The My Black Dog Pack

Niki Clarke
Founder & CEO

Hello, I'm Niki. I started My Black Dog after years of battling with clinical depression. I went through some VERY dark times, which are hard to describe or even talk about, I know how tough it is to reach out to others about what you are going through. For a long time I felt very ashamed of my mental health, I thought I was the only person who felt this way, that there was something deeply dark and wrong with me. Since starting My Black Dog, I have seen how many people have struggled with their mental health. I want you to know, you are NOT alone in how you feel - My Black Dog are here for you to talk to. I am immensely proud of the My Black Dog pack! All of them have been through really hard experiences, and they are here to share that with you. They are kind, empathetic and truly inspiring. Each day, they show me that you are not alone, even in the darkest of days, you are never alone.

Eddy Temple-Morris
Patron

When Niki came to me with the idea for My Black Dog, I had been working with the suicide charity, CALM, for over a decade.

I watched them grow into a big, successful and financially sustainable charity, they didn’t need me any more. Niki and My Black Dog did. She couldn’t raise funds the normal way because the traditional funders were too short sighted to see the very real benefit of talking to someone like you. A non professional. Someone who’s been there and can really empathise with you if you’re struggling.

My Black Dog is powered by volunteers and that means it’s powered by love. They don’t get any money for what they do and neither do I. And when you chat to our volunteers that’s what you get and that’s what you feel. Love. Empathy. Understanding.

I’m so proud of my association with this amazing charity and I really hope to see it grow in a similar way. We’re not focused on any gender, or any specific mental health issue, we’re only focused on helping people and with your help as a volunteer or a supporter or a fundraiser, we can help more and more of them.

With love

Eddy x

Pack Leaders

Mark Glenister
Operations Associate

I am the Operations Associate for My Black Dog – But the journey to get here has been a long and sometimes painful one. This journey has taken me through a career in both IT and Hospitality, working with some of the biggest FTSE 100 companies and working at some of the biggest events (Olympics,Wimbledon, Royal Ascot). During this time, I have made mistakes, plenty, but have always learnt and come back stronger, and become a far better person andManager for those mistakes.

Throughout it all, I have battled with depression and anxiety since my late teens, it has shaped how I dealt with things in both my work life and personal, my friendships and more importantly my opinion of myself. 

Covid and lockdowns have all impacted our lives in the past few years, it gave me time to reflect and consider where I wanted my career to take me - I started volunteering for My Black Dog in July 2020 after being made redundant, it helped me find some routine in my week, and to give support to those who needed it, a support that when I was at my lowest I couldn’t get.

I loved volunteering for the charity and wanted to do more to help, I was then offered a part time role as Volunteer Manager within My BlackDog in December 2021, which I greatly accepted. As the charity grew so did my role and I became a full time Volunteer Manager in February 2021, and eventually I moved into my new Operations Associate role in October 2021.

The past few years have made me realise how passionate I am about Mental Health, and whilst we talk about it more openly now, we still need to back those words up with actions. Working for My Black Dog allows me to have a positive change on people's lives, with actions and words.

Along with Niki and the wonderful team of volunteers, we aim to grow this organisation and ensure more people experience empathy not sympathy when trying to deal with their mental health. 

Nicole Whittaker
Shift Manager

Student Child Psychologist, Counsellor, and dog mum. I work for another charity as an HR Advisor alongside my role as Shift Manager in MBD. Big fan of football, and heavy metal. I love hiking, true crime, and photography.

Why I Love Working for MBD: I love being able to help people, it's a passion I have had for a really long time. I work alongside an amazing management team, and the best bunch of volunteers any charity could ask for.

Jess Wilkinson
Shift Manager

Mental health stigma is something I have felt all my life. I was ashamed that at 13 I was in counselling, at 16 I was put on medication to help my symptoms of GAD. I was having to face trauma from my childhood and didn't realise that it hadn't really stopped. I was ashamed when I received my EUPD diagnosis. Will people think I can't keep a stable relationship and I self harm for attention? My mental health deteriorated. I started hearing a voice telling me to throw myself out of a window and I was put with a local crisis team. Again I was ashamed. It wasn't until one lady who became my support worker showed me so much kindness and acceptance that I started feeling I could be me and leave the labels behind. She taught me how to use nature and creativity to connect with myself and others and above all else, gave me courage to live.

I feel that by being part of My Black Dog, as a volunteer gave me the chance to help others challenge stigma that can be so detrimental and to send the message that it is ok, you are not alone and this hour we have together is a safe and non judgemental space to explore and be heard. To be a volunteer gave me courage with my own abilities to reach out and listen to someone, it reminded me of the best parts of humanity, and I finally felt accepted within a team. The message My Black Dog sends out is one that ultimately saved me. No matter the stigma, the shame, the hopelessness, we are in this together, talk to someone who gets it.

