Advisory group

The INforMHAA project team has established an advisory group of 17 members to provide expert advice and guidance to the research project from the perspective of their own professional and personal experience.

The Group consists of invited membership representing key stakeholders , including:

  • Interpreters (spoken and signed).
  • Approved Mental Health Professionals and programme providers.
  • Professional associations and regulators

Examples of members of the advisory group include:

Martin Stevens

Martin had 30 years’ experience as a social care researcher, initially for a local authority and then, from 2004, as a research fellow and then senior research fellow at the Health and Social Care Workforce Research Unit, based at King’s College London until he sadly passed away in March 2022. He chaired the Health Research Authority (HRA) Social Care Research Ethics Committee, and his various projects included the Accessibility of Section 12 Approved Doctors, which he led with the Migration Observatory. Martin co-ordinated a Making Research Count series of workshops on Learning Disability research. His research areas of interest included personalisation; learning disabilities; safeguarding; and interactionist perspectives. He served as a member of the advisory board on the INforMHAA project for the first year of the project and made an invaluable contribution.

Robert Lomax

Robert is a registered Social Worker, former Senior Practitioner and qualified Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP). He is a Thorn trained practitioner in integrated approaches to psychosocial interventions in mental health care. He worked for The Open University (2008-2017) and now at the University of the West of England (2017+).  He is the Programme Leader for UWE’s AMHP training programme. Robert is also undertaking doctoral research exploring how social workers use their knowledge of the social determinants of mental health to inform their practice. 

Christine McPherson

Christine has been a social worker for 40 years. She has worked in residential mental health rehabilitation, with Deaf people in the community as well as in specialist Deaf Mental Health services before moving into management of Mental Health, complex Learning Disability and the AMHP service in South Birmingham. She was an ASW/AMHP for over 30 years and has provided training on assessing deaf people for trainee AMHPs at Birmingham University. Now semi-retired, Christine is a Trustee for two Deaf organisations and maintains a keen interest in social work and mental health.  

Dr Kevin Stone

Kev Stone is an Associate Professor and Lead Social Worker at the University of Plymouth. He is a practicing AMHP, qualified BIA and was a university AMHP programme leader. His research interests include the changing landscape of the mental health workforce and the socio-legal effectiveness of mental health legislation. Kev delivers CPD education and has published widely in these areas, notably the AMHP and BIA Practice Handbooks. 


Nahed Arafat

Nahed Arafat is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Sheffield, School of Languages and Cultures. She is an experienced Interpreter and has been working in this field of mental health and immigration for over 12 years. She also worked as a Transcultural mental health worker for 10 years. She combines her experience in mental health with her linguistic expertise as a professional interpreter to understand the challenges surrounding language and cultural perspectives that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic patients face when accessing mental health services. Nahed completed an MA in translation studies where her focus was on understanding how the process of interpretation can impact the communication between health professionals and BAME patients. Recently, she has been awarded a PhD in translation studies and intercultural communication where her focus was on understanding the influences of language and culture on the expression of emotions and spiritual beliefs for Pakistani, Somali and Yemeni patients when accessing IAPT services in Sheffield area. Nahed aspires to deliver cultural awareness and intercultural communication workshops that can enable mental health professionals communicate and work effectively with patients from different cultural backgrounds.

Jason Brandon

Bio here

Jane Shears

Jane is a registered social worker having worked for most of her career in mental health, from primary care to secure care services. She qualified as an Approved Mental Health Professional (Approved Social Worker) in 1996 and a Best Interests Assessor in 2016. She has continued to practise in both roles regularly on a duty basis in Northamptonshire. In 2009 she completed a doctorate using participative action research with experts by experience co-researching the impact of the integration of social care with health in community mental health services. She completed an MA in Advanced Practice (Leadership in Mental Health Services) in 2016. Jane is the Northants link to the University of Birmingham AMHP programme, is a Practice Mentor Assessor for Stage 1 and Stage 2 candidates training to be AMHPs, and an assessor of candidate portfolios. She is also a qualified Practice Educator.

Since 2011, as a Visiting Lecturer with the University of Hertfordshire, Jane is a tutor on the online MSc Social Inclusion and Recovery in Mental Health, working on the Innovation, Leadership and Research Report modules. In her role as Head of Professional Development at the British Association of Social Work, Jane leads the Continuing Professional Development programme, ensuring the design, development, and delivery of a range of learning opportunities to members and the wider workforce across the UK. In addition, Jane is the Ethics Commissioner for the European region of the International Federation of Social Work.

The advisory group’s responsibilities include:

  • Attending quarterly advisory group meetings online
  • Suggesting any resource that may assist the project including academic. literature, key
  • policy, legislative and policy guidance.
  • Suggesting key contacts.
  • Reading and commenting on all processes and especially data collection. methods, analysis, and all produced tools.
  • Promoting the project.
  • Disseminating the work of the project during and after its lifetime.