Our staff

Dr Vanessa Pinfold

Vanessa has been working in mental health research for over 25 years.  She has published studies on stigma and discrimination, families and carers, experiences of the mental health system, wellbeing networks as well as more recently co-production in mental health research.  She is currently prioritising developing peer research methods through collaborative or co-production approaches. This includes work developing a community navigators approach to combat loneliness among people with depression and anxiety, developing a collaborative model of care working across primary and secondary care for people with on-going 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 the co-founder and research director who is responsible for overseeing the work of the charity. She has a PhD from University of Nottingham, Department of Geography.


Vanessa Pinfold, Research Director
Vanessa Pinfold, Research Director

Dr Dan Robotham

Dan joined McPin in March 2017. He has experience of conducting and managing research and evaluation 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, Deputy Research Director

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, Head of Public Involvement in Research

Tanya Mackay

Tanya joined McPin in 2019 following a move from Australia. Her previous work was university-based, and had a strong focus on co-design in research and advocacy. She has a First Class Honours degree in social work, and uses her practice knowledge of strengths-based and narrative approaches as well as her lived experience as both a service user and carer to inform her research. She has worked extensively on recovery models and peer work within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia, and continues to be involved in various academic work around consumer directed models of care across social support service broadly. Tanya has also been involved in developing policy in the mental health space. She is passionate about lived experience expertise, and her role at McPin allows her to continue to develop this approach to research. She has an interest in ongoing work around vicarious trauma for people in support roles and research, and hopes to contribute to improving mechanisms for supporting the wellbeing of people in these positions.

Tanya Mackay, Research Manager
Tanya Mackay, Research Manager

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 Research Manager

Jennie Parker

Jennie Parker joined the McPin Foundation in 2017 as a Senior Researcher.  She previously worked for Emergence Plus CIC as a lived experience researcher and Project Co-ordinator, focusing on research and evaluation within the NHS and HMPPS.  Jennie has also been a KUF trainer since 2014 and continues to co-facilitate the Knowledge and Understanding Framework training (working effectively with personality disorder).  Her research interests lie primarily in personality disorder, where she is also involved in research with external institutions as co-applicant on RfPB studies.  Co-design and co-production of both research and services underlie her approach to her work and this extends to how services can better help those with both mental and physical health needs.  Jennie has a BA in English and Sociology, a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and an MSc in Clinical Neuroscience.  The impact of diagnosis and how this is both delivered and perceived are also areas that influence much of her current work.

Jennie Parker, Senior Researcher
Jennie Parker, Senior Researcher

Raj Hazzard

Raj is a researcher joined Mcpin in 2015. She has worked in the field of mental health, both in the charity sector and for the NHS. This has included providing peer support to individuals leaving crisis care and in hospital, introducing innovative practices to support wellbeing. At Mind, she supported the delivery and evaluation for a range of projects and designed and facilitated mental health training to local organisations. At McPin Raj has worked on a range of projects include a national evaluation of community-based peer support, and a number of evaluations looking at how employment and job-seeking effects those with mental health difficulties. She has a passion for using her lived experience of mental health to further understanding of systemic and intersectional approaches to understanding mental health, particularly in the realm of stigma and discrimination. Raj holds a BSc with honours in Psychology and Anthropology and an MA in International Relations.

John Gibson

John works on the PARTNERS2 research programme, which aims to develop better ways of supporting people with severe mental illness within GP practices. He joined McPin as the Service User Researcher on the programme in August 2015 and is based at the University of Birmingham. Following an MA at the Courtauld Institute of Art, John served as Chair of North Staffs Voice, a user-led organisation that worked for improvements in mental health services. As someone who lives with a diagnosis of bipolar, John’s involvement with the third sector continues to this day as head of client and user engagement at North Staffs Mind. In PARTNERS2, John brings twenty years of experience to a role that emphasises the importance of personal experience of mental health problems in complementing clinical and academic approaches to mental health research. He also serves as Chair of the Study Steering Committee for the EDITION Study at the University of Manchester, and is a panel member for the selection and re-approval of Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHPs) in Staffordshire.

