I am a nurse by background and have worked in academia since 1995 having been made a professor in 2011.
My overarching focus and reputation has been built upon conducting and promoting research excellence in the field of Mental health, Risk and Social injustice. This includes the promotion of therapeutic and trauma informed approaches in acute mental health inpatient, forensic and criminal justice services (including the prison and police service). I am a nurse by background and have worked in academia since 1995 having been made a professor in 2011. I have been fortunate enough to work with teams who have secured NIHR CLARHC funding to tackle mental health inequalities and I have led on a number of successful grants from the Health Foundation, MOJ, DH and YJB to minimise the use of oppressive approaches. A Horizon 2020 ITN bid has been submitted for €4.5m to develop an international, interdisciplinary training network for 14 fully funded PhD studentships researching the area of anti-coercion with vulnerable mental health patients and their environments. Additionally, we are waiting on the outcome of a submission to the ESRC on a project related to domestic homicide reviews of which there is a high incidence of mental health problems in both perpetrators and victims. Many of these areas will complement the work in the nursing department who have expertise in addictive behaviours, pedagogy, dementia care, global health and service user engagement and will allow for further interdisciplinary working with departments such as social work and psychology within the faculty and other faculties such humanities.
Research into mental health is a priority area for funding and is high on the agenda of Public Health England, Health Education England, the DH, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and Global mental health funding calls. The issues of inclusivity, social justice and managing risk and how each affects the physical and psychological wellbeing of individuals with mental health problems, is particularly topical. The resulting inequality for service users and their families is often stark.
The importance of finding new ways of working in these areas and the field of mental health more broadly, are required, particularly given hard to reach groups such as those in the criminal justice system for example. Innovation including technology, participatory approaches and interdisciplinary working are integral to making a difference to people’s lives. Underpinning all my work is service user involvement and participation of which I am passionate.
I have strong and established links with external partners in the NHS, social care and independent care sectors and advise and shape policy internationally in relation to mental health. I chair and/or sit on key strategic boards that guide and influence mental health research including the Restraint Reduction Network, British Institute of Leaning Disabilities, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, the DH, the European Violence in Psychiatry Research Group and Mental Health Nurse Academics UK. I was fortunate enough to be awarded the prestigious Eileen SKellern Award in 2014 for my services to mental health nursing.
I joined MMU because there is an opportunity to build upon the reputational interdisciplinary research that Tis already well embedded across the university. Developing a critical mass of researchers in mental health is my ambition to build upon existing projects to further exemplar our international excellence in mental health research and to develop lines of work around innovative interdisciplinary projects. For example, we can strengthen our links with stakeholders to further explore mental health issues in criminal justice systems based on factors such as depression and self-harm and trauma linked to complex trauma histories and disorders. On-going areas of work include minimising restrictive practices across mental health and social care settings, which is high on the political agenda, co-production in order to understand and mitigate against the development of mental health problems, addressing complex trauma histories and relationships in a range of settings including the criminal justice system and the use of technology to support those suffering with mental health disorders.