Our team

We have 7 Committee members  who are elected to serve for a 4 year term of office. They come from many different lay and professional backgrounds:

Jacqui Dillon Chair of ISPS UK

Jacqui Dillon is an activist, author, and speaker, and has lectured and published worldwide on trauma, abuse, hearing voices, psychosis, dissociation, and healing. She is a key figure in the international Hearing Voices Movement, has co-edited three books, published numerous articles and papers and is on the editorial board of the journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches. Jacqui is Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London, Visiting Research Fellow at The Centre for Community Mental Health, Birmingham City University, a member of the Advisory Board at The Collaborating Centre for Values-Based Practice in Health and Social Care, St Catherine’s College, Oxford University, and a member of the Advisory Board at the Centre for Investigating Contemporary Social Ills at the University of Essex. Jacqui’s survival of childhood abuse and subsequent experiences of using psychiatric services inform her work, and she is an outspoken advocate and campaigner for relational and trauma-informed approaches to madness and distress. Jacqui is part of a collective voice demanding a radical shift in the way we understand and respond to experiences currently defined as psychiatric illnesses. In 2017, Jacqui was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Psychology by the University of East London.

Simon Downer

Simon is a psychiatrist working in the NHS in an inner city mental health team in Bristol, UK. He is also a psychodynamic psychotherapist working in the NHS and in private practice, a member of Severnside Institute for Psychotherapy and the British Psychoanalytic Council. He has been advisor ally for the Bristol Hearing Voices Network for around ten years. He is Director of the Bristol Psychosis Heath Integration Team, a team of people who experience psychosis, their families and carers, academics, mental health professionals, commissioners, service providers and other experts working together to improve the lives of people with psychosis in Bristol.

Simon is interested in how the systems of psychiatry serve to dehumanise and alienate people, and often do more harm than good. He is trying to promote more thoughtful approaches to mental health work and hopes that working with ISPS will be a powerful way of doing that on a much wider scale.

Jessica Pons

Jessica began working with people diagnosed with ‘psychosis’ in 2006.  She is an integrative psychotherapist practicing within a critical mental health feminist/sociopolitical framework and worked as the Hearing Voices project manager at Mind in Camden. Jess has family members diagnosed with psychosis, plus is reflective of her own experiences in the liminal spaces of psychosis. She is now the Project Manager at Synergi, focusing on the intersection of mental health and racial justice and is a producer for ISPS UK film ‘Dismantling the Master’s House’.

Jen Kilyon

Jen became involved in ISPS about 7 years ago when she first heard about the organisation. She was attracted by its international nature because she believes there is a huge amount we can learn from other cultures and how they approach mental distress. She also appreciated the fact that the organisation welcomed all those committed to promoting a more humane approach to psychosis regardless of their status or allegiance to a “psychological model”. She first became involved in campaigning for more choice in mental health services around 11 years ago when her son first experienced psychosis. She was shocked at what passed for “treatment” and felt the need to move on from her 30 years as an educationalist to become an activist for change in this system. She has worked on many local and national projects and is also a trustee for the Soteria Network where she is helping to set up the first UK Soteria House.

Eamonn Flynn

I have a long career in business, finance and management of arts charities. I appreciate and remain impressed how the arts can help people connect to each other the world over.

As a member of a carer’s group in Haringey, I am appalled how awful treatment in NHS mental services can be experienced by our loved ones. I feel it is vital to keep looking for better and kinder ways of understanding psychosis to help people find their own way. Families and carers are front line and I support the ISPS aims to find a range of approaches towards supporting people in distress.

Neil Caton

I have lived experience of psychosis and of early intervention services alongside other community services. I sit on various involvement groups. I have also worked as a service user consultant for the early intervention service where I ran an involvement group and contributed service user perspectives to various working groups. I work as a support worker so have a good empathy with other caring professionals. I am a current trustee of ISPS and have been for some years.

I am firmly committed to psycho social approaches to psychosis and have a special interest in Open Dialogue, The Hearing Voices Network and The Soteria Network.

Sara Alsaraf

Dr. Sara Alsaraf is a Psychiatrist, Dramatherapist and PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham. She works with marginalised individuals and communities, creating trauma-informed spaces to explore and process their stories and experiences creatively and safely.