Louise Arseneault, ESRC's Mental Health Leadership Fellow, led a project of five interviews to broadcast the expertise of leading figures in the mental health field. The series, entitled Let’s Talk Mental Health, incorporates interviews with representatives from research, government, clinic and charity.

The aim of this project was to disseminate knowledge, skills and expertise to the general public and those interested in pursuing careers in mental health including students, junior academics, clinicians and early career researchers. 

The project also aimed to portray the skills and experiences of individuals with lived experiences of mental health problems, and utilised the knowledge of service users to conduct the interviews. The McPin Foundation and Autistica recommended individuals to conduct the interviews and provided a fantastic opportunity to simultaneously learn and educate.

Follow #LetsTalkMentalHealth to find out more.

Jonny Benjamin interviews Luciana Berger MP

Jonny Benjamin is a mental health campaigner and has received an MBE for his services to mental health and suicide prevention. Luciana Berger is President of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health.

Jonny interviewed Luciana in her office at Westminster about her motivation to pursue mental health as a political cause. Jonny spoke with Luciana about suicide and the disproportionate affect that it has on young men and questioned Luciana on her hopes in mental health for the nation.

Luciana talked about her dedication to mental health and using her parliamentary questions to raise awareness of mental health and trying to bring cross-party collaboration to ring-fence government mental health spending. Luciana expressed that mental health concerns the entire nation, and so collectively everyone must try promote awareness of mental health rather than leaving it to a single Government department.

Humma Andleeb interviews Professor Peter Fonagy

Humma Andleeb is a trainee researcher for the McPin Foundation. Coming from an ethnic minority background, she was keen to find out from Peter Fonagy - CEO of the Anna Freud Centre - how culture is interrelated with mental health.

Peter delved into his experience of developing MSc and Doctorate programmes at UCL and the need to develop social interventions in biological risk of mental health conditions. Both Humma and Peter spoke about how their mental health conditions helped them shape their careers – and shared their ambitions for the mental health field. Peter highlighted the importance of recruiting the best candidates to build a workforce in the mental health field.

Jack Welch interviews Sir Professor Michael Rutter

Jack Welch is a vocal advocate for people with learning disabilities and he interviewed Sir Professor Michael Rutter - Founder, of the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre - who is hailed as the father of child psychology. In the interview Sir Michael discussed the importance of being a questioning scientist and how it has led him to discover things he wasn’t necessarily thinking about.

Jack spoke about his personal experiences with autism and how his diagnosis has helped him engage with the community and campaign with charities such as Autistica. Sir Michael delved into the importance of colleagues, and the development of mental health in the public since the beginning of his career. Sir Michael spoke about wanting his legacy to be a supportive approach to junior people in trying to deal with situations in a problem-solving way.

Dr Kai Syng Tan interviews Sarah Hughes

Artist, curator and researcher Dr Kai Syng Tan spoke with Sarah Hughes, CEO of the Centre for Mental Health, about her hopes for the mental health of the nation.

Kai and Sarah both spoke about the important role that women play in mental health, and Sarah spoke about her 'First Night in Custody' project which provided mental health support to incarcerated women. Sarah spoke about the importance of developing compassion for those with mental health conditions, and increasing funding for mental health research. Kai spoke about her ADHD and how she uses art a process of enquiry to learn more about mental health.

Katy Pickles interviews Lord Professor Richard Layard

Katy is a musician and a Young Ambassador for the UK’s leading eating disorder charity, Beat. Richard Layard is Programme Co-Director at the LSE Centre for Economic Performance.

During the interview Professor Layard discussed his primary research focus on happiness and mental health (and the linkages) and what motivated his journey. Professor Layard spoke about economics and population mental health and his work in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies. Katy spoke about how her music has acted as a mechanism to cope with her mental health conditions and used the interview to explore how her economic position affects her mental health and happiness. Richard also shared what personally makes him happy.