Responsibility for the strategic governance and oversight of Time to Change is held by our Senior Management Group, consisting of the senior representatives from our charity partners Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, as well as four representatives with lived experience of mental health.

As England’s biggest ever programme to end mental health stigma and discrimination, there are occasions when we can benefit from independent advice and guidance from experts in their fields. Therefore we have created an informal body of experts to act as Strategic Advisors to the programme that have agreed to be available for us to call upon on an ad-hoc basis. We are delighted that the following people have agreed to act as strategic advisors to the programme and help to change how we all think and act about mental health problems.


Graham Thornicroft

Picture of Graham Thornicroft

Graham Thornicroft is Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London (KCL) and is a member of the Health Service and Population Research Department at KCL, and the Centre for Global Mental Health, a joint centre between King’s Health Partners and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He also works as a Consultant Psychiatrist at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust in a local community mental health early intervention team in Lambeth. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and is a National Institute of Health Research Senior Investigator.

Graham took his undergraduate degree at Cambridge in Social and Political Science, studied Medicine at Guy’s Hospital, trained in Psychiatry at the Maudsley and Johns Hopkins Hospitals. He gained an MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a PhD at the University of London.

Graham has made significant contributions to the development of mental health policy in England, including Chairing the External Reference Group for the National Service Framework for Mental Health, the national mental health plan for England for 1999-2009.    

He is also active in global mental health, for example, he chaired the World Health Organisation Guideline Development Group for the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (mhGAP) Intervention Guide (1st and 2nd editions),  a practical support for primary care staff to treat people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders in low and lower middle incomes.


Pooky Knightsmith

Picture of Pooky KnightsmithPooky 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. She is also the vice-chair and education lead for the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Coalition, formed of over 100 UK charities working together to set the agenda for young people’s mental health in the UK and beyond. 

The child is always at the centre of Pooky’s work, where her first question is always: ‘How will this benefit children and young people?’  Question two, which follows fast, is: ‘How can this be made usable, practical and relevant?’

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 and her own lived experience of anorexia, self-harm, anxiety and depression.

Family is Pooky’s priority in her free time which is largely spent with husband Tom and her two young daughters from whom she learns more than she ever imagined possible.


Vanessa Pinfold

Picture of Vanessa Pinfold

Vanessa Pinfold is the research director and co-founder of the McPin Foundation, a specialist mental health research charity that champions expertise from experience in all aspects of research. Vanessa previously worked at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London co-ordinating programmes evaluating “what works” to reduce mental health stigma and discrimination. She moved to Rethink Mental Illness to establish a research team in 2003 and was involved in the development of the original Time to Change application for funding to comic Relief and Big Lottery – called Moving People.

Vanessa has stayed involved through various activities over the past 15 years, including co-leading phase two Time to Change application for funding to the Department of Health and partners on behalf of Rethink Mental Illness. Within the McPin Foundation evaluation of the Time to Change children and young people’s programme was the focus. An experienced health services researcher, Vanessa’s main work currently is integrating expertise from experience into mental health research and helping other people to do so.


Martin Knapp

Picture of Martin Knapp

Martin Knapp is Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). He is also Director of the School for Social Care Research, a position he has held since the School was established by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in 2008. Awards include NIHR Senior Investigator (since 2008), Fellowship of the City and Guilds of London Institute (2012) and Fellowship (honorary doctorate) of King’s College London (2014).

His main research interests are in the areas of dementia, social care, child and adult mental health, and autism, with much of his work using economic arguments and evidence to inform policy discussion and influence practice development. He has published more than 500 papers in academic journals, and authored a dozen books.