John Gibson, PARTNERS2 Service User Research Associate
John Gibson, PARTNERS2 Service User Research Associate

Rachel Temple

Rachel is a Public Involvement in Research Manager at the McPin Foundation, having joined the team as a trainee in 2017. She was previously a support worker for young people with mental health problems and learning disabilities. She currently helps manage an online peer support group for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Rachel graduated in 2016 with a BSc with honours in Psychology from the University of Kent. During her studies, she used her personal experiences to investigate the relationship between physical exercise and anxiety-related difficulties. At The McPin Foundation, she leads the McPin’s Young People Advisory Group and the wider young people’s network. She is passionate about ensuring meaningful involvement of young people in mental health research in ways that are comfortable, accessible, and engaging; regularly drawing from her social anxiety experiences when facilitating. Rachel was involved in the Right People Right Questions research, which identified the top ten unanswered research questions about young people’s mental health. She has led the young people’s involvement on several other projects including the Mental Health National Gallery Audio Tour project, mental health and screen use, and Agency & Identity for Mental Health.

Rachel Temple, Public Involvement in Research Manager

Anja Hollowell

Anja joined McPin in May 2019 as a Public Involvement in Research Officer. At McPin, she supports the Public Involvement team and their activities with various projects including gameChange, Mental Health and Justice, and the Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG). She also administers the McPin peer review panel. Whilst completing a BSc in Natural Sciences at Lancaster University she developed an interest in psychology and neuroscience, which led her to complete a Psychology Qualifying Certificate at Oxford Brookes University and then an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology at Birkbeck, University of London. For her MSc project at Birkbeck, she investigated the relationship between non-clinical psychotic experiences and cognitive biases in adolescents. Having worked in research environments whilst studying, Anja has seen the importance of involving service users in research. Whilst studying for her MSc, she worked as an IT assistant in a research unit at the University of Oxford where she became involved in their public engagement work. Working at McPin combines her interests in both mental health research and involving the public.

Anja Hollowell, Public Involvement in Research Officer
Anja Hollowell, Senior PIiR Officer

Oli Jones

Oli joined McPin in February 2020 as a Public Involvement Officer and Peer Researcher. Starting work with McPin in 2019 as a contractor, he contributed as a Peer Researcher to phase one of the NIHR Public Mental Health Research programme. His current role entails promoting and encouraging Youth involvement in mental health research projects, such as early intervention studies for psychosis. As a part-time lead in a digital inclusion project at South London and Maudsley (SLAM) NHS trust, he aims to tie research with practical training and opportunities for people and their communities. Oli graduated from Leeds University with a BSc in Human Life Sciences and has a special interest in neuroscience and contemporary debate topics in psychiatry.

Oli Jones,Peer Researcher and Public Involvement in Research Officer
Oli Jones, Peer Researcher and Public Involvement in Research Officer

Faith Amasowomwan

Faith is a Peer Researcher and PPI Officer who joined McPin in 2020. Although her academic background is in Biomedical Science, she has always had a passion for mental health. She has worked and volunteered with people from all walks of life. This has included supporting people with learning disabilities and mental health issues in many settings such as care homes, supported living residences and NHS services. She most recently worked in a mental health forensic hospital where she was involved in patient rehabilitation and occupational therapy. She gained a lot of insight into how people are affected by, and the stigmas relating to, not only having mental health issues but also a forensic history. She is passionate about helping her community and being able to provide her perspective in mental health research. Alongside her career, Faith also enjoys travelling (often solo), sewing and graphic design.

Faith Amasowomwan, Peer Resercher
Faith Amasowomwan, Peer Researcher and Patient & Public Involvement Officer

Achille Crawford

Achille Crawford joined McPin as a researcher during the summer of 2020, amidst the turbulence of Covid-19. Achille had previously worked in construction, sales, recruitment and mental health, as well as possessing a degree in sociology, and is equipped with a wide and diverse array of skills. He holds a personal interest in mental health issues driving his desire to pursue a career in research, as well as a unique opportunity to combine the skills learnt so far in a variety of workplaces. A desire to create real implementable change for individuals drives his motivation for progress as well as a genuine desire to know more and be more knowledgeable regarding social issues.

Achille Crawford, Evaluator (Trainee)
Achille Crawford, Peer Researcher and Evaluator (Trainee)

Davino Beckford

Davino joined McPin in May 2020 as a Community Peer Researcher (Trainee) as part of the Black Thrive Employment project in partnership with Black Thrive and TSIP. Having recently graduated with a BSc in Psychology, working in this role combines his passion for Black people (particularly those from the most marginalised fringes of the society) and systemic change with his growing research background as this project is about improving employment outcomes for Black people living in Lambeth.

