Roehampton launches event discussing the importance of mental health in nursing care

  • Wednesday, March 10, 2021

University of Roehampton, in collaboration with South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust and St George’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, are inviting you take part in a working symposium to explore the meaning of parity of esteem and shape an innovative approach to realising this practice.

Image - Roehampton launches event discussing the importance of mental health in nursing care

Speakers include comedian Dave Chawner, pictured above.

Parity of Esteem in pre-registration nursing education – a working symposium

The Shape of Caring review challenged the nursing profession to ‘raise the bar’ by seeking ways to develop nurses equipped to deliver whole-person care, adaptable to the growing complexity of the population. This challenge was embraced in the new NMC standards for education when it included the requirement for registered nurses to be able to meet holistic care needs across a range of mental and physical health challenges.

Parity of esteem defines the need to value mental and physical health equally. There is a complex, bi-directional relationship that exists between poor mental health and poor physical health. If not addressed, this can exacerbate existing health inequalities and lead to serious consequences including premature mortality. Against the backdrop of plight for those feeling the disparity of esteem, and with nursing education poised to take up a role in achieving parity, we are asking the question: “what is to be done?”.

The online symposium is open to all and will be a rich and diverse event bringing together knowledge and experiences held by students, people with lived experience, practice partners and clinicians from multiple disciplines.

Click here to view a full timetable of the day. 

Date of Event
14th April 2021

Last Booking Date for this Event
13th April 2021

This online event is free to attend.

You can book here:

There will be four main themes discussed during the symposium:

Theme 1 - A brief history of parity of esteem - Tim Coupland, Clinical Rep for Parity of Esteem, Royal College of Nursing

Tim Coupland – (RMN, MBACP, MSc, Dip PSI (Thorn), BA(Hons)) has been a mental health nurse for 30 plus years and has worked across a variety of NHS settings. With 15 years in senior nursing roles, he has championed equity in care and the service user voice, particularly in ensuring parity in the way services are designed and delivered for those with severe mental illness. He led on RCN’s programme for Parity of Esteem for over 2 years and remains their clinical representative for this area, he also currently sits on the Clinical Advisory Group for Equally Well UK.

Theme 2 – Future nurse now? Developing a professional identity responsive to mind and body - Gavin Shields Associate Director of Nursing - Mental Health, King's College Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Gavin qualified as an RGN in 2003 and has practiced in the UK, Australia and India. During his time in the emergency department, Gavin became heavily involved in the care of patients who presented with mental health issues and was struck by the disparity in access and poorer experiences and outcomes for these patients. This led him to undertake a full-time secondment to qualify as an RMN, after which he split his time between the emergency department and a local category B prison as a forensic community mental health nurse. Following his most recent return from travelling and working in India, where he spent a year on the Lifeline Express and Mother Teresa’s home for the dying, he took on a role in Pentonville Prison and started the MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice. In his current role as Associate Director of Nursing for Mental Health, Gavin practices with his passion in mind that everyone deserves the same access to care, regardless of who you are, and it should be free at the point of need.

Theme 3 - Recognising the ‘person’ at the centre of parity – Dave Chawner

Dave Chawner is a No. 1 best-selling author, award-winning comic, presenter, and mental health campaigner. Having utilised comedy as part of his recovery from anorexia, Dave has shared this approach throughout his shows and his book which has challenged stigma in an accessible way, widening the conversation around mental health. (

Theme 4 - Learning from the 'other side' - Hannah MacDonald, Expert Representative for Lived Experience, Royal College of Nursing

Hannah trained as a general adult nurse at King's College, London and started her career on a specialist HIV ward at Chelsea and Westminster hospital. This promising start to nursing was to be cut short when Hannah was sectioned under the mental health act the morning before she was to start a late shift. Hannah is very open about her lived experience in the mental health system and she has done talks at various universities and conferences to both nursing and occupational therapy students.

After 12 years out of nursing Hannah has just returned and is now working at a hospice in London.

Hannah is passionate about how nurses in both physical and mental health settings gain a deeper understanding of how physical and mental health is intrinsically linked and the importance of all nurses caring for both. She is keen to see nursing embrace the role of facilitating and supporting co-production and peer support in all areas of nursing but would also love to see nursing peer support groups set up for nurses; to enable a safe space to be created where nurses can share their struggles together.

For further information about the event, please email Julia Noyce at