Hanif Bobat (North West)

Hanif is a community development worker and survivor researcher with extensive experience of working in the health and social care sector to advocate for tackling the health inequalities faced by BME and marginalized communities.

He is well versed in advocacy and change management processes and has a good understanding of issues relating to race, culture and mental health.

Hanif has served on various strategic boards and committees, including as non-executive board member of the Manchester NHS Primary Care Trust, at Greater Manchester Council of Voluntary Organisations and at Diverse Minds.

Hanif was part of the team at Mental Health Foundation on the landmark initiative ‘Strategies for Living’.

He is currently a volunteer with Ethnic Health Forum, a Manchester-based community group providing a range of services from welfare rights advice to mental health support.

Hameed Khan (North West)

Hameed grew up in Birmingham in a traditional Pakistani Muslim family. He joined his father in the UK in 1983.

He has worked in health and social care, teaching and youth work.

He has been a mental health advocacy services manager for over six years and a community development manager for over five years.

He moved to Manchester in 2008 and developed strong links with BME communities and third sector organisations there. He also has strong connections with Birmingham.

Hameed has suffered from mental health issues and depression and is an ex-service user of mental health services. He is currently a carer for his mum and has insight into challenges and struggles of being a carer.

He has been a service user and carer representative on mental health projects, including the National Involvement Partnership Advisory Group with NSUN, helping to develop the service user involvement framework, and the Reference Group (Mental Health and Cancer Taskforce) with Macmillan.

He is a community champion for Time to Change Anti Stigma and Discrimination in Mental Health Campaign.


Colin King (London)

Diagnosed as educationally subnormal at Tulse Hill comprehensive school to progress to the title ‘schizophrenic’ and ‘manic depressive’ aged 17 years at Feltham and Maudsley hospitals, Colin’s enforced mental health career has endured over four mental health sections.

Colin has been in the roles of Approved Mental Health Social worker, principal care manager and commissioner of mental health services.

He has also been involved in teaching and the delivery of mental health modules in social care, access to social work, and medical assessments in relation to the Mental Health Act.

This has been complemented by over thirty years of mental health activist work from setting up a mental health user group at Maudsley, challenging racialised inequality in the legal and diagnostic framework through the National Black Social Work Group to his research work at the Mental Health Foundation, the Whiteness and Race Equality Network and the Black Thrive project.


Mustak Mirza (West Midlands)

Mustak Mirza is a service user representative on the Board of Governors at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.

Mustak left school at sixteen and worked all his life until taking early retirement due to health issues and disability.

In 2011, he was the sole survivor of a car accident, from which he recovered with a new sense of purpose to connect with others and make a positive difference in life.

He has used his personal experiences of mental distress to contribute to several community development projects, including the 300 Voices project.

He is a co-production facilitator and a member of Positive Mental Health Group, Suresearch, urgent care CCG, co-production Crisis Café with Birmingham Mind, Better Path etc.

He is a father and a grandad to eight grandchildren. Mustak is particularly proud of his vast network of friends from all walks of life.


Odi Oquosa (South East)

Odi is a Nigerian artist, social scientist and professional social worker based in Brighton. 

Odi’s cultural and spiritual practices have at times made people perceive him as a mentally ill witch doctor or even black magic practitioner.

His art has acted as a vehicle for discovering his own identity and obtaining a profound knowledge and understanding of self.

Odi is drawn to what is hidden and obscured in historical accounts of African history. His work looks at how certain historical accounts have been distilled, distorted, appropriated and reconditioned for current use.

Odi has long participated in mental health advocacy and activism, including serving as the chair of Catch-a-fiya and project manager of Synergy Creative Community Brighton, and hopes to use this experience in supporting the steering group.

Odi was named Student Social Worker of the year 2016 after completing MA in Social work at University of Sussex.

Odi is currently employed by Brighton-Hove City Council, working in a Hospital Social Work Discharge Team.


June Sadd (South West)

June is from the Black, Asian and other minority ethnic communities as a person of dual heritage.

She is a survivor of the psychiatric system having used mental health services over a number of years. 

June’s knowledge, experience and skills in involvement have developed working as a user involvement/community development worker, mainly in Southwest England.

She was the Southwest Equality Ambassador for the Delivering Race Equality (DRE) programme, and was a Race Equality and Cultural Capability (RECC) trainer.

Other education, research, mentoring and advisory roles include: Teaching ‘Race and Racism’ and ‘Mental Health’ at many higher education institutions; research funded by the Department of Health for Mind on peer support and also on Independent Mental Health Advocacy; mentor roles for BAME projects for Mind Grants Programmes; advising organisations as part of steering groups using her knowledge, skills, experience and expertise as well as values of challenging oppression and discrimination.


Sonia Thompson

Is a third-generation community development worker and has helped in the founding of many organisations including two women’s refuges and a housing association.

Sonia has been a University Lecturer in Community and Youth work and an External Examiner of an undergraduate and postgraduate course. Sonia was involved in the establishment of the framework for training community development workers in BME communities as part of the Delivering Race Equality agenda and a Non-Executive Director sitting on the board of organisations including her local Primary Care Trust, Council for Voluntary services and several housing associations.   She has worked in mental health projects including peer support, Peerfest and mental health advocacy. She is a member of the Survivor Researcher Network.

The steering group members have extensive connections within their regions and interest and experience of addressing intersectional issues.

They will act as regional links to the project and support and advice the project manager and the researchers on the project.

Contact NSUN ([email protected])or Dominic Makuvachum ([email protected]) for further information about the project and how to get involved.