We meet the Sale-born integrative psychologist whose outstanding work in mental health is helping everyone from school children and sportspeople to workers in Covid-struck care homes to prioritise wellness and live free from mental distress
With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in this country each year and the pandemic-hit planet all too often feeling upside down, we’ve never been more in need of people like Kimberley.
Compassionate and gently spoken, she has 13 years’ experience working in mental health and innovatively challenging inequalities within support provision. She advises the Government, is published in medical journals, volunteers her time and expertise, and is an award-winning wellness influencer too.
A passion for the lives of others
Kimberley (BSC, MSC, MBPsS) grew up in her parents’ Cheshire hotel, which was renowned for its celebrity clientele, charity fundraisers and cultural diversity. She was surrounded daily by people from all walks of life.
“I was so intrigued by these diverse characters, their life stories and often, the challenges they faced,” recalls Kimberley. “Little did I know, this curiosity would become my life’s work.”
After completing a master’s degree in psychology, Kimberley secured her first role in mental health at the world-famous Priory in Altrincham. Initially, she worked with adult addictions, later moving into the care of young people with eating disorders, igniting a passion for helping those battling negative body image.
Kimberley is pioneering a positive psychology initiative known as ‘psycho-aesthetics’, which supports the consumer (e.g. someone considering anti-wrinkle injections) in exploring the connection between a p pearance and emotions, enabling them to make healthier treatment choices. This work saw her found The Aesthetic Wellness Foundation, the first charity of its kind.
In an industry that is unregulated and a world that’s increasingly conscious of how it looks to others (the ‘Zoom boom’ has us all living through the selfie lens), her influence has never been more vital.
“The work of the foundation is simple – to reduce harm,” explains Kimberley. “We want each and every person who chooses an aesthetic treatment to have a safe, healthy and fulfilled experience, one which brings about a positive, lasting impact on their lives. Sadly, our work exists because this is not always the case. We are there when adverse, life-changing r e a c tions do happen, providing an under- standing and non-judgmental space for anyone who has suffered psychologically due to treatment trauma.”
Kimberley has acted as a clinical advisor to the Government on the issues of regulation and last year, she helped put a law in place that made it illegal for underage patients to have fillers.
Constructing the ‘fourth emergency service’
Kimberley also works as a volunteer emergency therapist and project leader for Heads Up – a national charitable organisation that provides a rapid emergency response to psychological trauma suffered on a catastrophic scale.
“We work on the ground, helping the emotional recovery of those involved in devastating events,” says Kimberley. “We were there at the 2017 Manchester bombing, the Grenfell Tower fire and the London Bridge terror attacks. Our latest work, CovidAid, is a programme created to ‘care for the carers’, targeting traumatised care home workers in, amongst other places, north Manchester.”
Wellness for all
Additionally, Kimberley works within education and leading businesses, to ensure wellness is integrated into the curriculum or working day, as well as with elite sports personnel, including Olympian Rebecca Adlington OBE. Each strand aims to bring about a shift in attitude towards mental wellbeing in communities that have previously been excluded from the discussion:
“We often overlook those who have a perfect life on paper and fail to recognise the unique challenges of unique circumstances.”
Kimberley also works with Eden Wellstyle, an organisation that offers access to carefully selected, fully trained wellness providers and whose holistic philosophy encompasses everything f rom creative arts and nutrition to consultant psychiatry.
Better times ahead
“My work is really focused on how we capture wellness as a part of our everyday discussion,” says Kimberley. “It’s about making time for our wellness before our bodies make time for illness.”
Whilst the world’s a bit of a scary place right now, it feels a whole lot brighter to discover the work of Kimberley.
“It’s not all doom and gloom,” she smiles. “There are some better times ahead and some great opportunities for preserving our wellness.”