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Mental health

RCN mental health representatives

The role of the RCN's Professional Lead for Mental Health works with the RCN Mental Health Forum Committee, RCN activists and clinical specialists.

The Professional Lead will 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 Professional Lead for Mental Health, Catherine Gamble, the RCN's Mental Health Forum committee, RCN activists and clinical specialists here.

Catherine Gamble

Catherine Gamble

RCN Professional Lead for Mental Health and Head of Nursing Practice, Education and Research, South West London and St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust 

Catherine's role involves providing evidence for policy makers, commissioners and providers, whilst ensuring the RCN influences and supports the mental health nursing workforce to face new challenges in many specialist and diverse areas of nursing practice, research, education and management. Working across the UK, the role has a wide sphere of influence, covering a range of activities – namely supporting members, promoting professional networks and sharing good practice. Her NHS Trust role supports this activity as she is responsible for driving clinical innovation and evaluating nursing workforce development initiatives. Catherine is an Eileen Skellern laureate and Royal College of Nursing Mental Health Nurse of the Year award holder and Royal College of Psychiatrists Team winner. Catherine has broad experience in coproduction and professional development work. Her clinical expertise lies in working with families and those with psychosis; she has held various NHS roles in acute and community psychiatric services, has published extensively and is an elected member of the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network board. Catherine works for the RCN three days/week.

Tim Coupland

Tim Coupland

RCN Programme Lead for Parity of Esteem 

Tim is a registered mental health nurse with over 25 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. Tim has been involved with the RCN for 15 years, initially as a steward, then taking a more active role on staff side in his own organisation. Between 2011-2013 he sat on RCN Council for the South West Region, England – this included work as part of the Professional Nurse Advisory Committee and Governance Committee. He currently sits on the Steering Committee for the RCN Mental Health Forum.

He currently works in a self-employed capacity providing training, coaching 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), holds a business degree and has a number of other professional qualifications. He is currently completing empirical work as part of an MSc programme on the role of human factors in completed suicide.  

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.

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.

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 seventeen years, as a researcher, clinician and academic, completing a PhD on the Service User Experience of Liaison Mental Health Care in 2013. As an active member of the London Wide Liaison Nurses Special Interest Group Sarah was part of the group which developed the Liaison Nursing Competencies and led the 2014 update. As a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at City University London Sarah was the Programme Manager for the Pre-registration Mental Health Nursing programme for six years. She joined the academic staff at Bournemouth University on 2014 as a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing and is the current Pre-registration Programme Lead; teaching both pre-and post-registration courses. Her recent research focus has been integrated care core competencies and she is currently involved in research about nursing resilience and retention. Sarah is a member of the Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry Executive Committee and the Psychiatric Liaison Accreditation Network Accreditation Committee. 

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. 

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 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.

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.

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. 

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.

Nicky Lambert

Nicky Lambert

Expert Representative for Menopause and Mental Health

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 West Hampstead Women's centre. 

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, physical and mental health, co-production, social media and health education.

Gary Lamph 2

Dr Gary Lamph

Expert Representative in Personality Disorder and for the National Clinical Audit of Anxiety and Depression 

Gary is a Senior Research Fellow based at the University of Central Lancashire and is a Registered Mental Health Nurse. 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 current secretary of the British and Irish Group for the Study of Personality Disorder.

Gary has completed a National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) funded Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship at the University of Manchester. His PhD thesis looks at 'Enhancing understanding of the experience of people with common mental health disorders and co-morbid personality traits who present to primary care IAPT services'.

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.

