Refocus on Recovery 2017


Paul Atkinson

Paul Atkinson has worked as a psychotherapist for more than thirty years, mainly in private practice in London. He was a political activist during the 1970s and in recent years has returned to campaigning politics – opposing state regulation of psychotherapy and counselling, supporting activists and organising psypolitical events at Occupy St Paul’s, campaigning for the NHS in East London, running mens’ therapy groups, and working with mental health activists against psycho-compulsion through DWP ‘work cure’ policies. He is a member of the Free Psychotherapy Network, the Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and Psychotherapy and Counselling for Social Responsibility.


Mark Brown

Mark Brown is development director of Social Spider CIC, ex-editor of One in Four magazine, one of Nursing Times/Health Service Journal Social Media Pioneers 2014, mental health writer, doer.  One of the people behind the regular We Mental Health Nurses chats on twitter.  Current digital projects: Leeds Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovation Lab, COOP CAMHS platform, A Day in the Life and a development of A Day in the Life focused upon adult learners with mental health difficulties and an app to support advice seekers.  Mark regularly writes and speaks on mental health and technology. Mark Brown is @markoneinfour on twitter.


David Crepaz-Keay

Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion, Mental Health Foundation

David Crepaz-Keay is Head of Empowerment and Social Inclusion at the Mental Health Foundation. A former economist, statistician and long term psychiatric patient, he has been developing, delivering and evaluating service user involvement in mental health and broader health. He was a founder member of NSUN, England’s National Survivor User Network and established and co-facilitates the National Mental Health Forum for Wales; he spent seven years as commissioner on the board of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and is an advisor to the World Health Organisation on empowerment. David led the development of mental health empowerment indicators for WHO Europe. He led the development and delivery of self-management and peer support for secondary mental health service users, single parents and prisoners. David has published widely on service user involvement, self-management and peer support.


Julie (Cassidy) Gosling

D.SocSci Hon.Causa.  DMS. MAD.

‘ … whenever I hear practitioners talking about ‘vulnerable people’ – I wonder who the invulnerable ones are … ‘

I am an older woman of Irish heritage. I identify as a survivor of child violence, domestic abuse and homelessness in a time when there were no services, and I live now with their ongoing traumatic impact on my mental, spiritual and physical well-being. I have been activist and educator for 30 years. Without formal health or social welfare qualifications, I was awarded in 2013 with an honorary doctorate for ‘outstanding contribution’ to international social work education. I am founder-director of Advocacy in Action which has since 1990, pioneered lived and peer experience nationally and globally in the education of social work and healthcare practitioners, in service-user-led research, and in quality assurance of those learning and research frameworks. I additionally founded and still volunteer in a benefits activism /advice group, FIANN.  After suffering retirement for 3 months in 2012, I allowed myself to be pulled back in as Training Education and Research Lead for Making Waves and now direct the Making Waves network in promoting lived experience and peer led action nationally. Appointed research fellow to the Institute of Mental Health in 2013, I have encouraged MAD studies and MAD activism regionally and am particularly committed to involving the least well-heard voices within current mental health discourses. You can find lots more about me, my publications, media productions and projects by visiting my LINKED IN profile or by talking to me at Refocus On Recovery 2017; and I mutually celebrate with all of you who attend our forthcoming conference, the fact that

‘ … there is not one single human being anywhere on the planet who is not capable of joining in and creating  partnerships to promote well-being … ‘

So let me leave you with the Gallant Sweeneys – a group of older street drinkers within whose company I found more wisdom and humility than in many an academic setting. The film we made together continues to inspire my academic work, my activism and my personal values and to remind me that ‘recovery’ or ‘discovery’ have many meanings for many different lives.

Long may this continue!


Jayasree Kalathil

Dr Jayasree Kalathil is an independent researcher, writer and mental health activist. Her work focuses on linking activism and mobilising user/survivor participation from marginalised and minoritised groups to influence knowledge production, policy and practice on issues of racialisation, gender and human rights in mental health. Her publications include a study of black women’s narratives, Recovery and resilience (2011) and the co-authored book Values and ethics in mental health (2015). A special issue of Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology on mental health user/survivor research, co-edited with Nev Jones, is forthcoming in 2016. She has also published a children’s book The Sackclothman (2009) and is currently working on a translated anthology of short stories from her mother tongue Malayalam into English, a project funded by the Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University, Kerala.


Julie Repper

Julie is Director of ImROC. ImROC works in partnership with communities to develop systems, services and cultures that support recovery and wellbeing for all.  Julie is also Recovery Lead at Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust and Associate Professor of Recovery at University of Nottingham.  She draws on her experience of working as a nurse, manager, researcher and lecturer, as well as her personal experience of using services, to support greater understanding of Recovery.  She works across service boundaries with people who use services, providers, commissioners and academic institutions to support collaborative approaches in facilitating Recovery.

Julie has written widely and is co-editor of the Journal of Mental Health and Social Inclusion.  She leads a Recovery Research work stream at the Institute of Mental Health and continues to undertake research and supervise research students through her work in the University.  She continues to undertake research and supervise research students through her work in the University.


Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is Director of Advancing Recovery Ireland a national Irish HSE initiative to develop more recovery orientated services through a partnership approach with those who use services and those who provide them. Michael has his own lived experience of mental health issues and now enjoys a full life in recovery. A strong believer in co – production as the key driver of developing a recovery culture in services, Michael has been instrumental in the mainstreaming of  ‘Peer support’ Recovery Colleges and other recovery innovations as part of the Irish MHS. Michael is married with a family and lives on the shores of Clew bay in County Mayo.


Helen Cyrus Whittle

Helen has been a qualified Life Coach as well as an NLP Practitioner for 12 years. She was a qualified RN Nurse, and has worked at both the City and QMC in Nottingham. After which she went into Public Health, and then teaching in FE for a few years. Helen Coaches individuals on a one to one basis, runs courses for mixed groups within the region, and abroad as well as seminars, staff development, and tailor made courses for organisations. Helen has a speciality interest in working within Mental Health and have for the last 8 years been running the Coaching Skills Courses in Recovery and Wellbeing with Nottingham Mental Health Trust and now the Partnership Staff. Enabling staff in using the approach to improve their skills in communication and create changes in their own lives as well as to motivate, empower and help clients to have a choice, become more motivated and to have their say in what they want in their lives and care. Helen was the local BBC resident Life Coach on Sun afternoons, for a year in 2007/8. She is passionate about what she does and enjoys coaching immensely. The aim of Helen’s work is to help motivate individuals to believe in themselves, to discover their gift/ passion in life, and to do what they do well. By helping to build on their self worth and by understanding what makes them who they are!’

“ If you treat a person as they appear to be, you make them worse than they are, but if you treat a person as if they already were what they potentially could be you make them what they should be”(Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe)

page updated 21 April 2017