2017 for me began, as I suspect it did for many of you, with
being asked to offer diagnosis on the U.S president. I declined,
not least because many of the things that people find unpleasant or
scary about him - misogyny, aggression, rudeness and so on - are
not evidence for mental disorders.
But if not as a psychiatrist, just as a member of the public, it
is hard to avoid a certain morbid interest in the man - one can't
get him out of one's mind, no matter how hard one tries, and
believe me, I do try.
As I start to make notes for my final speech as president at
Congress 2017 I can't help but think how would Donald do it. I did
ask him over for the event, promising we would all be off-duty, but
he declined. So what follows is the product of a fertile
imagination, access to a twitter account and switching "Verb Block'
Loyal congress attenders (you are very good people) will know
that the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s International Congress is
Birmingham 2015 and London 2016 saw the Congress’s biggest
gatherings ever. That's a fact. 3000 delegates from about 50
countries. The experts, the top ones, said the academic programme
was the best ever. It was. Anything else is lies. From extremely
But it can and will be greater in 2017. LET'S MAKE PSYCHIATRY
A great city
We’re off to Edinburgh this June. It's a great, great city
folks, seriously, I go through it regularly on my way to play golf.
It looks lovely. And Congress 2017 is going to be huge.
They tell me it always rains in Edinburgh. Nonsense. I have
talked to the right people. There will be no raining falling upon
Scotland during the congress. Guaranteed.
Walls? Yes, we can do walls. They tell me there is a good wall
up there to keep the English out. We will get it working again. And
the Romans will pay. They shouldn't never have let it get into that
You’ll get the best
And we get you Congress goers the best.
Professor Karl Deisseroth, who is more hotly tipped to win the
next Nobel than Chelsea is to win the Premiership, joins our
campaign from Stanford University. Professor Deisseroth is a
practising psychiatrist and pioneer of optogenetics (in Trump-speak
this translates to lighting up brains in a very clever way). Very
high tech, great, great stuff.
OK, enough already. I can't write this stuff anymore. Verbs and
references to the Premier League keep slipping in. So let's return
to something more like English and which hopefully won’t trigger
panic attacks in the reader.
The biggest brain
We will also have last year's winner of the world’s biggest
brain prize, the Brain Prize, Professor Richard Morris, known for
ground breaking work on tackling Alzheimer’s through understanding
memory. He will be exploring novelty and familiarity in
consolidating memory. And conveniently for us, he just needs a bus
fare across Edinburgh.
Those of you who joined us in London for Congress 2016 might
have enjoyed seeing me royally outwitted by Jo Brand. Or not. Jo is
known for many things but not for fancy footwork. Unlike Deborah
Bull, the prima ballerina turned cultural tsarina, who will be
keeping me on my toes in interview this year.
Thought for the day
We will also welcome Professor Mona Siddiqui, the doyenne of
Thought for the Day and much more, who will talk on passion, piety
and psychosis in medieval Islam. Or do I mean with passion on piety
I can personally recommend Professor Ian Deary's session on
cognitive ageing. I have known Ian since we were trainees together
back before the First World War. Which means on the topic of
cognitive aging he knows his stuff.
A strong pitch for the least Trump-friendly session is made by
Professor Michael King, talking of the impact of stigma in
psychiatry through the lens of sexuality and gender. Although I
doubt Donald would be first in line to attend our debates on
climate change and mental health or the advocacy role of
psychiatrists working with LGBT people either.
He may still put in an appearance at our guaranteed sell out
show (and that is a real fact) "Neurology for Dummies" by Carson
and Stone, Edinburgh's answer to Laurel and Hardy. And then you get
me, giving my last speech as President. Turn up just to make sure
it is my last. Turn up to make sure my last audience is the
Register to attend here - it's cheaper if you do it before 31
March 2017. We don't have any numbers but I guarantee that
International Congress Edinburgh 2017 will be the largest ever.
It's a fact. Look at the photos. They never lie. Unlike the
Oh no, it's happening again. I have to stop. Need to tweet. Now.
|Copyright William Starkey and licensed for reuse under the
Creative Commons Licence
||Copyright Adam Ward and licensed for reuse under the Creative
Professor Sir Simon Wessely
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