Mental Health in Schools Event Keynote Speakers

Professor Mick Cooper

Mick Cooper

Mick Cooper is a Professor of Counselling Psychology at the University of Roehampton and a chartered counselling psychologist. Mick has led a range of research studies exploring the process and outcomes of humanistic counselling with young people, and is currently chief investigator for a fully-powered ESRC-funded trial of school-based humanistic counselling (ETHOS). From 2012 to 2016, Mick was National Advisor for Counselling for the CYP IAPT programme, and led on the development of Counselling MindEd and the Evidence-Based Counselling Curriculum. Mick is also author and editor of a range of texts on person-centred, existential, and relational approaches to therapy, including Existential Therapies (Sage, 2003), Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2005, with Dave Mearns), and Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy (Sage, 2011, with John McLeod).

Mick Cooper MHSchools17 Conference Presentation Mick Cooper MHSchools17 Conference Presentation

Dr Jessica Deighton

Jess photo

Dr Jess Deighton is Head of Resilience Research and Evaluation at the Anna Freud Centre and also a Lecturer in School-Based Mental Health Research, Evaluation, and Evidence-Based Research at UCL. Her research has three core components: 1) the measurement of mental health well-being – in particular developing and validating tools for measurement of mental health in children; 2) the evaluation of interventions and multifaceted programmes to support mental health and well-being in children, primarily in educational settings; 3) the interplay between mental health, physical health and educational outcomes. She leads the national evaluation of BIG Lottery’s HeadStart programme and is also a senior researcher for the North Thames CLAHRC and the Department of Health Child Policy Research Unit. Her recent work also includes the development of guidance materials for schools and colleges around the measurement of mental health and well-being (Public Health England), and the development and evaluation of schools based resources to improve mental Health (DfE and CLAHRC).

Jess Deighton MHSchools17 Conference Presentation

Professor Neil Humphrey

Neil Humphrey

Neil Humphrey is Professor of Psychology of Education and Head of the Manchester Institute of Education at the University of Manchester. His research interests include social and emotional learning, mental health, and special educational needs. Neil’s work in these areas has been supported by various funding bodies, including the National Institute for Health Research, Big Lottery Fund, and Education Endowment Foundation. He is the author of ‘Social and Emotional Learning: A Critical Appraisal’, published by Sage. Neil is a member of the ESRC mental health expert group and the children and young people’s research working group for the Department of Health’s 10-year strategy for mental health.

Neil Humphrey MHSchools17 Conference Presentation


Dr Pooky KnightsmithPooky

Pooky directs the children, young people and schools programme at the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, a charity that provides fully-funded mental health training to schools.

Pooky is a passionate ambassador for mental health who loves to research, write, speak, teach and share all manner of ideas about mental health, wellbeing and PSHE. Her enthusiasm is backed up both by a PhD in child and adolescent mental health from the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, and her own lived experience of anorexia, self-harm, anxiety and depression.

Pooky’s latest publications are “Using Poetry to Promote Talking and Healing”, and “The Healthy Coping Colouring Book and Journal”.

Pooky Knightsmith MHSchools17 Conference Presentation

Lord Richard Layard

Professor Lord Layard is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Layard photoEconomics, where he was until 2003 the founder-director of the Centre for Economic Performance. He now heads the Centre’s Programme on Well-Being. Since 2000 he has been a member of the House of Lords and is a keen advocate of making subjective well-being of the people the central objective of governments.

He is a labour economist who has made major contributions on unemployment, inflation, inequality and post-Communist reform. He was an early advocate of the welfare-to-work approach to European unemployment and his work has influenced policy in many countries. In 2008, he was awarded the IZA Prize in Labour Economics.

His influential book Happiness – Lessons from a New Science was published in 2005 and has sold 150,000 copies in 20 languages. A second edition was published in 2011. He also advises the British Government on mental health policy and is an architect of the new revolutionary policy of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). His latest book, co-authored with David Clark, Thrive: The power of evidence-based psychological therapies, was published in 2014.

He has also persuaded the OECD and its member countries to measure the happiness of their people, been an adviser to the UK Office of National Statistics, and he co-edits the bi-annual World Happiness Report (which gets over one million downloads a year). His aim is to persuade governments to choose policies which maximise the happiness of their people, and his current research provides them with the quantitative tools and methods to do this.

Richard Layard MHSchools17 Conference Presentation

Professor Shirley ReynoldsShirley Reynolds photo

Shirley Reynolds is Director of the Charlie Waller Institute and Professor of Evidence Based Psychological Therapies at the University of Reading. Her research interests focus around understanding and treating depression and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. She was founding co-editor of Evidence Based Mental Health and past President of the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy (BABCP: 2010-2012). Shirley has worked on a number of RCTs of psychological and social interventions for anxiety, OCD and depression funded by MRC/ESRC and the NIHR. She is involved in a number of national programmes including the MindEd e-learning programme ( and the Child and Young People Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (CYP IAPT) programme.

Schools conference 2017 – starting as we mean to go on_Shirley Reynolds