Meet theTeam


Hello, let us introduce ourselves.

We are a group of researchers working in City University London, Cardiff University and Swansea University.

Professor Alan Simpson

Alan Simpson is a Professor of Collaborative Mental Health Nursing at the Centre for Mental Health Research, City University London. He is particularly interested in whether increased user involvement in mental health practice can enhance the lived experience of mental health service users, aid recovery and improve outcomes.  He has managed a number of research projects in acute and community mental health services including a recent trial of peer support for people being discharged from mental health wards, which is now being rolled out across East London NHS Foundation Trust. Alan works collaboratively with service users and carers in research, as well as in shaping and delivering the mental health nursing curriculum at City. He is a co-founder and facilitator of the Service User and Carer Group Advising on Research (SUGAR), which in June 2014 won an award from the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE) for its work. He is a qualified mental health nurse and a big fan of Twitter. You can follow him on Twitter @cityalan.

Dr Ben Hannigan

Ben Hannigan has lived and worked in South Wales since 1997, and is now a Reader in Mental Health Nursing in the School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University. He is interested in policy, services and work in mental health systems, and has completed research and published widely in these areas. He is also an experienced teacher, and for many years ran a full-time course for community mental health nurses.

You can read his blog here.

Dr Michael Coffey

Michael Coffey is a registered mental health nurse and academic at Swansea University. His research interests centre on examining multiple perspectives of service delivery and organisation in mental health settings. Michael is also chair of the scientific committee of the Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference.

Please visit the Mental Health Nurse Academics UK blog here.


Dr Aled Jones

Jones_AledFollowing training at South Glamorgan Health Authority (Registered Mental Health Nurse) and Cardiff University (BN (Hons), RN (Adult) Aled worked in various mental health and general nursing roles. In 1997 he joined Swansea University as a Tutor (Nursing) whilst undertaking a Masters in Social Research Methods at SOCAS, Cardiff University. This led to completing a PhD (Nursing/Medical Sociology) in 2005 focusing on patient assessment and interaction between nurses and patients being admitted to acute hospital beds. Following post-doctoral studies as a RCBC (Wales) Fellow (2007-2009) he joined the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University in 2011.

Aled’s research interests are predominantly in the areas of quality and safety in nursing care. Current projects including PhD supervision (e.g. patient involvement in safer surgery) and as co- or principal investigator on research projects focusing on areas such as how nurses raise concerns about mistreatment of older people and the development of a quality improvement programme during the induction of Junior Doctors. He has been awarded competitive grant funding from several national funding bodies e.g. NISCHR, NHS Wales, ESRC Seminar Series programme, NIHR HS&DR programme, The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales and The Health Foundation. Internationally he has worked on research projects with colleagues from Hong Kong (HKPU) and Sweden (Jonkoping University) and is currently co-authoring a module on “Patient Stories” (with Dr Andy Carson-Stevens) on behalf of the IHI Open School (Boston, Mass.).

Ms Alison Faulkner

AlisonAlison Faulkner has personal experience as a user of mental health services and a background in research and training. She has experience of leading and supporting research from a service user/survivor perspective and of enabling and supporting service users to become involved in research. She is currently undertaking a PhD at City University London, in addition to her consultation role on the COCAPP/COCAPP-A projects.


Dr Sally Barlow

Sally Barlow is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research, City University London, and is the Project Manager of the COCAPP-A project, having played a significant role in coordinating the COCAPP project. She began her research career in Behavioural Neuroscience.  After working at a molecular level investigating depression and anxiety she made the move to healthcare research where her work focused on body image disturbances and social difficulties. Following this she was appointed as a Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing at Bradford University.  She returned back to research full-time at City University London in early 2013 to join the COCAPP study and continues to enjoy some ‘odd job’ lecturing duties. Her main areas of research remain in the field of mental health specifically relating to recovery. 

Dr Jitka Všetečková

 Jitka Všetečková is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Health and Social Care at the Open University. Her main research interests  are in the fields of recovery focused care planning for mental health service users and ageing, particularly in preventing falls in older people through exercise. She is also involved in projects that support the development of an evidence base for the use of eHealth applications and communications strategies that affect health behaviours and related health outcomes. Jitka is also working on an evaluation of a programme that supports newly qualified mental health nurses (The Preceptorship Study).

Dr Mark Haddad

Mark-Haddad-2Mark is a registered mental health nurse and a Senior Lecturer in Mental Health at City University London. His main research interests are within clinical research and epidemiology focusing on depression and common mental disorders, the relationship between physical and mental health problems, and developing and evaluating educational interventions for clinicians. Recent projects include developing and evaluating a collaborative care intervention for prisoners with common mental health problems; and improving the physical health of people with serious mental illness in forensic inpatient mental health settings.


Dr Karl Marlowe

Karl cropped 2Karl Marlowe is a Consultant Psychiatrist, Clinical Director for Adult Mental Health in Tower Hamlets Adult and a Governing Board Member of Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group at NHS Barnet. He also lectures at Queen Mary, University of London and City University London. Karl’s main interests are schizophrenia, addictions, offenders’ health, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the development of new services, clinical governance, and value-based commissioning.



 Ms Alex Thornton

AlexAlex Thornton is the Research Administrator on the COCAPP-A project. Alex has a psychology background, and has eight years’ experience of working in acute and community mental health settings. She has previously worked on the Health After Birth Trial, evaluating the effectiveness of a self-help intervention in improving mental and physical health outcomes for postnatal women, and is currently working as a Research Assistant on the Wellbeing in Pregnancy project, evaluating a wellbeing plan aimed at improving women’s mental health during pregnancy.


Ms Katherine Barrett

Katherine Barrett has been involved in service user mental health research for the last five and a half years. She has worked on the REAL and CIRCLE projects at University College London (UCL) and was the Patient Public Involvement co-ordinator at the Mental Health Reseach Network for two years. She is Service User Chair of the Service User Research Forum at UCL.

Katherine has been involved in COCAPP and COCAPP-A for the last 18 months. During this time, she has interviewed service users and carers about their experiences of the service user’s care plan. She will also be involved in the analysis of the data at a later stage.

“It is a great project to work on and I really enjoy being part of mental health research.”

Mr John Tear

John Tear headshotJohn Tear is a service user with experience of mental health issues. John has an interest in research that spans many years. He is a Service User Researcher on both COCAPP and COCAPP-A. John is a Mental Health Peer Champion for Voiceability (a third sector advocacy agency) and a Non-Governor Service User Representative for the involvement committee of the local mental health Trust. He has supported research undertaken between Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire into the service provided by crisis and home treatment services and has trained as a service user researcher. This work was included in a book entitled Through the Glass Darkly. John has been a member of the local PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) group and attended the Nottingham Insititute of Mental Health PPI group until the dismantling of the Mental Health Research Network (MHRN). John has a wide range of interests, from cricket to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), and is happy to discuss these with anyone.

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