Meet our National Steering Group Members

Alan Whitty

Alan has almost 20 years experience working in health services. To date he has worked with service users in the areas of addiction, social exclusion, learning difficulties and art therapy.

Alan is very active in local inclusion groups including LGBTQ+ & Adult survivors of childhood abuse. He joined Together as a service user in 2012 and recruited to the NSG in 2014. Having served as a number for several years on the committee, Alan took the Chair of the NSG in 2021.

"Together is a shining example of Service User Leadership and Peer Support and, having been a recipient of both, I am privileged to be part of this ever evolving organisation."

Shaun O’Brien

Shaun joined the NSG in early 2021. At the time of joining he was a service user and, upon leaving Together’s services, he has continued to volunteer and support the NSG. He has lived experience of mental distress, homelessness and addiction.

Professionally he has been a mental health support worker and he also worked for a private ambulance company which subcontracts to the NHS to provide secure patient transport. This covered working within and under the mental health act, meeting patients who are in crisis and also support mental health units with an array of tasks and situations.

"My motive behind joining the NSG came from the support that Together provided me along with their great values. It made me feel this charity was something I wanted to get behind and support. I feel that having both the professional and personal understanding of mental distress and working within the mental health field I have unique experiences that I can use to help improve other people’s lives, and Together have given me many opportunities to do this. The other great thing that I get from this role is the personal growth and development and support from everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working alongside."

Naheen Ali

Naheen has over a decade of experience working in both the charity and mental health sector. She has worked with the homeless, refugees, children and young people, those facing social and financial difficulties and those in the criminal justice system. She also holds a BA (Hons) degree in Social Sciences.

She has been a Peer Support Worker for her local mental health Trust. Nationally she is a Trustee of a mental health research charity and is an Adviser to NHSE. She also sits on the Editorial Board for The British Journal of Social Work. Locally she carries out Quality Improvement work with her mental health Trust.

"I joined the NSG as I wanted to use lived experience leadership in its fullest potential to bring about change that will have a positive and meaningful influence to service users who use Together services."

Montana Cantagalli

Montana has been a volunteer for Together for over five years. She started off as a Peer Support Volunteer, then joined the NSG shortly after. She is originally Dutch/Italian and has lived in the Middle East and France most of her life. She comes from an academic background in psychology/political science and military psychiatry.

She has worked with international NGOs and national UK charities alike and is particularly passionate about mental health and women’s rights, which led her to also working with organisations like Women’s Aid and UNESCO.

Since she was a teenager she has lived with a number of mental health difficulties and began treatment from a young age in order to learn how to manage living with these and overtime began increasingly appreciating the work that goes into addressing mental health.

"My favourite thing about being a part of the NSG is being part of a collective of likeminded people, using our knowledge and lived experience to influence the organization in positive ways. Being part of the NSG makes me feel as though I am making a difference and allows me to give back to an organization and community I hugely admire."


Jodie joined the NSG in late 2022. She is currently living in one of our residential care homes, where she has lived with her fluffy feline companion Missy for just over 4 years.

With over 25 years of lived experience of mental distress, she was keen to bring her experience to the NSG to learn more about the organisation and offer her lived experience to benefit others.

"If you have 4 legs, feathers or fur and a tail she'll talk to you, but two legs and a brain, forget it!" A quote that Jodie's late mother often use to describe her to other people. Empathetic and caring, she found a love of animals at an early age with a passion for animal assisted therapy and peer support. Jodie has also seen the benefits of this with her own miniature ponies and disabled children in the past.

Since joining the NSG it has really helped my general confidence to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to do things that I haven't done in over twenty years due to my social anxiety. This included being a part of the activity committee at the residential home where I live, going to see a show out of town with a friend, and taking the train to London to attend Together's lecture on Art and Mental Health. My hope for the future is to work towards moving on so I can have my own little place with my cat Missy.