‘Recovery in Mental Health’ Conference attracts worldwide speakers

Posted on 5th April, 2006

Supporting each other to stay well and enjoy life was the theme for the second ‘Recovery in Mental Health’ Conference held at the Barnstaple Hotel in North Devon on 6th and 7th April.  Recovery in mental health is a broad concept that focuses on hope and wellness rather than problems and illness.  Recovery is about living a life that feels meaningful and purposeful despite any mental health problems. It is also about having choice and control over any treatment including looking at alternatives. Guest speakers from the USA, New Zealand and the UK were among the 200 delegates and the two-day programme was packed with workshops, interactive events and a day that looks at the international and national inspiration of journeys of recovery and beyond. Many of the delegates were service users and carers of the Devon Partnership NHS Trust and David Gonzales, Program Director, from New York and Frank Bristol from New Zealand will share their experiences as service users of mental health services in their respective countries, as well as their stories to recovery. Bringing a UK perspective to the event, amongst others, was Shery Mead who talked about peer support, Iain Caldwell, Hartlepool Mind and Jim White, Clinical Psychologist from Glasgow who will talked about his work in the Specialist Team for Early Psychosis. Other highlights from the conference included a presentation on ‘Challenging Stigma and Discrimination’ that looked at strategies to challenge the stigma and discrimination experienced by those who have mental health conditions, an interactive drama and arts workshop that gave participants an opportunity to look at different ways of expressing ideas, and a singing workshop to introduce beginners to the pleasures of singing harmonies with others in a relaxed and pressure-free environment. Service user led approaches from across Devon will also be presented and include projects from Exeter, North and South Devon. The conference ended with a prize giving ceremony for the winner of a design competition for the www.recoveryindevon.co.uk website, which will be launched following the event. The conference was organised by ‘Partnerships for Mental Health Recovery’, a group made up of service users, carers, voluntary organisations, and health and social care staff committed to mental health recovery.