Dr Sandy Walker, PhD, BSc, RMN, Dip.mus, Dip NLP, IMF, PCAP, PGDip
I have been a professional in the arena of mental health since 1989. In 2009 I founded Sanity Books, when I was driven to do something positive to address the issues I saw surrounding mental health in children. The Sanity Company was founded in March 2011
As the Sanity Company grows it's mandate is clear, mental health matters!
Whilst I have avoided working directly with children in mental healthcare, I have raised 4 wonderful children (now all grown up) and lots of step-children so I have gathered a plethora of experience in dealing with child development and young people’s wellbeing.
Throughout my career I have consistently worked towards improving the landscape of mental health care for the people receiving and delivering care within it. For the past 7 years I have been working as a Lecturer in Mental Health with a special interest in creative and community approaches to mental distress.
My clinical and published expertise covers the areas of:
- Emergency mental healthcare;
- Self-harm and suicide;
- Network use in self-management in mental health;
- Clinical decision making and risk assessment;
- The role of the arts in healthcare (Health Humanities)
- and mental wellbeing within communities.
I have been in clinical practice for 30 years as a Registered Mental Health Nurse from staff nurse to Modern Matron.
My areas of clinical practice include:
- Acute mental health;
- Older person’s mental health;
- Substance misuse;
- Acquired brain injury;
- Forensic psychiatry;
- Rehabilitation and
- Liaison psychiatry.
I am Co-Founder director of the Good Mental Health Cooperative (GMHC) which aims to
- Provide volunteering and training / development opportunities for people recovering from mental ill-health and emotional distress.
- To create opportunities for the voices of those with mental health issues to be aired and heard.
- To campaign for better public understanding of good mental health through courses, workshops, publications, print and on-line media and broadcasting opportunities.
- To support health and social care staff working with vulnerable people to better understand how to build mental resilience and emotional health, both for themselves and for those they work with.
I have often, clinically, as a leader and as a lecturer, been called inspirational particularly because of the way I have dealt with barriers to dealing with distress both within the NHS and in the community.
The ability to keep the person in need at the centre of the work is key to this as providing environments and atmospheres that promote compassionate care are best for both patients and clinicians.
Helping others to develop is one of the most enjoyable things I have discovered throughout my career whether they be patients, student nurses, GPs, university students, members of staff, young people etc….
I am a member of the International Health Humanities Advisory Board and a Fellow of the Health Education Academy.
I was nominated for a Doctoral College Directors Award in 2016 and have received a Vice Chancellors award for education, 2013, and an award for academic excellence from the previous Dean of the Faculty 2015.
In 2016 I was nominated, and runner up, for a Doctoral College award for Engagement and Outreach.
Thesis topic: How do patients who have self-harmed experience contact with mental health services whilst in a general hospital? – methodology: Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) – semi-structured interviews of people within 2 weeks of admission to acute hospital
Mobilising valued activities and resources to support mental health recovery and well-being through social network mapping :Publication in Health Expectations Journal. Interrogated the data with the question: How do people with long-term mental health problems negotiate relationships with different network members at times of crisis?- An inductive approach to thematic analysis was taken contextualised within a critical realist paradigm. Data comprised audio recordings and verbatim transcripts of twenty-five semi-structured interviews; field notes taken at the time of interviews and the network map/s completed at the time by each participant.
Navigating and linking networks of support to preference elicitation and connecting to resources: A feasibility study of recovery support intervention for people with mental health conditions - The aim of this study is to look at a tool called GENIE which is currently used to help people with long term health conditions consider support from their social networks, and to assess its suitability for use in mental health settings. Focus groups.
100 years of mental health care in Hampshire – evaluation of a community project: Ethics approval gained, now in data collection - The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a community based heritage project on personal development and wellbeing. Phenomenological Ethnography.
MSc Students Supervised
- ‘What factors promote the engagement of adult offenders in therapeutic intervention?’ –Literature review, passed 2016 with merit.
- ‘A qualitative study exploring the experiences of nurses caring for patients with psychological distress in the Intensive Care Unit.’ – IPA study – passed with distinction
- ‘To investigate the physical and mental effects to users of synthetic cannabinoids and any treatments used within the Emergency Department.’ – Case series analysis - passed
- ‘Duty of Care? Responding to Self-Harm in Physiotherapy Patients’ – thematic analysis of semi-structured interviews – passed with distinction
- Thought suppression in individuals with treatment-refractory depression – analysis of questionnaires and self-assessments (Quantitative) – passed
- Do ideas of masculinity effect men seeking help for suicidal ideation ? - Literature review – Passed with merit
- ‘How is the Mental Health Act assessment experienced from the perspective of the service user?’ – phenomenology. Ethical approval gained. Data collection underway
HEW Wessex Transition Awards
- Exploring the experiences of nurses caring for patients with psychological distress in the critical care unit – preparing PhD proposal.
