MH:2K is a new project which empowers young people to explore mental health issues and influence mental health decision-making in their local area. We are currently piloting MH:2K in Oldham. Find out more.

Today is World Mental Health day. And so it seems an appropriate date on which to announce MH:2K Oldham’s Expert Panel.

The Panel has a key role to play in making MH:2K Oldham a success. It will, among other tasks, help to ensure the project:

  • Builds on, rather than duplicates, engagement work that has already taken place;
  • Accesses key research and data sources about youth mental health;
  • Links into relevant decision-making processes, both within Oldham and more widely;
  • Produces realistic recommendations.

We are therefore delighted that the following people have agreed to be our founding Expert Panel members. We look forward very much to working with them.

MH:2K Oldham’s Expert Panel (in alphabetical order)

  • Cara Afzal, Programme Development Lead for Health and Implementation, Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network. Cara is responsible for supporting the design and implementation of large-scale health improvement programmes across Greater Manchester. She also plays a key role in the public involvement aspects of the GM AHSN work programme and is a member of the Northwest People in Research Forum (NWPiRF) executive team. Prior to her current role, Cara worked for a Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust (MMHSCT) as a Programme Manager. During this time, she also served on the MMHSCT Research and Innovation (R&I) Committee.
  • Jodie Barber, Senior Empowerment and Participation Officer, Oldham Council. Jodie is responsible for overseeing the work of Oldham’s Youth Council, which has identified young people’s mental health as a priority area for its work.
  • Emma Hart, Associate Director (Inclusion), Oldham Sixth Form College. Emma has nearly ten year’s experience working with young people, first as a teacher and now in her current role. As Associate Director (Inclusion) she leads on safeguarding and student support, including arranging additional support for students around their mental and emotional health. She is a member of Oldham’s Emotional Wellbeing Board, Best Start in Life Board, and Special Educational Needs Partnership Board. She works very closely with Healthy Young Minds Oldham (formerly known as Child and Adolscent Mental Health Services Oldham).
  • Alan Higgins, Director of Public Health, Oldham Council. Alan has been the Director of Public Health for Oldham since 2002 and was an executive director on The Primary Care Trust Board. He is a Governing Body Advisory Member for Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, Public Health Lead for the Greater Manchester Public Health Network, a member of the Public Health Advisory Committee with NICE, an advisor to the WAVE Trust focussing on healthy childhood development, and an advisor to the Cultural Commissioning programme. Alan is leading the development of council-led public health in Oldham. He has just made young people’s mental health a strategic priority for the Council’s work.
  • Dr Keith Jeffery, Clinical Director for Mental Health, Oldham Clinical Commissioning?Group. Dr Jeffery has been a partner at Failsworth Group Practice since 1997. As Clinical Director he is working with providers of mental health services to ensure that the people of Oldham can access high quality services which meet their needs and that they are helped in a timely manner. With colleagues in Public Health he is also working to reduce the stigma of mental illness in Oldham.
  • Allet Lukyuma, Oldham Youth Council. Allet is a member of Oldham Youth Council, a democratic body of young people meeting to make Oldham a better place. She is currently at college studying psychology, sociology, English language and religious studies.
  • Joanne Needham, Operational Manager (Acting), Healthy Young Minds Oldham (previously Oldham CAMHS). Joanne’s professional background is as a registered mental health nurse. For the past fifteen years she has worked with children and young people with mental health problems out-patient and in-patient settings. Joanne has a BSc in psychotherapeutic interventions – CBT.
  • Dr Angela Parker, Research Delivery Manager, National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network Greater Manchester. Angie has been working in the field of clinical research for over 13 years. In 2014 she took on the responsibility of delivering mental health, dementias & neurodegenerative diseases and neurological disorders clinical research across NIHR:CRN’s partner NHS organisations within the region. Over the past two years 10,000 participants have taken part. Angie is committed to ensuring that patients have the opportunity to access high quality clinical research; that the general public understand why we do clinical research and the different types of research that we do and that it takes place across the NHS. This year there is a particular focus on ensuring that mental health research is being carried out that can support the needs of children and young people within Greater Manchester.
  • Bella Starling, Wellcome Engagement Fellow and Director of Public Programmes at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Bella is a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, on secondment from her role as Director of Public Programmes at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Manchester. Her career has spanned neuroscience, mental health and stem cell research, science writing, biomedical ethics, public engagement, patient involvement and science policy, both as a practitioner and strategic adviser. She is passionate about inclusion in, and democratisation of, research; her Fellowship will explore how public engagement with research can act as a catalyst for social change.
  • Julia Taylor, Commissioning Manager, Oldham Clinical Commissioning ?Group. Julia has worked in Oldham’s health economy for the past 19 years and has a BSc in Health and Social Care. As a commissioning manager, Julia’s focus is on improving services for children and young people, with a commitment to ensuring high quality services are available in a timely manner to those children and young people who require emotional wellbeing and mental health support. As part of this work, Julia has drawn together Oldham’s CAMHS Transformational Plan (in conjunction with the local authority, providers and other stakeholders) to build upon the work already underway to redesign services.