Meet the Team

Dr Elizabeth Newton

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Team Lead

Hi, I’m Lizzie and I’m a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and the manager of the Bipolar Service. In addition to leading the clinical service, my wider role focusses on helping to increase access to, and the quality of psychological interventions for those with bipolar disorder, psychosis, personality disorder and eating disorders across Birmingham and Solihull. I have clinical expertise in interventions for those with a diagnosis if bipolar disorder and those with psychosis having worked in this area since qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist in 2002. I sit on an Expert Advisory Group for Psychological Interventions Training for Health Education England, on which my role is to advise on interventions for bipolar disorder. I particularly enjoy teaching and conducting research and have published many academic papers looking at the effectiveness and experience of mental health treatments and psychological interventions. To improve the quality of teaching and research I work collaboratively with experts by experience.

I have worked in the Bipolar Service since 2015, firstly as a Clinical Psychologist and since 2018, as manager. My favourite part of the role is running Mood on Track groups, each group is very different but equally enjoyable. It’s good to be able to provide a safe space in which people can share experiences and learn from each other as well as the course material and people always say that meeting others is the best part of Mood on Track. My top priority is to lead a service which provides good quality, compassionate care – the kind that you would want your family members to receive. In practice this means that the staff treat each other and service users with the respect and care with which they would like to be treated themselves and it makes for a happy team, place to work and we hope provides a positive experience for the people accessing our service. We ask for feedback and strive to improve the service by listening and acting on what people tell us.

Elizabeth I’anson

Specialist Nurse

Hello, I’m Liz, I’ve been working with the Bipolar Service as a Specialist Nurse since December 2017. I have worked in the trust for 20 years, mostly in CMHT but also in Psychiatric Liaison at City Hospital and with the Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion team. I am also undertaking training in CBT for people living with severe mental health problems. Outside of work I love getting outside; either on my bike, swimming, or walking.

Dr Alison Hayes

Clinical Psychologist

Hi, I’m Alison. I have been working in the Bipolar Service for the past 10yrs. I have worked in the NHS for over 30 years and have been qualified as a Clinical Psychologist for over 20 years. Since qualifying, I have worked with adults who experience mental health difficulties in a community and in-patient setting. My approach is integrative. I draw on a Psychodynamic model to supplement a Cognitive Behavioural approach and I am particularly interested in the impact that early life attachment has on adult psychological development.

Gareth O’Keeffe

Specialist Nurse

Hi folks, I’m Gareth (Gaz). I’m a specialist nurse in the team and a recent joiner (May 2021) I have had the privilege to be involved a several of the mood on track (MOT) groups at the time of writing this, including being lead facilitator for the one of the current intakes.

I am currently looking at nigh on 20 years since I qualified (time flies and all that😉) and I have worked in several areas to gain broad experience working with lots of people with varying needs. My last role was working as an advanced nurse within secure mental health services where I had worked for the last 6 or so years. I found more and more I was managing people, and steadily being drawn away from clinical work so…. I changed course and gained a position in this lovely team.

I really enjoy working with others to help them unlock answers to the challenges that they face in their lives (and often find they have the answers, they just need help putting the puzzle together) and really enjoy the group format. It’s honestly a great role, and I am really happy I made the move.

I love nature, I find that helps me feel refreshed and enjoy the Lickey Hills especially. Exercise and meditation are key aspects for me, and I have a love (hate) relationship with Birmingham city football club. The rest you will have to find out when you meet me!

Angela Devenney

Team Administrator

Hello, my name is Angela, I am the Team Administrator for the Bipolar Service. I have worked in various roles in the trust for nearly twenty years and have been with the Bipolar Service since August 2019. In my free time I enjoy gardening, swimming and spending time with my family.

Erika Malone

Team Administrator

My name is Erika Malone. I work as a part- time Administrator for the Bipolar Service. I previously worked as a Secretary/PA for the University of Birmingham for almost 30 years. I am delighted to be given the opportunity to use my previous experience and gain new skills and knowledge through working within the Trust. During my time off I enjoy spending time with my family including my two lovely grandchildren. I am a member of the National Trust and love spending time visiting the beautiful houses and gardens. I’ve recently used my DIY skills to build some garden decking and I am proud to say I have become a dab hand with a circular saw!

Joanne Gill

Occupational Therapist

Hi I’m Jo (Joanne), I joined the team in March 2022 as a Specialist Occupational Therapist. I have worked in a range of mental health services, from adult inpatients mental health to early help with children and young adults. I am interested in supporting people holistically and working with them to engage in meaningful activities. I feel fortunate to be part of this service, which has been developed jointly by professionals and service.

I am not originally from Birmingham but moved here from Yorkshire about 9 years ago (you may notice a bit of an accent). I enjoy gardening, walking my dog, spending time with family and friends and like many of us in the last couple of years, I enjoy a good Netflix series.

Sarona McDonald

Sarona McDonald

Assistant Psychologist

My name is Sarona McDonald, and I currently work as an Assistant Psychologist in the Bipolar Service. I have worked in a variety of services including residential services supporting young people with autistic spectrum disorder, learning needs and complex behavioural needs; a wellbeing service; a community homeless service providing holistic support and move on options to vulnerable adults with multiple needs and most recently worked in CAMHS and Women’s Secure Care Services.

I am a creative at heart so, I enjoy thinking outside the box and I’m passionate about continued learning and personal growth. I love reading and writing spoken word poetry as I feel it is my truest form of self-expression. I equally enjoy organising and hosting events. Most notably a monthly event called ‘Poetic Essence’, which provided a platform for local music and spoken word artists and creates a space for exploration and creative expression.

I am enjoying my time at the Bipolar Service, and I am looking forward to living the rest of this story.

Katie McKeever

Katie McKeever

Specialist Therapist Practitioner

Hi Everyone,

I am Katie and am one of the newer members of the Bipolar Service, working as a Specialist Therapist Practitioner. I have worked in mental health services for 13 years now and am very proud that 11 of those years have been with the NHS. My core profession is as an Occupational Therapist, which I will always be part of my professional identity, but I had the opportunity to complete additional training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) in 2017 and have worked as a psychological therapist since then. I love CBT and the principles of it and am about to embark on an enhanced CBT course. I joined the Bipolar Service because I found the model of care that it provides fits with my ethos and background of providing client centred but evidence-based treatment.

Outside of work I am a proud owner of a rescue greyhound, who did not get the memo that greyhounds are supposed to like short walks, and he keeps me out walking for hours. I have recently got back in to running which is great, but also love attending gigs and festivals, listening to podcasts and watching rubbish TV to help me unwind.

Rose Liddell

Rose Liddell

Specialist Practitioner Therapist

Hi, my name is Rose, and I joined the Bipolar team in March of this year (2023). My role within the team is a Specialist Practitioner Therapist. My background is in mental health social work, and I have also recently trained as a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist specialising in Psychosis and Bipolar, so I’m a bit of a mixed bag! I previously worked in an Early Intervention in Psychosis Service for 5 years and prior to that had social work placements in adult mental health teams working with a variety of mental health difficulties; ranging from dementia to personality disorder. I also have a passion and interest in working with people who have experienced trauma and have also worked quite closely with veteran services as a veteran champion.

When I’m not working, I enjoy a range of different things. I love musical theatre, so I am part of a group that performs shows, but I enjoy singing and dance on its own too. I also enjoy playing badminton, socialising with friends, and watching films. I also have a one-eyed rescue cat called Gertie who is very good at providing me with some pet therapy after a long day!

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