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Biography

Originally from Hanover, Germany, I moved to London in 2014. Having worked in hospitality for 10 years, I followed my wish to work in mental health and studied a Bachelor of Arts in Psychosocial Studies at the University of East London. This was followed by a MSc in Mental Health with Cultural and Global Perspectives at Queen Mary University of London.

As part of my undergraduate project, I explored psychosocial effects of media representation on the emotional well-being of young Muslim men. At postgraduate level, I undertook a qualitative systematic review on the effects of post-migratory factors on the mental health of refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe.

I am currently co-editor on a book outlining migrant worker experiences in London in collaboration with Prof Corinne Squire (Chair in Global Inequalities, School for Policy Studies), Sonia Quintero (PhD Student at UEL) and Unite the Union’s ‘United Migrant Workers Education Programme’ (UMWEP https://www.umwep.com/about-us/).

Having joined KCL in September 2022, I am currently working alongside Dr Vanessa Lawrence on two projects; the OPEN feasibility study assessing Olanzapine for young people with Anorexia Nervosa and PATHFINDER (https://www.quahrc.co.uk/pathfinder), a study that is adapting and evaluating the use of Problem Adaptation Therapy (PATH) for people with mild-moderate dementia and depression within the NHS.

I have lived experience of an eating disorder during my adolescence and have worked as a peer worker within an eating disorders service in the NHS for two years. The trust rewarded me with their ‘Celebrating Excellence: Service user and Carer nominated Award’ in 2021, fuelling my passion for the development and appreciation of peer support. I additionally work as an Expert by Experience with the North London Adult Eating Disorders Provider Collaborative (NLAED).  

Research Interests

  • Cultural Psychiatry and cross-cultural differences in mental health
  • Institutional racism and racial disparities in health care
  • Cultural Competency and Anti-racist training in clinical settings
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • Eating Disorders and Peer Support
  • Co-design and the involvement of lived experience in service design and improvement

 

Expertise and Public Engagement

Vanessa is a regular volunteer at The Maytree Respite Centre, a charity in North London that supports individuals from across the UK suffering with depression and suicidal ideation. A field that is very close to her heart, Vanessa supports the charity working at the house, remotely, and on fundraising campaigns (e.g., taking part at Night Rider London 2022).

Passionate about involving individuals with lived experience, Vanessa is supporting the North London Adult Eating Disorders Provider Collaborative (NLAED) with assessing and improving service provision across NHS trusts.

Vanessa volunteers with Unite the Union’s UMWEP supporting teaching sessions and collaborating on a book proposal currently reviewed and appraised by Pluto Press.