Volunteer vacancies: Youth Advisors

The Mental Health Collective is currently running a new programme, Self-Defence Through Humour, which aims to support young people to defend themselves against threats to their mental health, using humour.  With an innovation award from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we are in the process of piloting the programme in a number of secondary schools.

We are recruiting for volunteer Youth Advisors to assist with the project.  Their role is to help us design the Self-Defence Through Humour programme so it as engaging and valuable as possible for young people.

About the Youth Advisor roles

This volunteer role is designed to be compatible with the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award, but would be suitable for any young person looking to gain experience in the not-for-profit or mental health sector.

Tasks will include:

  • Assisting with research, both online and offline
  • Testing materials and giving feedback
  • Working as part of a team to develop ideas
  • Highlighting key issues and resources
  • Supporting marketing work

About you

We are looking for people who are:

  • Aged 13 or 14 (Year 9)
  • Confident to share opinions
  • Able to work well in a team
  • Contactable by phone

Lived experience of mental health difficulties is a positive asset for the role.  We are seeking to recruit young people from a range of different backgrounds, including those who have faced disadvantage in their lives.

You can apply on your own, or with a friend.

Practicalities and commitment

The role involves a one hour commitment each week, over either a 3 month or a 6 month period.

Youth Advisors will meet as a group in Archway, N19, once a week after school during term time (exact time and date tbc).

Next steps

If you are interested in becoming a Youth Advisor (either as an individual or with a friend), or would like to enquire on behalf of your child, please write a short email to amy@mentalhealthcollective.org.uk.

Mental Health Collective to chair topic group for the Mental Health Act Review

Founder and Director of the Mental Health Collective, Dr Amy Pollard, has been asked to chair the Dignity and Safety Group for the Mental Health Act Review.

Dr Pollard said:

“The independent review of the Mental Health Act, commissioned by the Prime Minister, is a once-in-a generation opportunity to shape legislation and practice which holds the ultimate power over people facing a mental health crisis.

It is an honour to have been asked by Prof. Sir Simon Wessely to chair the Dignity and Safety topic group – drilling down on the Mental Health Act and the structures around it can be reshaped to address the appalling sense of dehumanisation, indignity and disrespect that a high proportion of people under section experience.

The group’s work comes at a particularly poignant time for me – exactly two years after I was sectioned myself.

The topic group brings together eminent representatives who have lived experience of the Act themselves, the BAME community, CQC, NHSI,  mental health trusts, academia, psychiatry, charities and community services, alongside a secretariat from the Department of Health and Social Care.  Together, we are determined that the Mental Health Act Review seizes every possible opportunity to bring greater dignity, safety and humanity into the lives of people in mental health crisis.”

Facilitating strategy with Hertfordshire Mind

It’s been a great pleasure to work with Hertfordshire Mind over the last few months, supporting them in a facilitated process to develop their organisational strategy.

In a partnership between Mental Health Collective and the Innovation Unit, Nick Webb (@drnwebb) and I delivered a series of three workshops – first with staff members, then with the board of trustees, and finally bringing all stakeholders together.  Through this process we supported the development of an organisational strategy rooted in the expertise of the whole team and energised by their collective vision.

It’s been fascinating and humbling to see the hidden treasures emerge through this process.  We heard the passion and commitment that Herts Mind staff bring to their work; the innovative thinking at board level; and saw the power of this collective team to address problems and carve out a new direction for the future.

More than ever, it reinforced my conviction that when people with diverse forms of expertise are able to meaningfully connect with one another, there is no end to the surprising ways that challenges can be unlocked.


I was delighted to feature on Ditch the Small Talk, a podcast hosted by the marvellous Denean Rowe, discussing the Mental Health Collective, Self-Defence Through Humour and, of course, the importance of dauphinoise potatoes.

Fellows of the Mental Health Collective

This New Years Day, we are delighted to recognise the following people as Fellows of the Mental Health Collective:

Claire Barcham FMHC
Andy Bell FMHC
Mark Brown FMHC

Dave Chawner FMHC
Samantha Child FMHC
Paul Crawford FMHC
Anthony Deery FMHC
Anselm Eldergill FMHC
Alex Evans FMHC
Kim Forrester FMHC
Steve Gilbert FMHC
Richard Grange FMHC
Raf Hamaizia FMHC
Sarah Hughes FMHC
Seth Hunter FMHC
Kate King FMHC
Hannah Lewis FMHC
Karen Linde FMHC
Millie Macdonald FMHC
Chris Naylor FMHC
Chris O’Sullivan FMHC
Russell Razzaque FMHC
Vicky Romback FMHC
Cal Strode FMHC
Tutiette Thomas FMHC
Nick Webb FMHC

Simon Wessely FMHC