Until recently, Philip Thomas was a volunteer with a charity in a Northern town that helps refugees and asylum seekers rebuild their lives. He was also the Chair, then Vice-Chair (and a co-founder) of Sharing Voices Bradford, a charity that works with people from diverse communities with mental health problems. In a previous life he was a consultant psychiatrist for over 20 years, where he was a founder member and co-chair (until 2011) of the Critical Psychiatry Network. He was also Professor of Philosophy, Diversity and Mental Health in the University of Central Lancashire. He has written or co-authored four books on philosophy and mental health, and dozens of soporific academic papers.
He had a high profile as a psychiatrist. His work featured in a Horizon documentary on Hearing Voices, and he appeared in a Radio 4 phone-in on hearing voices after the broadcast of Sara Maitland’s play Other Voices. His work featured on BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind on three occasions, on hearing voices, postpsychiatry (his third book co-authored with Pat Bracken), and his work with Pat in Bradford. From 1998 to 2003 he was a judge for the national Mental Health Media awards sponsored by The Guardian.
He is passionate about about social justice and culture (however defined) especially other people’s, and spends most of his time writing about the two, and occasionally not very good fiction. As he has aged (matured?) he has become more preoccupied with the political contexts that shape our understandings of ourselves and the world we live in. In this respect he is particularly concerned with the role of something that many people pretend doesn’t exist – neoliberalism.
He enjoys theatre, art and music, and whilst he really know nothing at all about the former two, he is an experienced choral singer, currently with Manchester’s Halle Choir, and the William Byrd Singers, a chamber choir based in Manchester. He keeps fit by walking his Bedlington Terrier over the Pennines, and he enjoys food and cooking, especially Italian, Levantine fusion and South Asian food. His main love outside writing is his wife, two children and three grandchildren.