The team at the McPin Foundation is made up of researchers, public and patient involvement in research experts, policy professionals, and operations and project support staff. Most people work on a range of projects and we often also work alongside peer researchers supporting pieces of work as freelance researchers or peer involvement specialists. The majority of staff are based at our office in London Waterloo.
Dr Vanessa Pinfold
Vanessa has been working in mental health research for 20 years. She has published studies on stigma and discrimination, families and carers, social inclusion, experiences of the mental health system, wellbeing networks as well as more recently co-production in mental health research. Much of her previous work has been delivering studies that work with people with severe mental illness or long term mental health needs. This included a year-long project in 2012 to provide the secretariat for the Schizophrenia Commission chaired by Professor Sir Robin Murray whilst at Rethink Mental Illness. She is currently prioritising developing peer research roles through collaborative or co-production approaches. Her current studies include developing an intervention to combat loneliness among people with depression and anxiety, developing a collaborative model of care working across primary and secondary care for people with long term mental health needs, and progressing work on wellbeing networks. Vanessa is an experienced health services researcher and leader within the mental health research charity sector. She currently chairs the Alliance of Mental Health Research Funders and at McPin is responsible for overseeing the work of the patient and public involvement team, research team and new policy function. Vanessa is also an associate member of INVOLVE (the national advisory group that supports greater public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research). She has a PhD from University of Nottingham, Department of Geography.
Vanessa Pinfold, Research Director
Dr Dan Robotham
Dan joined McPin in January 2017 as Head of Research & Evaluation. He has experience of conducting and managing research across NHS, academic and charity settings. Before joining McPin, he was a researcher and coordinator of Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) at the Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre. He worked at the Mental Health Foundation for four years. Before this he was at UCL, where he coordinated a clinical trial to improve learning disabilities services whilst also completing a PhD on the experiences of those who were taking part in the trial.
Dan Robotham, Head of Research & Evaluation
Dr Thomas Kabir
Thomas leads the Public Involvement in Research (PIiR) programme at the McPin Foundation. Thomas has a first degree in physics and a PhD in bioinformatics from University College London. Thomas’s PhD focused on understanding how proteins bind to one another to form complexes. After completing his doctorate he worked as a mental health advocate for Mind in Camden. He also worked with Commissioning Support for London to support the establishment of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services (IAPT) across London. From 2009 until 2014 Thomas was the coordinator of the national service user involvement arm of the NIHR Mental Health Research Network. Thomas has worked on a number of national public and patient involvement (PPI) in research initiatives including the ‘Budgeting for Involvement’ guide together with INVOLVE, and service user focused outcome measures. Thomas has also helped to produce several resources that aim to help people in receipt of welfare benefits receive payments for involvement work.
Thomas Kabir, PIiR Manager
Ian joined McPin in June 2016 to create the role of Policy Manager, following a short period at the Centre for Mental Health. Previously he spent over a decade in various policy and strategy roles in the Civil Service primarily at the Department for Communities and Local Government but including a stint at the Cabinet Office. He joined the Civil Service Fast Stream programme in 2003 after completing his MA in Society and Culture in the Cold War at the University of Warwick.
Ian Bradshaw, Policy Manager
Naomi has worked in social research in the charity sector since 2008, originally working on a variety of issues affecting marginalised children and young people, and later moving on to focus on research with people affected by mental health problems. She has worked on service and project evaluations, policy-focussed research and collaborative studies. Naomi’s interests are in collaborative peer research, qualitative methodologies and research with children, young people and families. She is currently coordinating a project to identify the research priorities in children and young people’s mental health.
Naomi Clewett, Senior Researcher
Dr Agnes Hann
Agnes has been a social researcher for over seven years. She has worked in a range of applied and academic research settings on subjects as varied as mental health and wellbeing, gender, children and families, personal finance and debt, community networks, and employment relations. Agnes joined the McPin Foundation in 2014 and works on our evaluation of Kent County Council’s high-profile Mental Wellbeing Programme. She also manages our mixed methods service-user evaluation of IAPT services for people with severe mental illness.
A social anthropologist by training, Agnes is passionate about the potential of in-depth qualitative research methodologies and cultural analysis to understand people’s experiences and bring about social change. Agnes has a MA (Cantab) in Social Anthropology, and a MSc and a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics.
Agnes Hann. Senior Researcher
Daryl is a Senior Researcher at the McPin Foundation and has been with the team since April 2013. He currently works one day a week leading McPin’s research communications strategy as well as working on peer-reviewed papers, toolkits and other dissemination work for the Community Health Networks study. Previously he worked as a researcher for Rethink Mental Illness from 2011 to 2013 on the NIHR funded Community Health Networks study, which used an extended social network analysis technique to map the connections people with mental health problems have to people, places and meaningful activities and how this helps us understand wellbeing and access to social resources. Before this Daryl conducted the first published study in Northern Ireland on the needs of and attitudes towards male victims of domestic violence and abuse. He has a first class degree in Psychology, a Masters (Mres) in Social Research Methods and is in his final year of a full-time Ph.D at the University of Manchester, an ESRC CASE Studentship partnering with the McPin Foundation . His thesis is based on data from the Community Health Networks study and examines how network connections support or restrict recovery from mental illness using a Qualitative Comparative Analysis approach, mixed-methods egocentric social network analysis and systematic reviews.
