Dr Alan Cooklin is a family Psychiatrist, working with the Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. With a team of professionals he pioneered the Kidstime workshop model as a way to help the children of parents with mental illness to understand their parent’s illness, to feel less responsible for the illness, and less fearful of ‘catching’ it. With others in the team he has produced a training film and pack for professionals – ‘Being Seen and Heard’, as well as an online film for children and young people – ‘When a Parent Has a Mental Illness.’ With Dr Leonard Fagin -who runs the Hackney Kidstime workshop with Deni Francis – and together with the Anna Freud Centre, he is setting up a major national research study to examine the effects of the workshops on both the children and their families. He has also been instrumental in developing the ‘Who Cares?’ project.
“I have always been aware that a thin line separates strange family behaviour (of my early family) from mental illness. Then as I trained I realised that the contemporary model of psychiatry isolated the ill individual both psychologically and socially, and took little or no account of the mutual influence of family and other close relationships. After 35 years trying to make good this deficiency, I realised that the most vulnerable members of the family – the children – were still left out. Kidstime, ‘Who cares ?’ and the work of the Foundation are spear-heading a response to meet the needs of these neglected children and their families”
Dr Leonard Fagin is a Consultant Psychiatrist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at University College London. He runs a Kidstime Workshop in the London Borough of Hackney, as well as offering parental mental health supervision in Hackney Children and Young Peoples Services. He also works with the Anna Freud Centre in the Family Assessment Service providing multidisciplinary reports for Family Courts. He is a Second Opinion Appointed Doctor for the Care Quality Commission and a Lord Chancellor’s Visitor for the Office of the Public Guardian. He has authored books and papers on a variety of subjects including the effects of unemployment, of burnout in mental health professionals, on how to improve therapeutic environments in in-patient settings and care of people with personality disorders.
“As a consultant psychiatrist working for many years in deprived areas of East London I was able to see the transgenerational impact of mental health in families. Helping children to develop resilience when having to cope and respond to parental mental illness offers an opportunity to break this cycle for future generations. The Kidstime Foundation has as its aims the creation and dissemination of interventions that can aid in this process, and as a trustee I welcome the opportunity of making a contribution in this much needed arena.”
Chineye Njoku has been a young carer of a parent with mental illness for most of her life. She was originally a young person’s member of the Kidstime workshops, and is now (and has pioneered the role) an ‘experience counsellor’, using her own past experiences to help other young people with a parent with mental illness. She has recently started a new TeenTalk Kidstime group, with Deni Francis, for older young people who have a parent with mental illness. She has completed a biomedical science degree, MSc in Mental health: Psychological therapies, post graduate in low intensity cognitive behaviour therapy and intends to continue with post-graduate studies. She currently works in the field of mental health. Chineye has managed to combine her work and family life with acting as both a pioneer advocate for the needs of these children and young people as well as giving professional presentations to different groups in the UK and Norway.
Dr Guinevere Tufnell: After training as a doctor and then a psychiatrist, Guinevere worked in a wide variety of mental health services before becoming a child and family psychiatrist. After practicing as consultant psychiatrist in a busy East London clinic for many years she left to become consultant psychiatrist with the child and family unit of The Traumatic Stress Clinic in Central London. The TSC moved to Great Ormond Street Hospital in 2005, where Guinevere specialised in assessing and treating children and families who had been psychologically traumatised as a result of experiencing violence, abuse and bereavement. Her work included consultation, training, teaching, and medico- legal work. She has a longstanding interest in improving the general understanding of mental health issues, and has collaborated on numerous “public education” leaflets and media information projects for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. She instigated and was commissioning editor for Mental Health & Growing Up – a series of factsheets – available on the Royal College’s website – for parents, teachers and young people. She has also published articles on a variety of topics relating to child mental health. She also worked for many years on the telephone advice line for parents run by the child mental health charity YoungMinds, for which she was also a Trustee.
“I wish Kidstime groups had existed when I was working with children and families in East London. They would have been so valuable because Kidstime provides a unique opportunity for children and young people to boost their understanding and shrink their fears about mental illness. It’s a safe space where they can share information with each other and with family members – and feel stronger and more confident about how to get help if they need it.”