Davino Beckford, Peer Researcher and Evaluator (Trainee)

Thai-Sha Richards

Thai-sha joined McPin in June 2020 as a Young Person co-researcher on the REACH project. Having studied psychology at GCSE and in September with be studying it as an A-level, she has a huge passion for the subject and for mental health, especially between diverse backgrounds. She intends to study psychology at university and then get a PhD. Previously she has done work experience with the REACH study at Kings College University and was part of its Young People’s Advisory Group (YPAG), helping to develop research materials that young people could relate to, for example. As a young black woman from South East London, Thai-sha aims to inform people about mental health and the struggles that black and minoritised ethnic groups have to go through every day, and challenge any stigma that occurs. Other than psychology, she likes to spend time with friends and loved ones, travel to different countries to learn about other cultures, and strengthen her faith.

Thai-sha Richards, Young Person co-researcher
Thai-sha Richards, Young Person co-researcher

Jessica Bond

Jessica joined McPin in August 2018. After a BSc in Physics, she worked as a science journalist and editor for eight years before completing an MSc in Psychology in 2017. Since studying she has worked as a freelance writer, researcher and communications consultant, often but not exclusively in the mental health sector, where she continues to volunteer. Her role as Communications Manager and Researcher allows her to combine her old world with her new. 

Jessica Bond, Communications Specialist and Researche
Jessica Bond, Communications Manager and Researcher

Katherine Lofthouse

Katherine has spent most of the last decade creating features, blogs, tweets, podcasts – and just about anything else that could reasonably constitute content – for a range of organisations. She joined McPin as a Senior Research Communicator in April 2021.

Having worked and volunteered in sectors ranging from sex positivity to tech, social housing and homelessness, Katherine is passionate about empowering people to tell their stories. She hopes to build on this while at McPin, helping to drive positive change in mental health through both established and emerging platforms.

A woman smiling holding a slice of pizza

Amy Ramsay

Amy joined the McPin Foundation in 2021 to co-develop, implement and evaluate new community mental health transformation models in Hertfordshire and West Essex.  Beginning her career in research in physical health (oncology and quality improvement on paediatric intensive care units), she transitioned into mental health research in 2014, when she began working at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. Amy is passionate about qualitative research and addressing health inequalities through her work which is heavily informed by trade union organising and grassroots activism (primarily focused on immigration detention, migrants’ rights and gender inequalities).

Headshot of woman wearing a parka coat with a fur-lined hood

Rosie Partridge

Rosie Partridge Joined McPin as a research administrator at the beginning of 2021.

She has previously worked in fitness, addiction recovery, retail and other administrative roles- she has held an interest for mental health and psychiatric research throughout.

Rosie has lived experience of using mental health services as both a child and an adult. As well as an Illustration degree, she has a particular interest in addiction and how the creative process can help our mental health. She has a want to help create a more open, user led, and accepting culture for all people living with mental health conditions and a strong desire for justice for people of colour and marginalised groups in society.

JJ Buckle

JJ joined McPin in March 2021 as a Senior Digital Communications Coordinator. He works in the research communications team at McPin and is part of the coordination team for the UKRI-funded mental health research networks. With a background in digital communications and conservation, JJ has a particular interest in the relationship between the environment, nature and mental health, as well how habituated actions and thoughts contribute towards mental health. He is eager to learn new skills in this role, particularly focusing on media production such as podcasts and videos.

Alex Kenny

Alex joined McPin in August 2019 as a Peer Researcher. Previously, she sat on a Lay Peer Review panel for the Lancet Psychiatry, reviewing articles prior to publication, and was a member of the Lived Experience Advisory Panel (LEAP) for the gameChange study. Alex has a background in research, having worked in corporate consumer market research since she graduated from university with a BA in Management and Organisational Psychology. She enjoys working on projects that have the potential to prevent or improve outcomes for people experiencing mental health problems. She currently works as a Peer Volunteer supporting adults with both physical and mental health difficulties.

Alex Kenny, PIiR Officer

Gary Coyle

Gary has worked at McPin as a Survivor Researcher since 2015, having lived with mental ill-health since his early twenties. He has a degree in Education and an MA in Creative Writing. Gary worked as a creative writing facilitator for South London and Maudsley NHS Trust before joining the McPin team to work on the My Story, Our Future project. He has since been involved with several other research projects. He says: “It is great to be able to give something back to the mental health system.”

