I joined LSBU in 1998, after completing my undergraduate psychology degree and PhD in Sheffield. I am Professor of Psychology & Mental Health and the Research and Education director of the Design in Mental Health Network, UK.
My research has a firm focus on the lived experience of individuals who live with distress or unusual beliefs. I have conducted mental health research across a broad range of NHS and community services and I also work in the field of memory studies, promoting ecological models of memory to develop psycho-social theory.
I founded the Masters in Mental Health and Clinical Psychology course at LSBU in 2014, following my passion for promoting lived experience perspectives of mental health. This programme has been designed and run with experts by experience, in collaboration with LSBU academics and a range of practitioners.
I am currently working on a number of projects. First is a project looking at how sexuality and relationships in forensic mental health services are understood and managed, with a view to developing a nation-wide policy.
Second, a national level funded NIHR project, comparing hospital with intensive community treatments for young people using mental health services. Finally, a Mental Health First Aid England funded project evaluating their service, across a number of employer organisations.
Third, a national level funded Mental Health in First Aid project examining the perspectives and experiences of the individuals delivering Mental Health First Aid in their place of work, as well as those receiving the service.
I have co-edited a number of books, including New Feminist Stories of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Scripts and Dangerous Dialogues (with Sam Warner, Routledge, 2003) Memory Matters: Contexts for Understanding Sexual Abuse Recollections (with Janice Haaken, Psychology Press, 2009), and Mental Health & Space (with Laura McGrath, for Routledge, 2018). I have also sole edited the volume, Visual Methods in Psychology: Using and Interpreting Images in Qualitative Research (Routledge, 2011 - recently published in its second edition; 2021) and the commercial book series 'Design With People in Mind' - a series focusing on mental health and space for architects and designers.
I have also published two monographs Psychology, Mental Health and Distress (with John Cromby & Dave Harper, Palgrave, 2013 - winner of the British Psychological Society Book Award, 2014 – now in preparation for its second edition) and Vital Memory and Affect: Living with a Difficult Past (with Steven D. Brown, Routledge, 2015) and around a hundred articles on mental distress, social remembering and visual methods.