Clinical and Ethics Advisor / Soul Midwife in Residence

Dr Deborah Ritchie

Deborah has worked at the cutting edge of mental health and public health for 50 years. She worked in the NHS as an honorary nurse consultant (supporting staff in intensive psychiatric care settings) as well working in communities and academia within the specialisms of mental health and young people, alcohol and community psychiatric services.

As Deputy Director of Health Promotion, Deborah managed many programmes, including the development of the first health promotion campaign targeting young men and suicide. She created the Craigmillar Community Health Project in 1988, based upon community development principles, and pioneered and highlighted of the impact of domestic violence on women’s lives during the Zero Tolerance Campaign. The project also set up the first counselling service in a GP Practice and led developments in men’s health – both in mental health as well as coronary heart disease.

Craigmillar influenced her to co-found the Whole Works with Rob in 1991. The founding principles were to of providie high quality mental health services, alongside a commitment to be as accessible as possible and creating a nurturing environment for both clients and practitioners. This has been sustained for over 30 years.

The latter part of Deborah’s career was at the University of Edinburgh, School of Health in Social Science where her research focus were in tobacco control and mental health. She has published over 50 papers in academic journals and has presented her work internationally. She has supervised both mental health and public health PhD students.

She was involved in three-year Gestalt Psychotherapy training in the early 90’s and has maintained her interest in offering psychotherapeutic support.

Since retiring in 2013 she has volunteered as a bereavement counsellor with Cruse Bereavement Care Scotland for 7 years and  also  at St Columba’s Hospice. She is currently a Compassionate Neighbour, co-founding the North Berwick Compassionate Community Project, which supports people to be more confident in talking about death, dying and grief.

Deborah also trained as a Soul Midwife in 2018 and is the Soul Midwife in residence at the Whole Works.