Men’s Minds Matter directors
Dr. Luke Sullivan and Nigel Sanderson
They met over 20 years ago and now find themselves leading from the front on suicide prevention and intervention
Lived experience expert, mindfulness dude and data guy
At the time of writing [Sept 2020] I’m 45 years old, I have a son and step-daughter. I love the outdoors, surfing has always been my big passion, I also like to mountain bike, hike, camp and I run a bit. I’m good with data, especially spatial data through GIS and can figure most I.T. things out fairly easily, I code [Python] and take care of the web side of things for Men’s Minds Matter.
But this is only the ‘good stuff’, the things I put on my C.V. or profiles on social media and feel safe in sharing publicly.
In truth I really struggle a lot of the time. I was diagnosed with ‘clinical depression’ about 10 years ago, that can feel like a bit of an unwanted label at times and I don’t want that to be the defining thing about me. Since then I’ve been prescribed different antidepressant medications (none of which really helped, some actively made things worse), been to both group (comforting that I’m not alone in having these experiences) and individual (excellent private psychotherapy, and what felt like quite damaging NHS CBASP) therapies.
Through all this I’ve been reported missing twice for a few days at a time, the second time I also attempted suicide. I still negotiate with suicidal ideation at times. I often have days of utter physical exhaustion, the cherry on the cake of the void that is depression. In short I’ve been through the mill and I get dragged back in more often than I’d like to.
I’m now finding my own way of dealing with life as best I can (I’m not on any medication or in therapy currently) I try to meditate and exercise daily, it’s frequently a fight to make myself do either but I do feel better for doing them. I’ve not drank alcohol since around 2012 and I pay attention to my diet. I’ve recently started formally practicing meditation at a Buddhist centre and see this as an area I will continue to go deeper and deeper into
I’ve known Luke for around 20 years [we met at Teesside University in ‘99] we surf together and are close friends. We’d always talked about Men’s Minds Matter as a thing since around 2009 and I’d help with a couple of projects over the years, but mainly I’ve just been supportive of the project.
Things became more formal when MMM became a CIC (Community Interest Company) and in 2019 I became a director. More than anything I just hope that my experiences help to add to what we do with Men’s Minds Matter so that others might not have to go through similar difficulties.
You can check out a Podcast I did with another good friend of ours. It documents my story and is the first time I have told it.
Dr Luke Sullivan
Crisis Team Psychologist and Suicide Prevention Specialist
I am the founding director of Men’s Minds Matter, which started as a project in 2009 before becoming an CIC in 2013. Men’s Minds Matter, a not-for-profit community interest company dedicated to the prevention of suicide.
In the NHS, I work as a clinical psychologist in Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team where I specialise in developing and delivering psychological crisis interventions to people at risk of suicide. Home Treatment Teams are the NHS service that works with people who are actively at risk of taking their own lives due to life crises. The intervention we have developed here at Men’s Minds Matter now informs the psychological work across the Home Treatment Teams in South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.
I have been working in the field of suicide prevention, men’s mental health, crisis prevention and male suicide since 2004. We have contributed to raising awareness of suicide in many ways over the years and unashamedly focus on men. However, the interventions we develop are as relevant to all people regardless of gender. At the moment we provide support to Clinical Advisory Board of the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), the Southwark Public Health Suicide Prevention Steering Group, the South London and Maudsley Suicide Prevention Committee, the National Suicide Prevention Alliance Advisory Group and the Royal College of Psychiatry Home Treatment Team Accreditation Advisory Board.
My interest in male psychology also led to me co-founding the UK Male Psychology Conference, the Male Psychology Network and the Male Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society. I am an author and editor of the Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health where we written about our psychological intervention and how it is structured when working with people in home treatment teams. Our model for intervention underpins all of our work here at Men’s Minds Matter.
I am an avid surfer which is how Nigel and I met. Surfing is a pure flow experience which taps into full awareness and present moment focus. It’s mindfulness in action with the added dimension of being at your edge when things get big and scary. I mountain bike during flat spells and we hold a yearly fund-raising event for MMM. I also swim and cook. I am a proud father, husband, and friend.
The original Men’s Minds Matter Non-Executive Committee comprised of seven people including experts with lived experience, leaders from the business world, researchers and psychologists. The committee offered advice and support on the strategic direction of Men’s Minds Matter as well as governance for the project. The committee was formed in December 2014 and meet several times each year to discuss progress, achievements and future directions.
More recently we moved towards developing expert advisory panels to provide oversight of our projects. These comprise on experts with lived experience, people bereaved by suicide, clinicians and researchers. These advisory panels provide ongoing support and guidance on how to progress the work of Men’s Minds Matter.