Lavinia Dowling is founder and Psychiatric Nurse Consultant at The M Word. She has practised as a licensed mental health clinician for 25 years in hospitals (General and Psychiatric), nursing homes for those with Dementia and learning/physical disabilities, Huntington’s Chorea (inpatient and community), drug and alcohol rehab, forensics, community teams (CAMHS, Adult and Older Adult), Mother and Baby units, CAMHS (Community, Autism screening and assessment, and A&E), and the military (MoD and the NHS). She works with children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults with a broad range of mental health issues, and has a wealth of experience helping clients who have Autism and military trauma.
Lavinia’s approach starts with risk assessing her clients’ needs with regard to their mental health and wellbeing, and then actively promoting a natural way of repairing self-esteem and confidence to build up resilience. Instead of prescribing medication, Lavinia believes in empowering her clients to move forward in a healthy way by understanding and listening to themselves, identifying negative coping mechanisms, and discovering the positive coping mechanisms that can enhance their wellbeing.
Lavinia graduated from the University of Plymouth as a Registered Mental Health Nurse (1996) and Counsellor (1998). She gained a Masters in Professional Practice (Emotional Problem Solving) in 2012 from the University of Surrey, and is currently studying a Doctorate in Mental Health at Bangor University. In 2006, Lavinia designed a model of care called “Emotional Problem Solving” designed to reduce negative mental health symptoms, boost self-esteem, and build resilience.
Outside of work, Lavinia likes being at home with her family and pets, walking along the beaches of the Isle of Anglesey, writing, listening to music, and has a growing fondness for gardening.
Monty is an English Setter who came in as an emergency foster to live with Lavinia in September 2019. He was very stressed and anxious, very nervous about being stroked, had absolutely no recall, and was very underweight. He used to tear about the place and disappear for ages on end trying to catch wild birds. After a lot of patience, a lot of TLC, and daily walks on and off the lead, this is the same dog now relaxing in his home on Anglesey. Monty is a big fan of mental health recovery as he now loves cuddles, likes to sit with humans on the sofa, has 90% recall (although can still be side-tracked by the birds!) and loves a banana muffin as a special treat. He now maintains a steady weight and fitness, and is happiest sitting in the office or bounding on the beach, watching the birds on the waves.
John Abbott is the Business Manager of The M Word. John has worked as a Manager in sales within the building merchant world over three decades. He has always been a great listener, very experienced working with customers and staff, and is now making a shift in his career to support The M Word. Most individuals find him relaxed, calm and unflappable. He has an unquenchable thirst for all types of music, as well as a passion for films.
In his spare time, John spends time designing and making such things as decking, plant troughs, and cat pens, as well as gardening. He also has an interest in visiting castles and National Trust properties and gardens with his dog, Tye. He has considerable knowledge and interest in whiskey, wines, and cars. John also has two pet cats who he is very fond of, having rescued them two years ago.
Yasmin Alexandria works in IT supporting the social media side of The M Word. She works on sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter, often uploading articles, positive affirmations, and news articles. For the last few years she has designed and written items with various spin-offs pertaining to mental health.
In her spare time, Yasmin enjoys spending time with her pets, working as a Volunteer for Cancer Research, baking, and writing short stories and poems. She is a bit of a film and music buff and can often quote titles and actors as well as lines from many with considerable ease!
Su is TMW Research Assistant to assist Lavinia in her work, researching all things related to Mental Health and Autism. Su has been supported by TMW since her teenage son experienced significant difficulties that impacted their family in recent years.
Su has a broad range of experience in education having qualified as a teacher with a BA (Hons) degree, Arts focus, in 1992, to then teach across the Primary age range in a variety of posts and school settings. Su had to learn to adapt in becoming more of a facilitator than teacher, when her youngest could no longer manage in the traditional school environment.
Su more recently has worked in the field of Social Care; developing and honing her skills. She has experience of working for clients with complex needs such as dementia, autism, congenital disease and trauma. Su has been a keen lifelong self-directed student in order to fulfil her innate need for knowledge and understanding. Su has undertaken courses in understanding autism and gardening and more recently well being and recovery for parent carers.
Su is a film buff (with a slight obsession with IMDB) and avid supporter of all things wild. She bakes when the hungry student returns home. She has been a bookseller and a self employed gardener with a focus on boosting wildlife.
Su considers time spent predominantly walking and being close to her Emotional Support dog Winnie the Wauzer, is essential to her sanity. Winnie is a playful mixed breed – an affectionate companion and a tonic to her and her boys and anyone who knows her. She has never snarled and showed her teeth, which is a good trait to have.