Engage Aotearoa

Our Team

This is us

We are a small and ever-evolving team of volunteers (currently just a pair) who have a personal experience of recovering from a mental-health problem or have experience of supporting someone we love through the process. Some of us fit in both those categories. We each also have a range of professional skills to back up our personal perspectives and address their limitations. Together we make content for the website and share it round. Our mission is to make it easier for people to find what they need to recover from a mental-health problem. If you’d like to get involved, contact us.

Miriam Larsen-Barr

Miriam has a long background in both the field of psychology and the service-user movement, and now refers to herself as a psychologist with lived experience. She found it a struggle to find what she needed to get well – what worked for her ranged from poetry to a clinical psychologist and it took years to find her way to these things. Her experiences left her with a passion for stigma reduction and a drive to help other people find what they need much sooner. As well as inhabiting a service-user standpoint, Miriam has a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, a Master of Arts with First Class Honours in psychology, a Postgraduate Diploma of Arts in psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and employment relations. After her undergraduate degree, Miriam spent several years working as a supporter for people experiencing mental health problems and other disabilities. Engage Group grew out of this work in 2007 and became the focus of Miriam’s Master’s thesis, The Transdiagnostic Approach to Anxiety Treatment in an Education and Support Group Setting, this website and a peer-reviewed article in Psychosis.  Following this she spent three years working to reduce stigma as part of the national Like Minds Like Mine initiative, before moving on to train as a clinical psychologist. Miriam’s Doctoral research, Experiencing Antipsychotic Medication: From First Prescriptions to Attempted Discontinuation has been read widely online and appears in Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. She also writes the occasional blog for Mad in America and in her other life spends her time writing and performing poetry

Daniel Larsen-Barr
Information Manager

Daniel makes sure that we have the latest information and that we communicate it well. Without Daniel, Engage Aotearoa would not exist – he built the first website from scratch, after teaching himself to do it on the internet. He continues to maintain the website and manages our community engagement resources, keeping the content of the Community Resources Directory, Mental-Health News and Events Blog and Online Resources Pack current and expanding. Daniel is a published poet with a BA in English literature and philosophy and a background as a consumer advisor and creative writing tutor. He holds a non-pathologising perspective and wants to see people experiencing distress being treated as normal members of society, who have an equal opportunity to live well.


Our thanks to the people who have been part of the Engage Aotearoa journey

  • Diane Hewitt
  • Michelle Bolton Durey
  • Sheree Veysey
  • Taimi Allan
  • Emma Edwards
  • Catherine Beyer
  • Ken Larsen