Daryl Sweet, Senior Researcher
Dr Rose Thompson
Rose has worked as a social scientist for 10 years. She completed her PhD in social psychology at Cardiff University, which explored health related attitude change. Following her PhD she has been involved in producing research in both social and genetic perspectives on intellectual disability, epilepsy and mental health, using quantitative and qualitative perspectives. She has also contributed to teaching of and student supervision in ethical perspectives in genetic counselling. Rose joined The McPin Foundation in 2015 and works on a number of projects that encompass elements of peer support, personalisation and recovery, on which she works with a number of talented peer researchers. She is particularly interested in the impact of interpersonal relationships on mental health, and people may be supported to nurture supportive and positive relationships with the people close to them. She also has an interest in using creative methodologies (visual arts, writing, or theatre) to work with people to achieve a greater understanding of their experiences with mental health, and to produce work that can communicate those experiences to wide audiences.
Rose Thompson, Senior Researcher
Ruth worked as a lecturer in Sociology and Social Care for 13 years before stress led to depression, unstable moods and being awarded medical retirement. Soon after leaving work she was supported to research the experiences of people who had lost their occupation following mental health problems by the Strategies for Living project at the Mental Health Foundation. She has since worked in mental health research with Bristol Mind, Rethink Mental illness, and within the Mental Health Research Network, as well as contributing a service user perspective to training health and care professionals, especially social workers, and commissioning. She recently worked as a researcher at University of West England (UWE), evaluating the impact of Public Involvement in Research on 8 health research case studies which included substantial contributions from ‘the public’, and is a member of the West of England Joint PPI Strategy Group. These days cycling, gardening and singing help her to manage her moods.
Ruth Sayers, Senior Researcher
Julie has worked in mental health research since 2008 when she joined Rethink Mental Illness, working on the projects ‘Getting Back into the World’; ‘Ups and Downs’ and the ‘Community Health Networks’ study. She joined the McPin Foundation in July 2013, initially working on the CHN study and then on an evaluation for Public Health England. She is currently working on the Side by Side project – a national evaluation of peer support.
Prior to that, she worked in a variety of roles, including service user involvement, evaluation work and has also worked with mental health professionals to develop and deliver a psychoeducation course.
Julie Billsborough, Regional Researcher
Dr Andreja Mesaric
Andreja completed her PhD in anthropology at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2011. Since then, she has worked in London as a researcher and project manager in the voluntary sector, primarily on projects supporting refugees and migrants. In 2014-15 she worked on a research project at Middlesex University looking at voluntary sector services available to women experiencing perinatal mental health problems. She has also taught research methodology to undergraduate anthropology students at the University of Ljubljana and a Level 3 Research for Action and Influence course aimed at refugee and migrant community organisations at the Evelyn Oldfield Unit in north London. Andreja joined the McPin Foundation as a researcher in 2015. She has a particular interest in refugee and migrant mental health.
Andreja Mesaric, Researcher
Rajvi Kotecha Hazzard is a Researcher at the McPin Foundation, joining in April 2015. She has worked in the field of mental health for five years, both in the charity sector and for the NHS. She has spent the last year assisting individuals leaving crisis care as a peer support worker, introducing innovative practices to support recovery. She is an expert by experience public speaker for National Mind, sharing personal stories to challenge stigma and raise awareness of mental health to a range of audiences. She has worked extensively with Mind in Harrow, supporting the setup, delivery and evaluation of projects. She has a passion for using her lived experience of mental health to support others and now has the opportunity to use this experience to inform research being delivered at the McPin Foundation. Rajvi holds a BSc with honours in Psychology and Anthropology from Brunel University, and an MA in International Relations from the University of Nottingham.
Rajvi Kotecha-Hazzard, Researcher
Johanna joined the McPin Foundation as a researcher in April 2016. She is currently working on the Community Navigators study, which aims to develop and test a programme of support for people with persistent anxiety and depression, focused on increasing social contacts and reducing loneliness. Johanna has a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree from the University of Bath and previously worked on research projects at UCL. This included studies looking at assessment and improvement of the service offered by crisis resolution teams, a trial of peer support for people leaving crisis resolution team care, and a trial aimed at reducing cannabis use in people with first-episode psychosis. She has also worked for a health care regulator and volunteered on acute mental health wards and at an early intervention service for psychosis. In the future, Johanna would like to work further on research projects involving service-level improvement, with a focus on the impact on individuals receiving services.
Johanna Frerichs, Researcher
Carla is Operations Officer at The McPin Foundation, and her main role is office management and HR. She comes from a professional background in administration, as well as events and conference management, having previously worked for an International Business Network and the Fire Service. She also worked as a referral service manager for a Psychotherapy and Counselling Service. In her own time Carla works as a Personal Trainer, with a specialist qualification in working with clients who have mental health problems and other medical conditions. Carla also has a BA Hons degree in commercial music, and an interest in music therapy and outreach, working with people who have various levels of mental and physical disabilities.
Carla Snell, Operations Officer
Megan joined the McPin foundation as Administrator in September 2016. Her role involves general administrative duties and office support. She has experience in charity administration, having worked as Centre Administrator for Central London Samaritans. Her experience in mental health advocacy includes setting up and co-editing the mental health magazine This Space, devising and performing in Snap Out of It with Strung Up Theatre Company, and appearing on various panel discussions to speak about her work, and the importance of lived experience in mental health advocacy. Megan is particularly interested in approaching mental health from an intersectional perspective, and hopes to do further study in this area in the future.
Megan Dalton, Administrator