Our Board of Trustees is made up of a group of people with a broad range of skills and experience. Some have particular expertise in student mental health, but we also have a wide range of finance, legal, management and policy-making skills. We are continuously grateful for the time, knowledge and experience they share with us. 

Trustees are recruited by the Board, but are then elected in by our voting members. 

Photo of Phil


Phil Scarffe (he/him)

Phil is a registered Social Worker, and set up one of the 1st specialist mental health teams in a UK university. He is Head of Student Welfare at De Montfort University, and part of the OIA Disability Experts Panel.

How do you look after your mental health?

I started writing this with the idea that as a mental health professional I might have to make the slightly shocking admission, that I didn’t have a very methodical approach. It felt like I was going to need to say a bit more than that though!

So, I gave it a bit more thought, and remembered that several years ago there were issues at work which I was finding really frustrating, and was obsessing over, and I made a very conscious decision to choose to stop thinking about work in my free time. I’m not saying that I always achieve this, but if I find myself getting too hung up about a particular issue then knowing I can actively choose to think something else is a great help. I think in the midst of something sometimes things can easily feel overwhelming, and if I feel that happening bringing the phrase ‘this too will pass’ and that in the scheme of things my life and its challenges are of very little cosmic consequence, can be quite grounding too.

Bit of a cliché I know, but I really enjoy walking my dogs and getting out into the countryside; the sense of calm and peace that I experience really does help me leave my worries behind. During Covid lockdown the fact that I could walk my dogs made the situation far more bearable, and like many others, I decided I’d like to go and live in the countryside full time. The quiet would have been the opposite of what I wanted when I was younger, but now, as a (very slightly) older person, is something I actively embrace. The biggest boost to my mental health has been getting better at accepting myself for who I am, recognising that what really matters is the people close to me, and ultimately everything else is just noise, which I can choose to tune into or out off, whenever I please.

Trustee (Marketing & Communications)

Tessa Bartlett (she/her)

Tessa is a strategy and communications professional with many years experience working within higher education. She now works for a small regional environmental charity. 

How do you look after your mental health?

Exercising in the natural environment is the biggest boost I can give my mental health. I address my eco-anxiety by working for an environmental charity. Importantly, if I feel my mental health slipping, I tell those closest to me. We all struggle at times and it’s important to feel able to discuss mental health. 


Anna Matthews (she/her)

Anna trained as a psychotherapist and is now the Director of the University Mentoring Organisation (UMO). 

How do you look after your mental health?

To look after my mental health I regularly run and undertake group sports. I really enjoy the engagement with others and the chance to take a break from work and general life commitments as both keep me focussed in the moment. 

I also enjoy spending time with my young family as well as my friends and as much as possible, I plan ahead so that I have breaks to look forward to.


Andrew Plumtree (he/him)

Andrew is a qualified accountant with a background in mental health policy and is currently an Associate Director in healthcare advisory at Grant Thornton.

How do you look after your mental health?

I try and prioritise the things that make me happy; spending time with friends, listening to music, going to the theatre or reading a good book. I also try to recognise when my well-being isn’t where I’d like to be and take some small steps to improve it; which most likely includes a brisk walk, getting an early night, or seeking help from a friend or work colleague.


Lydia Pell (she/her)

After training as an Art Psychotherapist and a career in student mental health in HE, Lydia is now studying for a PhD and providing supervision and consultancy

How do you look after your mental health?

I use a trial and error approach to looking after my mental health. I find that some things that used to help aren't always useful in different situations. 

I try to keep a clear separation between work time and home time, and keep set times to respond to emails, and other time that is for family time.

I get to see green hills every day, and cows and sheep. This really helps, particularly on days when the sky is blue. I practice self compassion, and trying to not compare myself to others, but to be pleased with the achievements I have, and to make sure I have time in my week that is spent with people I love. I have some time to myself when I am not having to prioritise others needs. I also have people around me who remind me to do the above if I am feeling a bit stressed, or have a lot on. 

I also don't drink coffee after lunch time to make sure I get a good night sleep. This is hard because I love coffee, so I make sure I savor the first one of the day.


Hannah Borkin (she/her)

Hannah is a freelance mixed-methods research and evaluation professional, leading high-profile projects related to improving staff and student experiences in the higher education sector. Her research has a particular focus on disability inclusion, mental health and wellbeing.

How do you look after your mental health?  

I try to exercise as regularly as possible, though do not blame myself if this doesn’t go to plan. Particularly over the past couple of years and with plans changing all the time, I recognise that sticking to a routine is not always easy and we need to be gentle with ourselves. Having been through a significant bereavement at an early age, I also appreciate the importance of openness and speaking with friends and family when I am finding things tough.

Trustee (Marketing and Communications)

Matt Kempen (he/him)

Matt is the Marketing Manager for the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH). 

How do you look after your mental health

Comedy, cycling, golf, music, film, and walking. Sometimes I need familiarity so will listen to a comedy podcast or favourite album, or watch a film for the hundredth time. I am a season ticket holder to a football team that are massive, which can be a full of highs and lows, normally lows. I am still learning how to manage and cope at times of difficulty, but am making progress.

Interested in becoming a Trustee?

For general information about becoming any charity's Trustee Getting On Board has a range of useful resources and events. 

When we are actively recruiting for Trustees, we will advertise widely, including on our social media and in our newsletter. However, we are always happy to hear from you if you think this is something you might be interested in!

University Mental Health Advisers Network (UMHAN). c/o The Moseley Exchange, 149-153 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP Tel: 07510 734544 Registered charity number: 1155038. We use cookies to improve your experience using this website.
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