- Harrison, R. A. E., Walker, S. & Green, A.,(2021), (Early online) Exploring the benefits of group reflection on mental health issues for trauma nurses Mental Health Practice.
- Blakley, L., Asher, C., Etherington, A., Maher, J., Wadey, E., Walsh, V. & Walker, S., (2021) (Early online) `Waiting for the verdict': the experience of being assessed under the Mental Health Act "Journal of Mental Health."
- McKenna, G., Rogers, A., Walker, S. & Pope, C., (2020) The influence of personal communities in understanding avoidable emergency department attendance: qualitative study "BMC Health Services Research".
- Walker, S. Kennedy, A., Vassilev, I. & Rogers, A., (2018) How do people with long-term mental health problems negotiate relationships with network members at times of crisis? "Health Expectations".
- Walker, S., (2018), Involving people who self-harm in research design. "Journal of Nursing Research"
- Walker, S. C., Cox, R. & Barber, C. (2018) "Mental Wealth Trialogues: Project Report" - Portsmouth: Good Mental Health Cooperative
- Walker S, Wilson J (2018) Using interactive theatre in education to explore how healthcare decision-making can cause inadvertent trauma Mental Health Practice.
- Walker S. (2018) Involving People who Self-Harm in Research Design. The Journal of Nursing Research.20(1): 68-70
- Walker S, Kennedy A, Vassilev I, Rogers A (2017) How do people with long-term mental health problems negotiate relationships with network members at time of crisis? Health Expectations. 1-11
- Wilson J. Walker S. (2017) Turning a crisis into an interactive drama: An introductory paper of a ‘clickers theatre’ in nurse education. Nurse Education Today. 51:109-111
- Brooks H, Rushton K, Walker S, Lovell K Rogers A. (2016) Ontological security and connectivity provided by pets: A study in the self-management of the everyday lives of people diagnosed with a long-term mental health condition. BMC Psychiatry.
- Walker S. Paton R. (2014) Lifemusic as an aid to recovery in a forensic mental health setting. Journal of Psychiatric Intensive Care. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1742646414000089
- Burrows, Emma and Walker, Sandra (2013) Developing a critiquing tool for expert opinion. Working Papers in the Health Sciences, 1, (3)
- Cleeve, Gary and Walker, Sandra (2013) Can Using a Communication Tool within the Emergency Department Enhance Verbal Interactions between Nurses and Patients with Moderate Cognitive Impairment related to Dementia? Working Papers in the Health Sciences, 1 (4)
- Walker, Sandra (2012) Using self-audit to improve nurses’ record keeping. Nursing Times , 108
- Walker, Sandra, Carpenter, Diane and Middlewick, Yvonne (2013) Assessment and decision making in mental health nursing , London, GB, Sage,
- Walker, S. C., (2022) Foreword. "Understanding Mental Health Practice for Adult Nursing Students". Trenoweth, S. (ed.). First ed. London: Learning Matters (Transforming Nursing Practice Series).
- Walker, S. C. (2022) Responding to a mental health crisis. in: "Understanding Mental Health Practice for Adult Nursing Students." Trenoweth, S. (ed.). 1st ed. London: Learning Matters p. 96-106 (Transforming Nursing Practice Series).
- Walker, Sandra (2016) Foreword in Trenoweth S (Ed) Promoting Recovery in Mental Health Nursing. London, Sage.
- Walker, Sandra (2016) Foreword in Roberts M. Critical Thinking and Reflection for Mental Health Nursing Students. London, GB. Sage
- Walker, Sandra (2015) Foreword in. Mutsatsa S. Physical Healthcare and Promotion in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB. Sage
- Walker, Sandra (2014) Foreword. In, Walker S (ed) Psychosocial Interventions in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB, Sage.
- Walker Sandra, Neal Dorothy (2014) Getting it right: The service user perspective. in Walker Sandra (Ed) Engagement and therapeutic communication in mental health nursing. London, GB. SAGE
- Walker, Sandra (2013) Foreword. In, Wales, Phillip and Murphy, Richard (eds.) Mental Health Law in Nursing. London, GB, Sage.
- Walker, Sandra (2013) The self-harm spectrum. In, Baker, Charley, Shaw, Clare and Biley, Fran(eds.) Our Encounters with Self-Harm. Ross on Wye, GB, PCCS
- Walker, Sandra (2013) Challenges to assessment. In, Walker, Sandra, Carpenter, Diane and Middlewick, Yvonne (eds.) Assessment and Decision Making in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB,Sage.
