I have been a senior consultant psychiatrist for more than a decade and have worked exclusively in the NHS for 24 years. My postgraduate qualifications are DRCOG and MRCPsych, with dual accreditation in Rehabilitation and General Adult Psychiatry. I’ve trained in Neurosurgery, Neurology and A&E plus vocational training for General Practice. I’ve worked in NHS wards, theatres and intensive care and seen a large variety of physical and psychological trauma. Through all my professional roles, and as a patient myself, I’ve appreciated what it is to be listened to and treated as an individual, not a ‘case.’
I’ve worked in both inpatient and community mental health settings, leading a multidisciplinary team in Aberdeen which supported people through hospital admission and into the community. In recent years I’ve worked entirely in the community, focusing on adult mental health in clinics, people’s homes and care homes around Dundee and Angus. My daily work involves meeting individuals who experience problems such as depression, anxiety or psychosis, often with underlying trauma. Sometimes people have complex problems, and need time to explain their experiences before we agree on a diagnosis and individual treatment plan. I will also assess the impact of physical, psychological and social problems on mental health, and whether a physical problem might explain symptoms, such as thyroid disease or the menopause. I can discuss the safest treatment options available in the context of existing physical problems, such as cardiac disease, and review the impact of medication.
I think it is a privilege to hear about people’s experiences and my work has shown me that people from all walks of life and economic backgrounds can experience mental health problems. I’ve met a diverse range of people and approach each assessment with an open mind. Sometimes I need a translator, and I think it is important to be aware of cultural and religious contexts. I believe people are not ‘a diagnosis’ but a diagnostic label, for all its pros and cons, can be useful to direct treatment and self-awareness, helping people and their families to research what has helped others with similar difficulties. My aim is to treat everyone to the same standard that I would expect for a member of my own family, with an individual, holistic and collaborative approach to mental wellbeing grounded in evidence-based treatment.
I realise there is much we don’t know when it comes to matters of the mind. In recent years my focus has been the assessment and treatment of individuals with PTSD, autism and ADHD, often those who have been mislabelled in their past or who have lived overseas in places where such conditions are misunderstood or unheard of. My current interests include environmental influences in the development and management of ADHD and ASD.