Toby Williamson


Toby leads our work in mental health in later life and dementia, as well as being involved with mental capacity.

His other areas of expertise include ethics and values, innovative community mental health services, social inclusion, user involvement and service improvement.

Toby has over 20 years’ experience of working in the field of mental health where he has been involved in setting up, working in and managing a variety of services in both statutory and non-statutory organisations for people with severe and enduring mental health problems living in the community. He initially worked as an assistant supervisor on a gardening project for people in a psychiatric hospital in Oxford. Since then he has worked for the NHS, local authority social services, a housing association, a local MIND association and community-based mental health services. He has also worked at the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health as a training and practice development officer.

Toby has worked for the Mental Health Foundation since 2002. As Head of Policy for the Foundation, Toby co-chaired the Making Decisions Alliance which successfully campaigned in support of the Mental Capacity Act and spent 18 months seconded to the Ministry of Justice as Stakeholder and Communications Manager for the Mental Capacity Act Implementation Programme. Toby has published a variety of work on older people's mental health, team working, user involvement, and attitudes and values, and has also designed and delivered training for multidisciplinary mental health teams based in the community.

Despite having worked in mental health services for over 20 years, Toby has never acquired a formal mental health qualification although he does have a professional lorry driver’s licence - but prefers cycling as a way of looking after his mental health.


Toby Williamson's blog

  • Published 05 March 2014
    We will be even more short-sighted if we don’t at least consider the possible associations between the age of austerity, loneliness, poverty and falling life expectancy.
  • Published 06 December 2013
    There is still great stigma in admitting to a mental health problem, particularly when you are male, and particularly in such testosterone-filled environments as the world of professional sport.
  • Published 22 November 2013
    An early diagnosis means that someone knows what is causing their symptoms or difficulties, enables them to plan ahead, and can provide access to care and treatment which may slow down the illness or make it more manageable. However, the opening debate at this year’s Dementia Congress threw the issue up in the air again.
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