- Carpenter, Diane, Middlewick, Yvonne and Walker, Sandra (2013) Consequences of assessment. In,Walker, Sandra, Carpenter, Diane and Middlewick, Yvonne (eds.) Assessment and Decision Making in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB, Sage.
- Walker, Sandra and Carpenter, Diane (2013) Introduction to assessment principles. In, Walker, Sandra, Carpenter, Diane and Middlewick, Yvonne (eds.) Assessment and Decision Making in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB, Sage.
- Walker, Sandra (2013) Principles of decision making. In, Walker, Sandra, Carpenter, Diane and Middlewick, Yvonne (eds.) Assessment and Decision Making in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB,Sage.
- Haith M (2017) Understanding Mental Health Practice. London, Sage
- Trenoweth S (Ed) (2016) Promoting Recovery in Mental Health Nursing. London, Sage.
- Roberts M (2016) Critical Thinking and Reflection for Mental Health Nursing Students. London, GB. Sage
- Mutsatsa s (2016) Medicines Management in Mental Health Nursing – 2nd edition. London, GB. Sage.
- Roberts M. (2016) Critical Thinking and Reflection for Mental Health Nursing Students. London, GB. Sage
- Mutsatsa S (2015) Physical Healthcare and Promotion in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB, Sage.
- Walker S (Ed) (2014) Engagement and Therapeutic Communication in Mental Health Nursing. London GB. Sage
- Walker S (ed) (2014) Psychosocial Interventions in Mental Health Nursing. London, GB, Sage.
- Walker, Sandra, Carpenter, Diane and Middlewick, Yvonne (2013) Assessment and decision making in mental health nursing , London, GB, Sage,
- Wales, P. Murphy, R. (2013) Mental Health Law in Nursing. London, GB, Sage.
- The ConversationTaking a mental health day can be good for you: Here's how to make the most of one. Walker S (2022)
- The Power of Parity – why I love being a researcher (2016)
- How using social networks might support mental health recovery. (2015)
- The Recovery College Phenomena (2016)
- Letting the Cat out of the Bag at the Mental Wealth Festival (2017)
|March 2012||Presented at promoting Quality in Practice Education conference in Brighton, Arranged by NEAP – Title: Documentation Improvement Project - Poster|
|April 2012||Presented at Research Conference Solent NHS trust – Title : as above|
|May 2012||Presented at Service User Involvement conference – Involve – Bath Uni – As above|
|Aug 2012||Presented at International Health Humanities conference – Montclair Uni, New Jersey USA, Title: Life Music co-delivered with Dr Rod Paton|
|April 2013||Stand manned at Festival of Neuroscience with FoNs group re. Winchester school of Art project. Changing minds.|
|Sept 2014||Presented at Qualitative Research in Mental Health conference– Crete, Greece –How to people who have self-harmed experience contact with MH services in the general hospital|
|Sept 2014||Presented at International Health Humanities conference– Nottingham, UK. Title: the Bigger Picture: An interactive theatre exploration of inadvertent trauma creation in healthcare decision making. Co-presented with James Wilson|
|Jan 2015||Presented at Challenging Questions and Ethical Obligations conference – London, RCN building. Title: ‘You don’t want to lie, but you can’t tell the truth either’|
|April 2015||Presented at 4th International Health Humanities Conference – Denver, Colorado, USA. title: Breaking Down the Silos – Hampshire Festival of the Mind co-presented with Carolyn Barber|
|May 2016||Present at Ethics Conference –– London RCN building. Title: Does stigma effect the experience of mental health care for patients who self-harm?|
|May 2016||Presented two papers and chaired one session at Qualitative Research in MH conference –– Crete, Greece. Titles: How do people with long-term mental health problems negotiate relationships with different network members at times of crisis? co-written with Professor Anne Kennedy, Dr Ivo Vassilev, Professor Anne Rogers and ‘It just felt like an interrogation’: The psychosocial assessment following self-harm|
|Sept 2016||Presented at Mental Wealth Festival London and sat on an expert panel publically discussing a mental health strategy for young people. City Lit, London. Titles: Mental Wealth Trialogues: Transforming Services and Communities.|
|March 2017||Poster presentation at British and Irish Sever Personality Disorder Conference – Inverness. title: Extremely Unique People Developing: Creation of a training pack as a response to institutional prejudice|
|Sept 2017||Presented at Mental Wealth Festival London. Titles: Pets and Mental Health, co-resented with Dr Helen Baker. Additionally Co-written with Kelly Rushton, Karina Lovell, and Anne Rogers. Also title: One Hundred Years of Mental Health Care in Hampshire|