Gary Coyle, Survivor Researcher
Gary Coyle, Survivor Researcher

James Diffey

James is currently working with McPin as a part-time co-researcher on the Blueprint Project –  exploring young people’s experiences of mental health services in England and Wales. He is interested in how people can better process their emotions and experiences to the benefit of both their own mental health and society as a whole. He recently finished some research at the LSE exploring how people experience and process feelings of guilt for contributing to climate change, and he is now interning as a research assistant at Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation.

James Diffey, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project
James Diffey, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project

Rose McGowan

Rose joined the McPin team as a co-researcher on the Blueprint Project, with the aim to improve accessibility and effectiveness of mental health services for children and young people. She is currently in her final year studying Psychology at Newcastle University. As part of her degree, Rose completed a placement year working in an adult acute psychiatric hospital, which involved screening for sleep disorders, delivering Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Insomnia, and collecting data regarding the outcomes of therapy. She also works at her local hospital as a healthcare assistant, providing compassionate care to patients in all wards. Rose is passionate about mental health research and encouraging open conversations about mental health and wellbeing.

Rose McGowan, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project
Rose McGowan, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project

Jodie Crooks

Jodie joined McPin as a Young Person Co-Researcher on the Blueprint project. Having graduated with a BSc in Psychology from Newcastle University this year, she is currently studying towards an MSc in Cognitive Development and Disorders at the University of Leeds. Previously, she worked as a Research Assistant at Newcastle University, where she investigated potential barriers and facilitators to organ donation in individuals from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds. She has a passion for mental health and wellbeing, especially among young people and those with developmental difficulties. By joining The McPin Foundation, Jodie aims to use her lived experiences of mental illness to contribute to meaningful research, helping to improve the mental-health experiences of others.

Jodie Crooks, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project
Jodie Crooks, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project

Keeya Saund

My name is Keeya. I am currently working as an Honorary Assistant Psychologist in CAMHS Solent NHS Trust. I have just graduated with BSc Psychology from Cardiff University. I loved conducting my final year dissertation on the relationship between mindfulness, resilience, self-concept clarity and resilience. I hope to one day become a Counselling Psychologist. I am very excited to be a part of the Blueprint Project to help create a model that can improve service user access to effective mental health support.

Keeyla Saund, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project
Keeyla Saund, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project

Bekah Carrington

Bekah has recently joined McPin as a co-researcher on the Blueprint Project, using lived experience to help in the project exploring children and young people’s experiences of mental health services. She is currently studying Psychology at the University of Southampton where her final year research project will be looking at service engagement within psychosis populations. She has previously worked as an Honorary Student Psychologist in an EIP team, particularly enjoying the opportunity to develop their support for family members. She is looking forward to working with McPin to make some positive changes for young people and their families, and to explore the ways that lived experience can be used to enrich research.

Bekah Carrington, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project
Bekah Carrington, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project

Georgia Naughton

Georgia is from Sheffield but moved to Manchester in 2015 where she completed an undergraduate degree in psychology before going on to do a Masters in research and experimental psychology. She’s really interested in the blueprint project as it’s so important, now more than ever that mental health services for young people are the best and most accessible they can possibly be. It’ll be great to work with a team of other like-minded people aiming to find out how this can be done for children and young people. Georgia is really passionate about mental health research and this is something she hopes to pursue in the future. In her spare time, she really enjoys cooking and baking, as well as going to the gym and really gotten into running during lockdown.

Georgia Naughton, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project
Georgia Naughton, Co-Researcher for the Blueprint Project

Clare Walsby

Clare joined the McPin Foundation as Operations Manager in May 2019.  After training and working as a dancer, Clare has been involved in a variety of different roles in the charity and education sectors.  Her passion for using her administrative and management skills to support others was ignited by working at Hillcroft College, an educational charity for women.  There, she worked with women in a residential environment to help them overcome their fear of exams and assessment, providing them with access to additional support and enabling them to achieve their full potential.  By joining McPin, Clare hopes to use her skills to support and assist those working to increase understanding of mental health and be part of the movement towards a more open conversation on mental health and wellbeing issues.

Clare Walsby, Operations Manager