Making the invisible visible: mental health and hidden disabilities

Please see a recording of this event below:

Invisible, or hidden disability is an umbrella term that captures a range of disabilities that are not visible from the outside, yet can limit or challenge a person’s movement, sense, or activities. These could be long term health conditions, visual or hearing impairments, chronic health conditions, mental health, or neurodiversity.

We invite the university community to join this event where a panel of our Disabled staff and students will join Katherine Linehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity, Inclusion and People, in a conversation about their lived experience of invisible disabilities and mental health awareness in the university.

Speakers include:

Chloe Bates:
Chloe works in International Student Recruitment and is also on EDI External Relations Committee. She suffers from several chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia and endometriosis, and often shares her experiences on her blog.

Robert Gach:
Born London 1957. Since my teens I have suffered from bouts of depression. The Equality Act 2010 led me to get a first formal diagnosis of ‘Recurrent Depression’ in 2012. Then from 2013-2018 I was a ‘Time to Change’ activist (https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/) challenging Mental Health stigma. I am Chair of Disabled Staff Network DSN (2020-present).

Mandy Gill:
Mandy Gill works as Project Officer for the BBSRC DTP at University of Nottingham. She manages the training programme, marketing, comms and events for the biological sciences PhD programme. She is currently studying for a Creative Writing and English Literature degree with The Open University and volunteers as a Chaplain for Methodist Homes (MHA).

Katherine Linehan
Katherine Linehan joined University of Nottingham as Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality Diversity, Inclusion and People in January 2022. Prior to UoN, Katherine was at the University of Sheffield where she was the deputy EDI lead for the institution as a whole, supporting the work of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She is very passionate about taking her own lived experience as a disabled woman with caring responsibilities in academia and using it to drive effective, positive change in the institution. Katherine is committed to driving EDI at UoN “My ambition is to create a diverse and inclusive staff and student community in which all are given equal opportunity to thrive and showcase their talents. I want to foster an environment in which everyone feels comfortable and valued bringing their authentic self to the university to work or to study.”

Natalie Sharratt
Natalie Sharratt is 24yrs old and a first-year physiotherapy student. She was a dancer between the ages of 3-19 until this was suddenly taken from her at performing arts university when she was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia and retroversion. She has undertaken two major hip operations (peri-acetabular osteotomies), screw removals and an arthroscopy in the last 3 years. She found her new passion of physiotherapy through her personal experiences and wanted to use her own knowledge to help future patients. She continues her love of music playing the flute in the university windband and volunteer with Phabsoc supporting young members with disabilities. She has recently in February 2022 had a diagnosis of hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and hopes to raise further awareness of this condition to support herself and others.

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