I feel privilege, hope and inspiration to now be part of the management team where I can support those who support others. With amazing encouragement from the volunteers I work with, as well as being in a supportive, loving, close knit team of managers, I'm finally home!

Sharlee Kelly
Part time PA

Hello, my name is Sharlee. I am super excited to be a part of My Black Dog! I have struggled with mental health for a long time and it feels great to be able to now talk openly about it and also now be part of a charity where I feel understood. I have a degree in fashion events and television however the last few years I have been working in education as a therapy/support staff member. I hope to start a masters in art therapy in 2023 and continue being an advocate for mental health alongside a creative!

Our ambassadors

Kate Lawler
TV, Radio and voiceover artist
Gail Porter
TV/Radio presenter, actress and mental health stalwart.
Danny McNamara (Embrace)
Singer, songwriter, lyricist, scriptwriter
Hiten Vora
Assistant to Virgin Radio's Chris Evans, Marathon Runner and all round Force of Nature!
Aaron Clarke Potter
Head Chef
Barry Ashworth
Dub Pistols, producer, remixer, front man, dance music pioneer
Fable
Singer, Songwriter
Catrin Vincent
Songwriter (Another Sky)
Ollie Pile
Musician (Bare Noize)
Nick Hogben
Mouth of Manliness podcast and Loveless artist. Mental health survivor and activist
Susie Weaver
Mental health campaigner / blogger at So Happy In Town
Brooders
Psych-garage messy noise from the beating heart of Leeds.
Kate Rowe-Ham
Instagram Fitness Trainer / Spin instructor / Mental health campaigner
Neil Read
Bespoke Woodworker with Ivy Leaf Woodwork Ltd, Firefighter, Fundraiser, Hiker and Mental Health campaigner.
John Newton
JOHN (TIMESTWO) Musician and Mental Health advocate
Rachel Walker Mason BCA
Multi award winning musician, author, Woman Of The Year 2020, mental health survivor and activist
Stephen Card
Chairman at Carbon Underwriting, and mental health advocate

Board of trustees

Leon Douch
Trustee - Chair

Leon is Head of Insurance at Allianz Global Investors. In 2015 he raised over £80k for four charities in Rendevous Run, an event in which a series of cars were driven from London to Monte Carlo! Leon is a great networker and has extensive experience as a company director and client development manager. I am really looking forward to his input as we move ahead! Thanks for coming on board!

Emily Cherry
Trustee - Safeguarding

Emily is a Charity sector CEO and expert with over 25 years in the large children’s charities including NSPCC and Childline. She has experience in safeguarding, running large volunteer services, fundraising, policy, public affairs, lobbying, campaigning and a recognised media spokesperson. She is passionate about mental health having campaigned for better support for children and adults throughout her career.

James Mackeddie
Trustee - Volunteering & Fundraising

James is a Brand Manager in the UK cycling industry, with 15 years of voluntary experience with a broad range of charities, mainly focusing on raising funding and awareness through physical challenges, both his own and assist others in their endeavours.

Alice Scutchey
Trustee - Events and Relationship Building

Alice is Director of EMEA Business Administration within Financial Services with over 15 years experience working for top institutions in the industry.

She is married with three children and lives in Kent. As an approved Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Instructor and keen speaker, she uses her platform to tell her personal story, champion women and promote the administrative profession.

Alice also promotes happiness by living positively and supports others to do the same.

Iain Bremner
Trustee - Treasurer

Iain is a qualified accountant with more than thirty years experience in the Lloyd's Insurance market, having held senior executive leadership roles for the majority of this time. He is currently non-executive chair of a Lloyd's Managing Agency. Iain brings a long career of board governance and financial management experience to MBD

Anita Guru
Trustee - Learning & Development and Wellbeing

Anita Guru has worked in Learning and Development for over 15 years across sectors such as charity, government, FMCG and Professional Services. Anita has been involved in leading on Wellbeing projects at her current place of work, BDO LLP. She has been on a personal journey with mental illness where she was diagnosed with Complex PTSD in 2017 after an initial in patient stay at a mental health care facility. She has since been raising awareness around mental health in an attempt to break the stigma in the workplace, and through other external platforms. Anita is a Wellbeing Champion and Mental Health First Aider.  Through her journey, Anita has written poetry which documents her experiences and is also a qualified transformational life coach.

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We are an online mental health charity. We are not doctors or therapists, not counsellors or psychiatrists, we are mental health volunteers who understand; people who have ALL experienced mental health issues.