This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Monday 12 June 2023, 2pm to 3pm
  • Location: In-person only
    King's Manor, Exhibition Square (Map)
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

People with severe mental illness are more likely to develop chronic diseases. They also face severe health inequalities, including difficulties in accessing and engaging with a healthcare system that is not designed to address their needs. This means that many people with mental illness die, on average, 15-20 years earlier than those without.

So how can we reimagine and rebuild our current healthcare system to be more inclusive and accessible for people with severe mental illness?

Join our panel discussion to hear from people with lived experience of severe mental illness and chronic conditions - service users, carers and healthcare professionals - and to find out how and why our healthcare system needs to change.

Please note that there is limited wheelchair access. Email for questions regarding accessibility.


The DIAMONDS project aims to develop and test a bespoke educational package to help people with severe mental illness and diabetes to manage their diabetes better. DIAMONDS Voice is the DIAMONDS Patient and Public Engagement panel consisting of service users and family carers with experience of living with mental and physical health comorbidity. The group is facilitated by co-ordinator Angie Ross and meets three to four times a year in the Bradford or Leeds area to provide input across all the studies in the DIAMONDS programme.

About the speakers

Alison Potts became involved in the DIAMONDS programme as a member of DIAMONDS Voice. She was a carer for her mother, who had both schizophrenia and diabetes, and also was the primary carer for a former partner during the COVID-19 lockdown, who had borderline personality disorder and progressive multiple sclerosis. Alison also has her own experience of mental and physical health problems, including a traumatic brain injury and experiences of sight loss. As a result, Alison is passionate about accessibility for people with diverse and different needs.   

Keith Double is a warrior against the unfettered use of acronyms and unexplained abbreviations. He was born, educated, raised nine children, married (twice!), widowed, divorced, single parent, employed, ran his own business, not necessarily in that order, or even sequentially, but often concurrently. 

Cruciverbalist, ex-rugby player, ambitious, lifelong rebel, his first experience of health research was marred by academia turning up badly prepared, with no local experience, and no input from the public. Result - no participants. This was rectified by collaboration and inclusion of volunteers from the area to do interviews and questionnaires. Keith is passionate about health education, especially in relation to mental health. He is a steadfast supporter of using Patient and Public Involvement and Experience within healthcare, and a promoter of co-production in health research.

Keith supports his local Trust in many ways - recruitment and selection panels; Mental Health Legislation Committee; Psychotherapy Council; Trauma Informed Care group; Research Champion; Patient Experience Action Group. He also co-presents teaching sessions for health students, health care professionals. Sessions also take place in schools and colleges to demonstrate breadth and depth of professions.

Lina Gega is Professor of Mental Health at Hull York Medical School and the Director of the Institute of Mental Health Research at the University of York. She is an honorary clinician with Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Trust and a Professorial Fellow with the South East European Research Centre at City College Thessaloniki Greece. Qualified first as a nurse and then as a psychological therapist, she completed her PhD in health services research at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. Lina’s expertise is in the utility of digital technologies as a means to specialist interventions for mental health. Her current work focuses on large clinical trials of psychological interventions that can be delivered at scale within schools, healthcare and charities for children and young people.

Ramsha Hussain currently works as a mental health nurse in a female acute inpatient ward in Airedale Hospital. She is also a DIAMONDS coach working to deliver the DIAMONDS Intervention. Following graduation, Ramsha worked on an acute mental health ward for elderly patients aged 65 and above. Currently she is working with those between the ages of 18- 65. Her role includes the day-to-day management of people experiencing an acute mental health crisis. Ramsha is also a Practice Assessor for Nursing Students. She is responsible for mentoring and ensuring that students are gaining learning experience whilst on placement in acute inpatient wards. Ramsha worked on the feasibility study for the DIAMONDS programme at the University of York, as a DIAMONDS Coach, providing support to people with severe mental illness and type 2 diabetes. She will also work as a DIAMONDS Coach in the main trial that is currently taking place across England. Alongside this, Ramsha will use her experience from the feasibility study to support new DIAMONDS Coaches in the trial.

Claire Carswell (chair) is a registered mental health nurse and a post-doctoral research associate working at the University of York in the Department of Health Sciences. Claire’s research has focused on the intersection between mental and physical health. Her PhD project dealt with the development and evaluation of an intervention to help support the mental health and wellbeing of people who have kidney failure and are receiving haemodialysis. Following the completion of her PhD she went on to work on the DIAMONDS programme.


University of York Diamonds Programme NHS Bradford District Care - NHS Foundation Trust National Institute for Health and Care Research