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.
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!
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.
Ron served 26 years in the British Army with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, finally leaving service in 2003. Like many veterans, he had more than a few problems in adjusting to civilian life. To help cope with his problems he has devoted a great deal of his free time to helping others. He is a volunteer at the Southampton Veterans Drop-In Centre and an active Freemason, and gains a lot of satisfaction from giving help that can often make a big difference to the lives of others.
Ron has been married to Teresa for nearly 40 years and they have two grown-up children. He is thankful that his family support him and often join in with his volunteering. In the free time he has left, Ron enjoys gardening and photography.
After graduating with a BA (Hons) in Geography from King’s College London, Ginny spent her twenties working as a writer and tour guide in the Brazilian Amazon, travelling around India and South East Asia, and freelancing in magazine & book publishing and marketing in Hong Kong and Tokyo, where she focused mainly on travel, geographical, and financial publications.
After returning to London for a few years, Ginny and her partner moved to Somerset in search of a less frenetic environment in which to bring up their two daughters. Ginny continued to work as an editor (from home) for various firms in London, Hong Kong, and the U.S., and continues to do so in the financial sector. She also volunteered as a student mentor at a local school; this, along with listening to the trials and tribulations of her daughters and many of their friends as they navigated their early years and teens, opened her eyes to the increasing mental health issues facing young people today.
Ginny now lives in Bristol and volunteers at Leading Lights Education & Wellbeing, which provides a range of services for troubled children, teenagers, and families. She enjoys cooking, growing vegetables, sampling new restaurants and cuisines, going to live music events, hiking in Somerset and Devon, and playing tennis and badminton.
Dr Thachil is a Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist at one of the busiest and largest University Hospitals in London. He previously held appointments as a consultant liaison psychiatrist (locum) with the West London Mental Health Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust across Charing Cross, St Mary’s, Hammersmith, and Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea Hospitals.
His professional interests lie in stigma/discrimination, poverty/exclusion, and digital quality improvement, having worked as a tele-psychiatrist in Sudan for the World Health Organization in field trials of the mhGAP-IG. He is also a member of the Public Education Editorial Board at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a research associate at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London.
His work is focused on establishing all-age general hospital psychiatry, substance misuse, and allied services fit for one of the busiest hospitals in Greater London. This not only serves a catchment area with high levels of deprivation but also one that hosts one of the largest populations seeking refuge and asylum in the UK. He has managed to secure sustainable funding from a range of sources, including national and local commissioning, as well as third sector and inter-sectoral initiatives.
Ajoy’s professional qualifications are wide-ranging:
– Higher specialist training and NIHR Academic Clinical Fellowship: St. George’s, University of London, Atkinson Morley Regional Neurosciences Centre and Southwest London & St George’s NHS Trust 2008-2013
– MSc: Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
– Core training and MRCPsych: South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust 2004-2007
– DPM: Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University
– MBBS: St John’s Medical College, Bangalore University
Endorsements: Rehabilitation Psychiatry, Liaison Psychiatry (and Neuropsychiatry)