Ambeya Begum is currently studying Banking and Finance at University and has been volunteering for over a year as The Kidstime Foundation’s young helper. Her ongoing support has also been recognised in her role in the NHS as an NHS Changemaker. Part of her responsibilities consist of being a voice on behalf of young people; have young carers recognised and helping the NHS manage their social return on investment. As a young carer herself of a parent with mental illness, Ambeya’s passion in helping others is reflected through her contribution to the charity. She provides ongoing support to young people in the monthly workshops and has proactive involvement in the Who Cares Project; giving recommendations from her own personal experiences. Ambeya feels that she needs to give something back to the community and has volunteered to take part in a sponsored Great Wall of China Walk in September 2015, which she hopes will help raise money for our current projects.
“Working for the Kidstime Foundation is always an amazing, yet overwhelming experience for me. Having never had a Kidstime Workshop experience whilst growing up, I take it as an obligation on my behalf to prevent others experiencing a tough childhood. Seeing a smile on a child’s face when they leave a Kidstime Workshop is one the most rewarding experiences.”
Claire Johnston has been a Director of Nursing, operating on NHS Mental Health and Community Trust boards for 15 years, with responsibility for nursing and allied health professionals as well as quality improvement programmes, clinical risk, human resources and organisational development. She has also worked in clinical and operational service roles in family and mental health and safeguarding, and then took up a role as the Royal College of Nursing’s National Advise in Primary Care. She also worked as a policy adviser in the Chief Nursing Officer’s team on nursing in primary care and school health. Claire is currently on secondment to Capital Nurse, which is a London wide programme to get nursing right – meaning the right number of nurses, with the right skills in the right place – working to deliver person-centred nursing to users wherever it is needed. Claire is an honorary clinical professor of nursing at Middlesex University’s Institute of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work. She edited a book on new models of mental health practice in 2012. In 2015/16 she was a Florence Nightingale scholar and carried out a study on the benefits of ‘under the surface’ coaching for student nurses and new qualifiers, to support them with the complex emotions they face on a daily basis in their work with patients and their families.
“Directly working with families where a parent suffers with mental ill health, as well as managing front line teams in health and care, I have seen first hand the devastating impact on children’s lives. Children of a parent with mental illness are astonishingly creative and courageous – taking on young carer roles with their mum or dad which would defeat many an adult. But this is often at great expense as their chances to do well at school, to build friendships and to grow into well balanced adults are diminished.”
Louise has had a successful career as a PR and communications consultant and has worked across many different organisations. She is also an executive coach and founder of her own company Eidyia Ltd. She is Director with Remarkable Group who deliver professional PR advice, public affairs, digital, creativity and content and has recently been ranked in the top two independent agencies in the UK. She is also a Visiting Lecturer, Regent’s University, London in Media and PR and Board Trustee at London Youth.
“I believe that each generation has an obligation to pass on to the next a world that features an improved level of well-being and greater equality of opportunity. The Kidstime Foundation works with a group of children and young people who, because they are not widely recognised as having very specific support needs, may struggle to grow up healthy and achieve their potential. With deceptively modest, but very effective, interventions, it is clear to me that Kidstime can make a real difference to future generations. I am delighted to have the opportunity to become a trustee and hope to make a contribution to Kidstime’s continued growth.”
Rosemary is a qualified accountant who has worked in a number of different sectors for both private companies and not-for-profit organisations at board level. She has commercial experience combined with strong accounting and reporting skills.
Esther has worked with Kidstime Foundation for the past 5 years as a project
manager and project developer. Esther has a BA and MA in Visual Media and
has worked with Alan over the past 10 years creating films around his work
with Children of a Parent with a Mental Illness, including many that can be
seen on the website. She has played a key role in developing the Kidstime
material and resources for use in schools and with professionals. She has
also worked closely with our founder Alan Cooklin to develop films and
written materials for the children. She has been the project manager for our
Who Cares? project material and pilot, and project lead on a range of work
with our communications, online portal, training materials and materials to
support the work we do with children. Esther was a Company Director at
Team Media Management where she worked as a production manager and
editor on projects for both the corporate and NGO sector creating films and
online learning projects in training and wellbeing.
“Over the past 5 years I have enjoyed seeing the work of Kidstime make a
difference to families and children and would like to see it become more
widely available to ensure more families benefit. I’m excited about the next 5
years for the charity.”
Naomi is the co-director of a Communications Agency specialising in PR, Marketing, Social Media and Events within publishing and the arts. She is also the co-founder of the COR Collective, a training school offering courses in public speaking, confidence and resilience. She contacted Kidstime and asked to be involved as both her parents have struggled with mental health issues. The workshops are something she wishes she’d had access to as a child. She is leveraging her PR skills and networks to organise a series of events and activities to raise funds and awareness for the cause.