Online Statement – Dr Matthew Simpson

29th January 2024
Matthew Simpson Profile Picture

It is with great sadness that we inform you that Matthew Simpson passed away on Thursday 11th January 2024, after a very short illness. 

Matt was a key practitioner, educator and researcher in the field of mental health care for almost 20 years. He qualified as an Approved Social Worker in 2007, the predecessor to the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) role. After 10 years as a Local Authority AMHP Lead and manager with Wiltshire Council, he came to Bournemouth University in 2021, retaining his practice role one day a week. As a senior Lecturer in Social Work at BU, he was programme lead for the Post Graduate Diploma Advanced Mental Health Practice, a programme to prepare suitably qualified and experienced practitioners for the AMHP role.

His PhD research related to AMHP decision-making at the point of referral for a Mental Health Act assessment, adopting the strengths based and collaborative research methodology of Appreciate Inquiry to establish with Approved Mental Health Professionals their best practice, then develop ways to enhance this for the future, including service developments to facilitate positive change.

Matt’s approach to the AMHP role was pioneering. While he recognised that the role was situated within a legal framework, he was concerned that this aspect could dominate the way it was viewed and enacted. His passion was to emphasise the ethical and moral aspects of the role.

Matt was at the forefront of an initiative to develop mental health research in BU, coordinating with colleagues over a number of disciplines. Having completed his PhD in February 2023, he was already publishing his research, with a paper in 2020 and another that was published in the prestigious British Journal of Social Work the week after his death. His research has attracted attention nationally from the AMPH and mental health practitioner community, connecting with a broader appetite for enhancing the AMHP role in preventing detention. These can be accessed via the following links:

He will be missed by many of us on a personal level and leaves a huge gap in the field.  He leaves behind his beloved partner, Sarah, and daughter, Lily.

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