The importance of mental wellbeing, and feeling free to talk about your mental health openly with people you trust, can not be understated. Campaigns and initiatives, such as the upcoming Time to Talk Day aim to get conversations going and support shared where it’s needed.
To help with your upcoming mental health-related features, we’ve gathered a selection of experts who are available to share relevant expertise and comments with the media. You can connect with them via the ResponseSource Journalist Enquiry Service – fill out the form here to send an enquiry.
TW: Serious topics related to mental health are included below. Please do skip this post and go and get yourself a nice cup of tea if reading about these subjects could be triggering for you.
Mental health research
Wendy Robinson, head of services at Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)
Expertise: Wendy has worked in therapeutic and support services for vulnerable people as a wellbeing clinical practice and service development consultant for over 20 years. Wendy is a qualified therapist with training in play therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and systemic practice and now works to promote suicide prevention with CALM.
Speak to Wendy about: Suicide, suicide prevention, mental health, dealing with low mood, depression, or anxiety.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘One helpful way to address short-term stress is to take a moment to pause,’ says Wendy.‘It’s easy for our brains to hook onto stress and negative emotions in the here and now, which can understandably lead to spiralling thoughts and feeling overwhelmed. My advice would be to take a second to notice the feeling and think about why it’s happening. Taking a step back from a situation can help you figure out what you might need to do at that moment to tackle it. That said, if you can’t pinpoint the source of your stress, try to allow the feeling to pass and not engage.
Lea Milligan, CEO of MQ Mental Health Research
Expertise: Lea’s career began delivering cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and trauma informed alternative education programmes in prison and alternative community education centres. He then became COO of a charity-led group of alternative provision free schools, nurseries, and women’s centres in Tower Hamlets supporting outcomes in education, mental health, and employment.
Lea was CEO for four years at Mercy Ships and then part of a team that co-founded the Harvard Center for Global Surgery Evaluation (CGSE) in 2018. In 2020, Lea became the CEO of MQ Mental Health Research and oversaw the launch of the new strategy focusing on the development of early career researchers and translational research in the field of mental health on a global scale.
Speak to Lea about: The latest research developments in mental health, the wider mental health science landscape, and where the future of mental health treatments may lie.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘Understand what stress is and isn’t, champion better employment practices and research how stress and mental illness are linked. This can be done in the workplace by ensuring workloads are manageable, there is flexible working and better management support which can all reduce stress.’
Professor Rory O’Connor, director of the Suicide Behaviour Research Lab at the University of Glasgow
Expertise: A registered health psychologist, Rory is also involved in policy work as a member of the Scottish Government’s national suicide and self-harm implementation and monitoring group and is the President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.
He was fascinated about mental health from a young age and this interest continued, leading him to study psychology at university, writing a dissertation that focussed on depression. He started a PhD in suicide, drawing on his previous work on depression and feelings of hopelessness hopelessness. Sadly, the person who brought him into the field took his own life as well as a close friend who also died by suicide in 2008. This further highlighted to him the challenges in prevention and the urgency of researching suicide to address these challenges. He has continued to research suicide for the last 25 years and is the recipient of the 2023 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention research award.
Speak to Rory about: Different aspects of mental health research but his specialist subject is suicide, suicide prevention and the comorbidities related to serious mental illnesses.
Smriti Joshi, Chief Psychologist at Wysa
Expertise: Smriti is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been offering her services in the mental health space in India for the past 21 years. She is a certified Advanced Telemental health professional. She has contributed to setting up tele-counselling guidelines for the Indian Association of Clinical Psychologists and has been providing training to psychologists practising in India to offer legally and ethically safe mental health services via tele-modalities.
Smriti is a part of the National Mental Health Council (NMHC) for WICCI and has conducted/participated in mental health-related events organised by WICCI NMHC. She is leading the ethics and science in mental health tech conversations on the Therapists in Tech platform, which supports over 1000 mental health professionals. She holds an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology from the University of Delhi and is a member of the British Psychological Society.
Speak to Smriti about: Depression, anxiety, and associated symptoms such as insomnia, anger, and loneliness, as well as AI-driven mental health support.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘Take a break. Getting out for 15 minutes in the fresh air, doing some stretches, or five minutes of meditation will all help you reset, refocus, and get some clarity.’
Dr Alison McClymont, child psychologist and trauma therapist
Expertise: Dr Alison is a psychologist with over a decade experience working in the NHS and private practice treating anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and stress related conditions. Alison is a specialist in the treatment of trauma in both children and adults, with a particular focus on complex PTSD. Alison’s research interests have looked at the ways trauma impacts people in their professional career and also the impact of burnout in adults. Alison consults with a number of corporations advising on ways to prevent employee burnout and treating mental health in the workplace. Alison currently works in private practice at The Soke clinic in South Kensington.
