Meet the team

The EURIKHA project team

Current team

Diana Rose has been a mental health service user all her adult life and has had two academic careers. The first was as a conventional social scientist but that came to a sticky end. She spent ten years ‘living in the community’ and became involved in the survivor movement. She came back into research and brought together her two identities as a ‘service user researcher’ 20 years ago. First she worked in an NGO developing peer evaluation of mental health services and then she went to King’s College London where four years ago, much to her surprise, she was made Professor of User-Led Research.

Akriti Mehta is a survivor researcher and has experienced mental health services in India and the UK. Her experiences of mental distress and mental health services as well as the work of other users, survivors, and persons with psychosocial disabilities led her to critically re-examine what ‘madness’ meant. Akriti is particularly interested in movements led by users/survivors/people with psychosocial disability in the ‘global south’; and how they influence and are influenced by local and global shifts including legal reform, movement for global mental health, and the emergence of international networks of users/survivors/people with psychosocial disabilities.

Jayasree Kalathil is a London-based researcher, writer, translator and mental health activist with a background in literary and cultural studies. She runs Survivor Research, a virtual collective of independent survivor researchers. Her research focuses on the intersections between ‘race’, racialisation, gender, culture and madness. Jayasree leads the EURIKHA sub-project, Still We Rise, which explores the history of mental health user/survivor activism, advocacy and knowledge production by racialised groups/people of colour in the UK.

Aoife Sadlier is an academic, Zumba Fitness instructor, and global consultant for women’s and LGBTQIA+ organisations in Nepal.  Aoife’s main research interests are in user-led mental health; sport, culture and education for sustainable development; gender and sexuality studies; and participatory methodologies.  Her research career has seen her weave together various academic disciplines — Music, Psychosocial Studies, Culture and Media Studies and Dance — to develop creative concepts and methodologies.  Aoife’s involvement on the ‘New Development Frontiers’ project at Loughborough University saw her use her Zumba fitness practice as a way of connecting with diverse communities in Nepal, Timor-Leste and Cape Verde.  In particular, she worked with young women in Nepal to develop a dance/movement curriculum that explores the topic of gender-based violence.

Norha Vera San Juan is a social epidemiologist focused on mental health policy and service development, particularly applying research methods that promote stakeholder involvement. As part of her PhD she developed a measure of recovery as understood by Latin American mental health service users with the aim of challenging the traditional focus on clinical views and rather advocate for co-construction of knowledge to ensure the sustainable development of services. Currently she works as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the NIHR Mental Health Policy Research Unit. At EURIKHA, Norha works as a consultant and interpreter for the Latin American region.

Past team members

Liz Brosnan is a survivor researcher and sociologist. She started a career as a clinical psychologist, then experienced psychiatry first-hand for over a decade, both involuntarily and later more passively. A service user-led research project in 2000 launched another career as a researcher and activist. She has published work about power dynamics and conditions participation, the Irish user/survivor movement, and service-user involvement in education. She is also interested in socio-legal theory such as: informed consent, coercion, and rights-based frameworks. After almost 20 years of research, community activism, and advocacy in Ireland, she moved to London to work with Diana Rose on EURIKHA.

Ruth Silverleaf has worked on a range of community projects about sustainable activism based on systems of cooperative care, as a result of her experience as a mental health service user. Before becoming a user-researcher her academic background is in psychology and computer science. Ruth has also worked closely with communities responding to sexual/sexualised violence and abuse.

Alison Faulkner has experience as a mental health service user/survivor and researcher. As a service user, she has experience of acute wards, crisis services, psychotherapy and medication; and retains a lifetime ambition to reform acute mental health care. Her academic background started in psychology but worked its way around to mental health and survivor research, mainly through working in the voluntary sector. Her PhD is entitled ‘Knowing Our Own Minds: the role and value of experiential knowledge in mental health research’. She is self-employed and continues to work mainly in the voluntary sector.

Our collaborators

Peter Beresford works as Professor of Citizen Participation at the University of Essex. His central interest is participation, particularly that of people who get oppressed and excluded. He has long term experience of using mental health services and is Co-Chair of Shaping Our Lives, the independent national user-controlled service users and disabled people’s organisation and network. You can also reach Peter at where he is an Emeritus Professor of Social Policy.

Sarah Gordon Sarah Gordon has spent the last twenty years working and advocating for an improved mental health sector and societal perceptions of mental health from the perspective of a person with lived experience; most recently as a service user academic. Her recent research has focused on two themes, reducing discrimination associated with mental distress among medical students and the Police and promoting recovery-focused services and resources, in line with the recent major reorientation of service delivery models in mental health in New Zealand and internationally. Sarah has promoted the growth of the service user academia discipline in various ways and now leads New Zealand’s only service user academia team at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Michael Njenga is the Executive Director at Users and Survivors of Psychiatry in Kenya, an Executive Council member of the African Disability Forum and a board member at the National Council for Persons with Disabilities in Kenya. As a self-advocate he has been passionate in advocating for the right to legal capacity and an inclusive society where all persons with disabilities enjoy their human rights. He completed a fellowship with International Disability Alliance, participated in the drafting of policies related to implementing the CRPD in Kenya, and conducted research on legal capacity on behalf of Mental Disability Advocacy Center amongst his many initiatives. The focus of his current work is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—he is part of a technical team creating awareness on the SDGs and has participated in the SDGs civil society forum representing persons with disabilities.

Andrew Roberts, co-founder of the Survivors’ History Group, find out more at his website.

Alberto Vásquez is a Peruvian human rights lawyer and a disability activist. He works as research coordinator at the Office of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities. He is also the chair of Society and Disability (SODIS) and a member of the Latin-American Network of Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities, Users and Survivors of Psychiatry.