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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

 

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WELCOME MESSAGE

The issue of mental health has been very much in the news in 2017 with the Prime Minister Theresa May making major policy announcements  and attracting significant comment from across the political and professional spectrum.

It is an appropriate time therefore to talk about The International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one of the most prestigious events in the World Mental Health Conference calendar. The last 2 years in Birmingham and London saw the Congress’s biggest gatherings and with over 3000 delegates from about 50 countries and an extremely well received academic programme, the 2016 London Congress was by far, the most successful to date.

In 2017, the International Congress comes to Edinburgh with the theme Psychiatry Without Borders. Like before, we have a programme that features not just academics, but patients, families and opinion leaders from the social and political sphere. Indeed, over the 4 days of the conference, there will be 14 keynotes and about 80 parallel sessions that cover a wide range of subjects, from core science to clinical psychiatry to policy areas.

Our keynote speakers this year include two academics, widely tipped as Nobel prize winners of the future- Professor Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University, winner of the 2016 Massry Prize, a practising psychiatrist and pioneer of Optogenetics and Professor Richard Morris of Edinburgh, winner of the 2015 Brain Prize  and renowned for his work on the neural basis of memory.

Dame Stephanie "Steve" Shirley,  IT pioneer and philanthropist who many of you may have seen on TED talks will talk about her campaigning work on autism, Professor Mona Siddiqui, Professor of Islamic and Inter religious studies at Edinburgh and a regular on Radio 4’s Thought for the Day will talk about Passion, Piety and Psychosis,  Dr Anita Everett, President of the American Psychiatric Association will talk about Ethics in an Era of Psychiatry without Borders and Deborah Bull, CBE, writer, broadcaster and former creative director of the Royal Opera House will be in conversation with the President in a very interesting keynote session.

We have Professor Anthony David of Kings College London on The Strange Case of Dr Oliver Sacks,  Professor Michael King of UCL on the Impact of Stigma in Psychiatry told through the lens of sexuality and gender and  Professor Ian Deary of Edinburgh on Healthy Cognitive Ageing along with Professor Rachel Yehuda, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Traumatic Stress Studies at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York and Jo Lyall, whose reputation as a powerful and persuasive voice of the patient experience precedes her.

The International Congress has had its share of policy announcements being made on its stage-  the £1.25 billion of funding for Child Mental Health over the course of this parliament that was highlighted by the then Health Minister of England at our Birmingham 2015 Congress comes to mind. On the policy and political front this year, we have Shona Robinson, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Scotland and Dame Denise Coia, Chair of Health Improvement Scotland on an analysis of breaking down the barriers to improve Mental Health Care, a message that while delivered from a Scottish perspective, nevertheless has resonance everywhere.

Over the last three years, Professor Simon Wessely has been an extraordinarily successful President of the College. Unfailingly courteous, even while being incisive and candid, his has been a respected voice speaking truth to power in the field of mental health. Adept at harnessing the power of 140 twitter characters, Professor Wessely is an object lesson for Presidents everywhere, including those of countries, on how that power can be used constructively. The Edinburgh Congress 2017 will feature the valedictory address of this remarkable President and that is bound to be one of its highlights.

In addition to these keynotes, the real strength of the Congress has always been the wide range of parallel sessions presented by an international faculty and the 2017 menu is even richer than before. Do have a quick browse of the full programme to fully appreciate the breadth and strength of what is on offer. As always, we are very grateful for the many suggestions and proposals from the College's inceptors, members, fellows and well-wishers, in particular, the patients and families who helped us to shape the 2017 programme.

Please make sure you register early for the full conference and take advantage of the early bird rates which will be available until 31 March 2017.

We do hope to see as many of you as possible in Edinburgh from 26-29 June 2017.

 

Dr Regi Alexander and Professor Ian Jones, Co-chairs & Dr Ian Hall, Associate Dean for Advanced Learning and Conferences

 

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