Dr. Martin Stevens, Chair and a founding director of the Good Mental Health Cooperative, has sadly died at the age of 57 from Covid related complications. His funeral took place today at the South Downs Natural Burial Site.
I first met Martin 30 years ago when we both worked as researchers in the Quality and Performance Management Team at Hampshire Social Services. Martin was always a generous, supportive and kind colleague and we formed a strong bond of friendship over the 8 years we worked together. We laughed a lot, and shared some personal struggles too. I was recovering from a mental health breakdown, and Martin was on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant having experienced the trauma of a failed transplant when he was 18. The second attempt was successful and transformed Martin’s life for a decade and more.
After I left Hampshire Social Services, we continued to stay in touch, and Martin moved to the Social Care Workforce Research Unit at Kings College London in 2004. He was encouraging about my first business venture, a wellbeing venue I opened in 2007 shortly before the global financial crisis hit. When Martin recruited me to carry out research fieldwork on a major national project a couple of years later, he probably didn’t realise how much this income saved me from financial disaster
Then in 2013 Martin joined Sandy Walker, myself and others to constitute the Good Mental Health Cooperative as a Community Interest Company. As a director and chair of the management committee, Martin quietly and consistently supported our progress over the past nine years.
In the obituary published in the Guardian, his colleague John Woolham described Martin’s “exceptional ability to analyse complex problems from various perspectives, helping to provide valuable insights for health practitioners, managers and policymakers with clear and well-considered recommendations.” At the Good Mental Health Coop Martin’s contribution to reviewing funding bids, policy development and steering our overall direction as an organisation was invaluable, and he will be sorely missed.
Above all I will personally feel the loss of his friendship, kindness and unwavering support over the past 30 years.
On behalf of the Good Mental Health Coop committee, volunteers and members, our condolences go to Martin’s loving wife Alison, and to his family and friends.
Rest In Peace Martin.
Click here for a piece in memory of Martin from the NIHR Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce at King’s College London, generating thoughts from other colleagues on how Martin will be remembered.