Rachel (Rai) Waddingham (Chair)
Rai is a freelance trainer and consultant whose aim is to create innovative and supportive responses to people who struggle with difficult voices, visions, realities and/or experiences. She has set up, and developed, projects working with children and young people who hear voices (inc Voice Collective) and people in prison.
Rai an executive committee member of ISPS (International Society for Psychological & Social Approaches to Psychosis). She speaks out in the media and has worked as an Open Dialogue practitioner, an approach she currently trains others in. She is also a PhD student, exploring survivor-led grassroots organising.
Rai works in this area because she lives it. She hears voices, sees visions and has a range of other experiences that led to her spending more than 14 years in the psychiatric system wearing a variety of diagnostic labels. Since first hearing about the Hearing Voices Movement in 2001, her life has transformed. She no longer sees herself as ‘severely and enduringly mentally ill’, but as a creative survivor of trauma. She views her voices, visions and beliefs as meaningful, albeit sometimes distressing, experiences. She lives a life that she loves, and feels lucky to do so.
Mark Allan (Vice Chair)
Mark is genuinely humbled to become a trustee of this network. It was not something he envisaged when he nervously started attending a Hearing Voices Group for the first time, or even when he more nervously began to facilitate one. From being involved in Hearing Voices Groups first hand, he knows how valuable spaces to share and explore our experiences are. He knows how powerful the understanding and empathy of supportive peers can be, too. He’s chuffed to be continuing his involvement with an organisation and wider movement that has really changed the dialogue around his own experiences in important ways, and is looking forward to contributing as a new trustee.
Akiko is really excited to be joining the HVN Board. For the last two years, she has been working at Mind in Camden as the London Hearing Voices Project Manager. As part of that job, she helps to set up, facilitate and support Hearing Voices Groups in the community, prisons, secure units and Immigration Removal Centre – as well as groups for young people who hear voices. She recently worked as the Director of Mental Heath Europe, and is really interested in developments across the EU and beyond. On both a personal and professional level, she feels the Hearing Voices Movement has changed her life. She is incredibly excited about meeting HVN members and working with everyone to consolidate and grow the network.
John has been a huge fan of the Hearing Voices Network, and all those who work so hard to make it happen, for a long time now. He feels it is a huge honour to join the board. John worked for nearly 20 years as a Clinical Psychologist and manager of mental health services in the UK and the USA, before joining the University of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1994, where he worked until 2013. He is now a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London.
John’s main research focus has been the relationship between adverse life events (eg child abuse/neglect, poverty etc.) and psychosis. But he also researches the negative effects of bio-genetic causal explanations on prejudice, the opinions and experiences of recipients of anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medication, and the role of the pharmaceutical industry in mental health research and practice.
He is on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis (www.isps.org), and is the Editor of the ISPS’s scientific journal ‘Psychosis’. He hopes to bring another pair of willing hands to help with the Board’s various tasks, and perhaps a focus on designing (with group facilitators and members) some research into Hearing Voices Groups if that is seen to be useful.
Giles Tinsley (Secretary)
Giles is an essential member of the trustees. In addition to being the charity’s secretary, he also undertakes great physical challenges to raise funds for our work. Last year, he travelled the length of the River Wye in only 3 days by canoe (a trip that usually takes 10 days!). In 2010 he completed the three peaks challenge, climbing the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in a mere 24 hour period. Giles has extensive experience of managing and developing services, but we’ll let him tell you about that later. Check back for more details.