Commission Members

Find out more about our Commission members and their backgrounds.

Commission Members

Professor Paul Burstow - Chair

Paul Burstow

Professor Paul Burstow is leading the Mental Health Policy Commission at the University of Birmingham. A former public servant with over 25 years of experience, Professor Burstow was the Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam between 1997 and 2015. During his time in the House of Commons, Professor Burstow served as Minister of State for Care Services from 2010 to 2012 under the Coalition. While in post, he was responsible for developing the government's mental health strategy, 'No Health Without Mental Health', as well as crafting the legislation that later became the Care Act in 2014.

Susanna Abse

Susanna AbseSusanna Abse is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who has recently co-founded The Balint Consultancy.  She served as CEO of Tavistock Relationships from 2006 – 2016 where she worked extensively with successive governments on family policy with a particular focus on the inter-relationship between family relationships, mental health and children’s outcomes. She currently serves on the Executive Board of the British Psychoanalytic Council and is a Fellow of the Centre for Social Policy.

She has published widely on couple relationships and family policy and how these need to be at the heart of progressive welfare provision, a subject on which she also lectures and teaches widely. She is a Member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Couple and Family Psychoanalysis, and Joint Editor of the Karnac Books Imprint "Couple and Family Psychoanalysis".

As a specialist in parenting and couple psychotherapy, she has developed new approaches to diminish destructive inter-parental conflict over parenting styles and issues, with a particular focus on post-separation challenges which impact on children’s wellbeing.

Andy Bell

Andy BellAndy Bell is Deputy Chief Executive at Centre for Mental Health. Previously working for the King's Fund, he joined the Centre in 2002. He is a member of the Mental Health Policy Group and was chair of the Mental Health Alliance between 2006 and 2008. Andy has carried out research on the implementation of national mental health policies and on local mental health needs assessments. He writes a regular blog on mental health policy for the Huffington Post.

Professor Dame Carol Black DBE, FRCP, FMedSci

Professor Dame Carol BlackProfessor Dame Carol Black DBE, FRCP, FMedSci is Principal of Newnham College Cambridge and Expert Adviser on Health and Work to NHS England and Public Health England. She chairs the Board of Think Ahead, the Government’s new fast-stream training programme for Mental Health Social Workers, and the RSSB’s Health and Wellbeing Policy Group. She is a member of the Welsh Government’s Parliamentary Review of Health and Social Care in Wales and Bevan Commission on health in Wales, the board of UK Active, Rand Europe’s Council of Advisers, PwC’s Health Industries Oversight Board, and the Advisory Board of Step up to Serve. As Principal of Newnham she is on several committees in Cambridge University, for example the Advisory Board of the Centre for Science and Public Policy, and is one of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors.

In November 2011, when National Director for Health and Work, she completed as Co-Chair an independent review for the UK Government of sickness absence in Britain. The recommendations of this report are now being put in place, with for example a national Fit for Work Service. She is now finishing a further independent review for the Government, of employment outcomes of addiction to drugs or alcohol, or obesity, and the benefits system.

Professor Black is a past President of the Royal College of Physicians, of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, and of the British Lung Foundation, and past-Chair of the Nuffield Trust for health policy. The Centre she established at the Royal Free Hospital in London is internationally renowned for research and treatment of connective tissue diseases such as scleroderma. She is a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery, of the Work Foundation, and of Uppingham School.

In February 2016, Dame Carol enjoyed the experience of being interviewed on BBC Radio’s Desert Island Discs.

Tom K J Craig PhD FRCPsych

Tom K J CraigTom K J Craig PhD FRCPsych is Emeritus Professor of Social & Community Psychiatry at King’s College, London Institute of Psychiatry, and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. He qualified in medicine at the University of the West Indies and trained in psychiatry in Nottingham UK. His clinical research activities focus on developing and evaluating community-based psychiatric services and the promotion of these solutions at a National and International level. These programmes have included the development of residential alternatives to the hospital asylum, specialised services for homeless mentally ill people, supported employment and Clubhouse programmes, Early Intervention services for first episode psychosis and the SHARP (social inclusion, hope and recovery project) team. He is the immediate past president of the World Association for Social Psychiatry.

