Meet the Team

Rachel Bannister – chair

Rachel co-founded Mental Health – Time for Action in 2017 following years of struggling to access appropriate mental health treatment for her then teenage daughter.

She is a strong advocate of trauma-informed approaches to mental health care. She believes that these approaches must include access to therapies that work towards resolving past adverse experiences and trauma such as bullying and abuse.

Rachel has personally benefitted from the therapeutic approaches Parks Inner Child Therapy (PICT) and Eye Movement Reprocessing and Desensitisation (EMDR), which she believes have been instrumental in her recovery from benzodiazepine addiction.

Rachel works as Carer Representative on the Council of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCpsych), The Quality Eating Disorders Network (QED) and the RCpsych Trent Executive Committee. She also works part time as a primary school teacher.

Rachel loves nature walks and spending time with her dog Roo. She believes in the restorative power of spending time in the natural world and is involved with the Green Walking Project.

Rachel can also be found on Twitter @lovebillybragg

Caroline Aldridge – patron

‘If I could change one thing, it would be to increase kindness.’

Caroline is a social worker and independent trainer. She was a carer for her son, Tim, who had bipolar disorder and died in 2014. Her books, He Died Waiting: Learning the Lessons – a Bereaved Mother’s View of Mental Health Services (2020) and They Died Waiting: The Crisis in Mental Health Services – Stories of Loss and Stories of Hope (2023) which she co-edited with Emma Corlett, articulate the experiences of people with mental illness, their carers, and families. Caroline advocates for improved mental health services and support for bereaved relatives.

Caroline’s qualifications include a Social Work BA (First Class Hons), Advanced Social Work MA (distinction), a Diploma in Education and Training, and a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy. She has over 30 years experience of working with children and families in a range of settings, and her lecturing experience includes social work, mental health and social care programmes.

Alex Serafimov – trustee

Alex co-founded Mental Health – Time for Action and holds a PhD from the University of Nottingham.

His PhD combines insights from philosophy with the history of psychiatry. He is particularly interested in how the relationship between reason and emotion has been conceptualised over time, and how these conceptualisations shape our understanding and treatment of mental distress.

He is passionate about social medicine, and examining the social determinants of health.

In his spare time, Alex plays piano and composes music.

Naomi Rasmussen – trustee

Naomi is a postgraduate medical student at University College London and current UCL Psychiatry Society chair, to which she brings a background in the humanities. She is passionate about non-pathologising approaches to mental distress, and opening up spaces for trauma narratives, in the widest possible sense, to be heard.

Following a fortuitous encounter with co-founder Rachel Bannister, she has never looked back! Through her work with the Mental Health – Time for Action Foundation she hopes to be part of the systemic change sorely needed to ensure care and treatment is a co-created, compassionate endeavour, which embeds the individual’s story at its very heart.

Naomi is also a keen musician (cello, piano, singing) and dancer (ballet).

Caroline Bald – trustee

Caroline is a registered social worker in criminal justice. She works as an academic at the University of Essex in Social Work and Social Justice, leading the MA in Social Work and Human Rights programme. Her research explores the problematisation of well-being and inclusive education.

Caroline’s anger at state-led discrimination and the stigmatising power of weaponised wellbeing narratives led her to find Mental Health – Time for Action after speaking (and swearing) at a Psychiatry Teaching Conference. Her goal is to effect change through educational reform from moralising “rites of passage” to a shared cross-caring professional critical pedagogy.

Caroline is a Glaswegian working-class feminist writer who loves nothing more than reading Tartan Noir on coffee breaks as she explores new spaces. Mum to two teachers, she’s happiest learning.