Speak to Alison about: Mental health, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and the treatment of trauma.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘Prioritise connection with others. Alongside environmental factors such as maintaining a healthy exercise regime and diet, and of course prioritising sleep, ensuring that we engage with people on a regular basis who make us feel happy and content can greatly reduce our stress levels. Positive human interaction raises serotonin, regulates dopamine levels, and can help contribute to our overall emotional wellbeing and cognitive function.’
Ali Shalfrooshan, occupational psychologist and head of international assessment R&D at Talogy
Expertise: Ali is a business psychologist with a passion for helping organisations improve performance through their people. He has a particular interest in assessment and learning and development, to help create greater resilience within an organisation. He is the winner of two Excellence in Assessment Awards at the Association for Business Psychology Awards, and published work includes ‘Investing in the future of young people: How can occupational psychology help?’
Speak to Ali about: The implications of employee burnout; how to build resilience in the workplace; how to identify signs of burnout; strategies to reduce stress for the individual; and strategies for an organisation to increase employee wellbeing.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘Be mindful of the connection between physical wellbeing and emotional wellbeing. Healthy eating and drinking habits, a good night’s sleep, access to light, and exercise all help provide a balance between physiological and mental health.
Cai Graham, mental health coach and family support specialist
Expertise: Cai has blended nearly three decades of motherhood with her background as a Master Practitioner in NLP, Hypnotherapy, and Coaching together with her experience as a ChildLine counsellor and HomeStart volunteer. She created her TEEN Toolbox™ Series which provides parents and teenagers with her straight-talking approach to life and the tools to successfully navigate vital stages of adolescence. Cai is now on to her second anxiety workbook helping with everyday struggles by looking at the signs, techniques and studies to conquer our anxieties.
Speak to Cai about: Everyday challenges from work, school, parenting, social pressures, eating disorders, panic attacks, self-esteem, depression, suicide, drugs and alcohol, addictions, grief, how to calm your mind, self-help tips, and more.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘Personally, I don’t condone eliminating stress altogether. I believe we should aim to have a healthy balance, where it serves its protective function, keeping us alert and performing at our best while not overwhelming us. There are simple ways we can help minimise and support daily stressors. This includes going for a walk for 30 minutes a day, especially in the winter to take in the daylight for a boost of serotonin. It could also be in the form of relaxing your body and mind through stretches and exercise, including going to the gym, cutting out processed foods and a diet high in sugar, and doing some personal reflection everyday including journaling.’
Jamal Ayton-Brown, co-founder of Jrny
Expertise: Jamal’s entrepreneurial journey began in 2012. He has navigated the challenges and rewards of building businesses, culminating in the creation of Jrny, an e-commerce brand focused on wellbeing. Jamal was diagnosed with ADHD in 2023 and his personal experiences with mental health have deeply informed his professional path. He has explored and implemented various self-help techniques, which have not only aided his own mental health but also shaped the ethos of Jrny. Its flagship product, The Shruum, is a testament to this, designed to support the neurodiverse community, particularly those with ADHD.
Speak to Jamal about: Integrating mental health practices into daily life and entrepreneurship, especially related to ADHD, CBT, stress management techniques such as cold showers, mindful meditation, and holistic wellbeing. He can also speak to the emotional impacts of society with respect to men and why mental health problems are so prevalent among them.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘I advocate for a balanced approach combining supplementation, mindfulness, regular physical activity, and intentional breathing practices. These techniques have been crucial in my journey, helping to manage ADHD symptoms and maintain mental clarity amidst the demands of running an investor-backed startup.’
Dr Deborah Lee, sexual and reproductive health specialist for Dr Fox Pharmacy
Expertise: Deborah has worked for many years in the NHS, initially as a GP, and then as lead clinician for an integrated Community Sexual Health Service. She now works as a health and medical writer, with an emphasis on women’s health. Deborah is a menopause specialist and medical content writer for Dr Fox.
Speak to Deborah about: Mental health topics including postpartum depression, premenstrual disorder, PMDD and menopause, and brain fog. She can also speak about sleep, diet, weight loss, and nutrition.
What can you do to reduce stress and aid your mental health? ‘In short, my top tip would be to reduce screen time. Stop scrolling, get rid of the interruptions and switch it off when possible. 6.3% of Brits are currently suffering from smartphone addiction – which has all the characteristics of drug and alcohol addiction. Spending time away from your phone can greatly lower stress levels and help you get that much-needed, good quality sleep.’
On the Journalist Enquiry Service you can reach thousands of expert sources in all sectors; this is just a snapshot of the calibre of experts ready to talk about mental health or their specific areas of expertise that you can connect with.
If you want to interview one of these individuals specifically, drop a line to email@example.com and we’ll connect you. Otherwise, head to responsesource.com/send to reach these and many more people who can help you with your story.