How long in the job? Four weeks.
I didn’t get where I am today by: Following
Over the course of my career, I wish I hadn’t:
Admitted to knowing how computers work, condemning myself to years
of hard labour as unpaid IT support.
The best move I’ve ever made: Leaving the water
industry to work in mental health.
The person who influenced me most is: Pamela
Jenkinson, then chair of Wokingham Mind, who I met as a hospital
in-patient. She told me to do something more useful with my
The most painful lesson I’ve learned at work is:
Tackle problems early. Don’t put it off because it’s difficult or
Me and my career: The treatment of people with a
psychiatric diagnosis has changed beyond recognition over the 26
years since I first received one. Although prejudice is widespread,
it is demonstrably possible for people who have used psychiatric
services to run mental health services.
One of the biggest blocks to developing significant roles for
disadvantaged groups is other people’s low expectations and the
mental health world is particularly guilty of this. Part of my new
role is to dismantle these barriers.
One of the most important challenges facing mental health over the
next five years is to move from talking about user empowerment, to
making it happen.
June 2005-present: Senior policy adviser at the Mental
1997-2005: Consultant, deputy director and chief
executive of charity Mental Health Media.
2003-present: Commissioner, Commission for Patient
and Public Involvement in Health.
1990-8: Consultant on service user involvement,
various health and social services departments.
1982-91: Worked at HM Treasury and in the water