Jacqui Dyer

jacqui-dyer-230x230-2Jacqui was educated at London universities, where she completed post graduate research in decision-making within children’s’ social care services. Currently an independent health and social care consultant with a background in adult mental health commissioning as well as community and family social work. Jacqui has worked with a wide range of vulnerable care groups and has a strong passion in grass roots community empowerment.

As an experienced counsellor, trainer, personal and professional development coach and group facilitator, Jacqui brings many dimensions to her insights. As a mental service user and carer for the past few decades Jacqui’s experiential knowledge of mental health services is extensive. Currently she is a senior management board lived experience advisor for the DH national mental health ‘Time To Change’ anti-stigma and discrimination campaign.

Additionally Jacqui is an appointed member of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Mental Health chaired by the Minister for Care and Support, which oversees the implementation of the national mental health strategy and a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group for Equalities in Mental Health.

Recently Jacqui was vice chair of England’s mental health Taskforce, is currently the Mental Health Equalities lead for NHS England and co-chairs the emerging Mayoral Mental Health Road Map for London. Jacqui is also an elected Lambeth Labour Councillor where she is also a vice chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Heather Henry

heather-henry-230x230Heather is an independent nurse who, over the last four years, has worked at the cutting edge of 21st century primary care, and has been named as one of the 48 most inspirational nurse leaders in the country. Heather was nominated by readers of Nursing Times and was selected by an independent panel of national nurse leaders in the four nations of the UK.

Heather trained at Manchester Royal Infirmary and worked for the majority of her career as a nurse and then manager in the NHS, before starting her own business Brightness Management four years ago with the aim of offering ‘a few bright ideas for health and social care’.Her focus is on social innovation – new approaches to help the most disadvantaged in society. She works in equal partnership with communities across the UK to build community spirit and help local people to help themselves.

A former director of primary care, Heather is currently the elected co-vice chair of the NHS Alliance, where she leads on primary care’s contribution to health inequalities, with a particular focus in housing and health. A former practice nurse, she has recently established the NHS Alliance national network for general practice nurses alongside fellow nurse Louise Brady, and the network is gaining ground fast. Heather is trustee for an award-winning Greater Manchester charity CALLPlus, which offers emotional and practical support to people with cancer and other life limiting illnesses.

She was recognised in 2013 by the Queen’s Nursing Institute, an organisation that drives forward nursing outside hospitals, for her leadership ability in community nursing and now holds the honorary title of ‘Queen’s Nurse’.

In her home town of Sale, Heather volunteers her time as a community ambassador, as co-chair of Sale Locality Partnership, where local people and services come together to make the Sale area a better place. Of her leadership skills she says ‘I start off at the front and end up at the back’.

Cynthia Joyce

Cynthia JoyceCynthia Joyce is the Chief Executive of the major new research charity MQ: Transforming Mental Health.  In addition to supporting research to improve the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of mental illness, the charity also advocates for improved awareness and understanding of the importance of mental health in our society. 

In past years, Cynthia has served as Executive Director of the SMA Foundation in New York City and Executive Director of the American Academy of Neurology Foundation in Minneapolis; she has also held positions in industry at Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis) and Cephalon. She holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MS from the University of Minnesota.

Twitter: @CJoyceMQ

Commission Advisers

Dr Karen Newbigging

Dr Karen NewbiggingDr Karen Newbigging is a Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Policy and Management in the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham, and former National Lead for Gender Equality and Women's Mental Health at the Care Services Improvement Partnership.

Professor Jerry Tew

Professor Jerry TewProfessor Jerry Tew is Professor of Mental Health and Social Work and Director of the Family Potential Research Centre at the University of Birmingham. He is currently leading a Department of Health funded evaluation of preventative approaches in social care.

Benjamin Costello

Benjamin CostelloBenjamin Costello is a Doctoral Researcher and Teaching Associate based in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include the philosophy of psychiatry and models of prevention and intervention. He is the Research Associate to the Mental Health Policy Commission.