Bertha Matunge

Bertha Matunge

Expert Representative for Community & Diversity  

Bertha’s Clinical Background is Registered Mental Health Nurse and Registered Non- Medical Prescriber and she is also trained in Behavioural Family Therapy. She started her career in working age acute inpatient wards before moving to community nursing where she was for many years. With a background in Teaching she is able to combine this with her Clinical expertise to contribute towards Nurse Education at South West London and St Georges Mental Health Trust where she is a Senior Development Nurse in the Nursing Development Team. Her role includes being Trust Lead for Non-medical Prescribing, NMC Revalidation, the In house Preceptorship Programme and Implementation lead for the Trusts’ Nursing Framework which is aligned to the National Framework Leading Change Adding Value. Along with this she is part of the Trusts Supervision Training Team and the Family Intervention Training Team (FITT). She is also currently the Trusts Capital Nurse Ambassador and working on a project to improve retention and decrease turnover of the registered Nursing Staff.

She is passionate about Nurse Education and 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 mentors nurses on the Trusts’ BAME Leadership programme.

She is currently doing an MSc in Leadership and Management in Health.

Jennifer Oates

Dr Jennifer Oates

Expert Representative for Suicide 

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).

Peter Refael Phillips

Dr Peter Phillips

Expert Representative for Substance Misuse/Dual Diagnosis

Peter was senior lecturer in addiction at City University London and Honorary Research Fellow at University College London. Peter trained as a mental health nurse in Leeds (1988-91) and after qualifying, worked in the Alcohol Unit at the Maudsley Hospital, and later in other specialist mental health, drug and alcohol and harm reduction services in London. He worked as a dual diagnosis nurse specialist in East London, prior to obtaining a research fellowship at UCL medical school in 1998, where he completed a PhD on 'the motivations for, and context of drug use amongst the mentally ill'. In 2003, Peter received a Band Trust scholarship to investigate (cultural aspects of) dual diagnosis in Northern India. During his period at UCL, Peter maintained a clinical role with Camden & Islington NHS Mental Health Services, where he implemented and later evaluated interventions to reduce drug related deaths. Peter is a proponent of harm reduction approaches to drug and alcohol problems. He is a member of several addiction and mental health journal editorial reviews.

Jacqueline Sin

Dr Jacqueline Sin

Expert Representative for NICE Guidance 

Jacqueline is a mental health nurse and health services researcher. Currently, she holds a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) post-doctoral research fellowship, based at St George’s, University of London, working on a study to develop and evaluate an online multi-component resource for carers supporting a loved one affected by psychosis, see: COPe-support. She also works part-time in University of Reading and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as a clinician-academic.

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. Clinically, she works as a Consultant Nurse Therapist at the Berkshire Traumatic Stress Service, specialising in the assessment and treatment for people with complex presentation of PTSD. 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).

Norman Young

Norman Young

Expert Representative for the Vital Interventions for Psychosis project

Norman Young is a Nurse Consultant with Cardiff and Vale UHB and a Senior Associate Lecturer with Cardiff University. Norman is the Clinical Lead for Headroom the Early Intervention for psychosis service in Cardiff and the Vale. Norman started Mental Health Nursing in 1991, working principally in community settings and working delivering evidence-based interventions to people with psychosis and their families. He subsequently took on joint appointments with Cardiff University and worked to deliver the first Thorn course in Wales and Later Masters courses in Advanced Nursing Practice.

He has extensive experience in service improvement and service evaluation of acute adult inpatient mental health care and community services and is a founding cohort participant in the Health Foundation’s Q Initiative. He has represented the RCN on many projects such as the accreditation programmes run through the Royal College of Psychiatrists of which he is currently the Chair of ACOHMS accreditation committee and with NICE where he is a expert topic advisor on psychosis and schizophrenia. Norman researches and publishes on nursing and nursing practice in inpatient and community settings.

The VIP Project: Vital Interventions for Psychosis

The process of setting research priorities needs to reflect the concerns of the public and patients. The VIP Project aims to do this in the field of psychosis by consulting with people with psychosis, their families and topic experts to collaborate on identifying the most important issues for research in this area.

Early intervention in psychosis has been a growing research area and there is now greater understanding than ever before of how illness develops and its impact. There is also growing evidence for new and innovative interventions. Many untested areas of practice remain. By conducting further research that is important and meaningful to the people who will use it, we hope to impact research at all stages from funding and administration to implementation.

Page last updated - 24/05/2019