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Mates in Mind has announced that Sam Downie has joined the UK charity as its new Managing Director. Sam takes over from Sarah Meek who has led the charity since 2021.

Sam started her career as a research psychologist and went on to set up and lead mental health services at local, regional and national level. With a personal and professional commitment to the value of diverse and inclusive teams Sam has led DEIB programmes and been a national Safeguarding Lead.

During Sam’s career she has retained her interest in research and in developing proactive, effective, evidence-based interventions that have positive impact at system, organisational and individual level. Prior to leading Mates in Mind, Sam was the CEO of WPF Therapy.

Sam has a Masters in Leading in Organisations: Psychodynamic and Systemic Approaches and it is this approach to working with sector leaders to develop preventative interventions that are effective and inclusive, that is the bedrock of her approach to partnership, advocacy and fundraising.

Talking about her new role, Sam said, “I am excited to be joining the charity at a time when there is so much opportunity for positive change, building on the work done by Sarah, we can transform the lives of workers, their partners, families and communities by changing how work is contracted and delivered. Construction, Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics are critical to our daily lives, they employ over 19% of the working population in the UK and can be tough environments to work in. There is so much good work being done, and many great initiatives, but we have a long way to go to make good mental health the foundation of working life that it needs to be. Mates in Mind is here to address that need through working with policymakers, organisations and educators to achieve and embed system change. We know that when workers don’t feel comfortable or confident in recognising mental health concerns and seeking help there can be a devastating outcome. Sector leaders understand that by addressing mental health within the workforce, employees are more open and courageous in accessing support, they are more present to work and home, it’s better, and safer, for everyone. And that’s exciting, because by improving workers mental health literacy across a number of sectors we can improve daily life in the UK.”

“Mental ill-health can affect anyone, at any time, which is why it is so important that individuals have the clarity and confidence to know how and where to get support. The aim is to encourage people to make choices that get them on a slightly different path, seeking help earlier when needed and onto a healthier and happier lifepath.”

Kevin Myers, the new Chair of Trustees at Mates in Mind, said, “On behalf of all Trustees and the team at Mates in Mind, I would like to welcome Sam on board. She brings years of experience of, and expertise in, improving mental wellbeing. I know she is very much looking forward to working in partnership with our supporters and key stakeholders in delivering the various programmes and initiatives we have in place, or under development, to support and enable organisations to work proactively to improve the mental health and wellbeing of all their workforce and supply chain.

“I would like to express my gratitude to Sarah Meek for her hard work and dedication in developing the reach and impact of Mates in Mind. I wish her every success for the future.

“I would also like to thank Steve Hails who has come to the end of his term of office as Chair. He was one of the founding architects of Mates in Mind and has provided great leadership and commitment as Chair since it was established in 2016.”

About Mates in Mind

Mates in Mind is a leading UK charity which enables organisations of any size, to proactively improve their workforce wellbeing. We do this by providing the skills, clarity and confidence to businesses on how to raise awareness, improve understanding and address the stigma of mental ill-health in a holistic model.

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