life Sciences Sheffield Hallam University.

Jim has been a MHN since 1985, and has worked in a number of inpatient and community clinical settings. He has used audit, research and best practice & lead services to improve standards in acute admissions and community care.

As an academic he is the Vice Chair of MHNAUK and leads a complex portfolio as part of Sheffield Hallam University's Nursing and Midwifery department. He has been nominated and awarded University Inspirational teacher in 2012 and Faculty Inspirational teacher in 2013.

As a nurse and therapist, Jim has extensive experience, facilitating clinics in the NHS for specific topics using Cognitive Analytic Therapy as a model. He remains clinically active as a CAT Practitioner, alongside having training and experience in other interpersonal therapies; Humanistic counselling; Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; Group Analysis; and Interactional Dynamic psychotherapy.

Alison van Laar

Expert Representative for Advanced Clinical Practice

Alison qualified as an RMN in 1992 at the Maudsley Hospital in London and after working in various clinical areas following qualification, including seven years as a CPN in London, she moved to the West of Ireland. There she set up the Psychiatric Liaison service in a large teaching hospital and returned to the UK in 2018 following a fifteen year career in Liaison Psychiatry.  The last five years were spent working in an Advanced Nurse Practitioner role in Galway.

She was the Chair of the West of Ireland ANP Forum which brought together all the qualified and trainee Advanced Nurses and Midwives across the region in order to provide support and also deliver ongoing CPD to the group.  It recognised the need to encourage and mentor trainee and qualified ANP’s in the workplace. She is keen to look at setting up a similar forum in the UK.

Alison has spoken at conference about the role and the benefits for patients and services when Advanced Practice Nurses are in the workplace and is committed to promoting Advanced Practice across all disciplines. Since commencing her new post as the Associate Director for MH & LD care in Somerset, she is looking at developing innovative roles for staff across the Trust. She is a passionate advocate for advancing nursing practice, and welcomes the new stringent requirements for registration.  This will enable the practitioner to be recognised as a specialist expert across the services and to be able to make a significant contribution to improving patient care.

Deborah Watkins

Dr Deborah Watkins

Expert Representative for Spirituality and Wellbeing

Deborah has a varied mental health career portfolio in clinical, educational and public health settings. As a registered mental health nurse, teacher and psychotherapeutic counsellor she has worked in partnership with people who have a range of lived mental health experience, promoting recovery, leading services and developing training. Career achievements include Head of Mental Health Promotion (2018-2020) South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, Professional Lead Mental Health Nursing (2008 - 2018) University of Greenwich and Clinical Leader Lambeth Case Management Team (1998-2002) South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.

She has been a design partner for key events promoting mental health education including a Health and Social Care Conference in partnership with Oxleas NHS Trust (2018), and the Inaugural National Mental Health Student Nurse Conference (2015). Her counselling practice, includes working with domestic violence, addictions, early trauma and spiritual issues. She leads a counselling and wellbeing network in the Rochester Diocese of the Church of England

Her key academic achievement is her doctoral study of Spirituality and Mental Health (2017) that identified relational engagement with whole persons, body, mind and soul at the heart of compassionate mental health nursing and proposed a framework for identifying bridging experiences and spaces of spiritual mutuality in recovery.

Deborah is passionate to develop an authentic public mental health agenda that includes a strong nursing voice, celebrates lived experiences and critically examines the impact of power and exclusion. She is keen to promote spiritually healthy habits and conversations that celebrate difference, discover commonalities, live well to values and meaningfully represent individuals and communities in shaping wellbeing in self and others. Twitter: @DeborahWakins

Adrian Owen Williams

Expert representative for Non-medical Prescribing in Children and Young People, Trauma, ADHD and Attachment Disorder

(MEd, PGDip (Counselling and Psychotherapy), Independent Non-Medical Prescriber, RMN, EMDR Therapist, 3Di Assessor Autism Independent) 

Adrian is originally from Anglesey and, as a second language, speaks fluent Welsh. As a Mental Health Nurse Consultant Adrian has worked in Adult Acute, Psychiatric Intensive Care, Youth Offending Services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Developmental Paediatrics. He has been the Lead Practitioner for ADHD & ASD at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Currently he works in both private and NHS sectors working as a specialist in treating neurodevelopmental disorders, a qualified EMDR Therapist for both adults and children, a 3Di Autistic Spectrum Assessor, and an Independent Non-Medical Prescriber V300 in developmental paediatrics and psychiatry. He has extensive experience in ADHD treatment optimization through medication. Using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Rehabilitation) he treats those with trauma, anxiety, performance anxiety, phobias and tic disorders/Tourette’s Syndrome with Habit Reversal Therapy. Through Psychodynamic Counselling he also treats depression, stress, low self-esteem, and panic attacks. 

He published widely on trauma, ADHD and Attachment Disorder. He has spoken at many UK and international conferences and has chaired a European Mental Health Nurses Conference. He has sat on conference scientific committees and a number of pharmaceutical advisory boards. He has responded on behalf of the RCN on several NICE Guidelines including ADHD and ASD. He is also an assessor for therapeutic use exemption for sports and athletics, including professional footballers.

Page last updated - 17/04/2022