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

Past lectures

On this page you can catch up on the fantastic lectures given at the invitation of our President, Professor Wendy Burn.


Professor Dame Sue Bailey, OBE, DBE: Back to the future - on the road less travelled

Date: 21 March 2018

Lecture synopsis

We all know that where we live will impact radically on the quality of our lives. Across the world the challenge of achieving values and evidenced based, affordable, sustainable health care for all, has become so overwhelming we increasingly risk becoming crisis junkies.

Are we currently condemning prevention and sustainability to the too difficult to do box? How do we deal with diverse views as to whether increased utilisation of Artificial Intelligence in health care will make all things possible, threaten the livelihoods, remove all semblance of citizen confidentiality and rights or deliver the data patterns, that can advance the science of medicine and improve patient outcomes?


About the speaker

As a Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatrist, I was privileged to have worked in varied clinical and research teams across health, social care, education and justice, nationally and internationally.

Past President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Past Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, I continue to hold the roles of Mental Health Advisor to Health Education England, Chair of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition and Vice Chair of the Centre for Mental Health.

Most recently I have become a Non- Executive Director of Manchester University's NHS Foundation Trust, a NonExecutive Director on the Departmental Board of the Department of Health and Social Care, England, and am now a member of the Bevan Commission in Wales.


Professor Louis Appleby CBE: Things we know about suicide prevention but aren't true’

Date: 6 December 2017

Lecture synopsis

Suicide rates vary by country, within countries and over time, influenced strongly by economic and social factors. What therefore can clinicians do to prevent suicide? This lecture will cover evidence on suicide prevention by health services, especially in mental health, from individual clinical staff to organisations. It will examine suicide by middle-aged men, who have the highest risk, and by young people, who attract the greatest public concern. It will discuss what we mean by risk assessment, whether the answer is in talking, training or something else, and whether suicide ever happens out of the blue. It will ask: Are mental health services in crisis? Does the blame lie with social media? And have the public had enough of experts?

About the speaker

Louis Appleby is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Manchester where he leads the Centre on Mental Health and Safety, investigating suicide, homicide and the risks from parental mental illness.  He is Director of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, a UK-wide study that aims to improve the safety of mental health care. 

From 2000-2010 he was National Director for Mental Health in England, playing a central role in reforming community care.  From 2010-2014 he was National Clinical Director for Health and Justice, leading the development of diversion services for offenders with mental health problems. 

He currently leads the National Suicide Prevention Strategy and is a non-executive director on the Board of the Care Quality Commission.  He was awarded a CBE for services to medicine in 2006.


Joanna Cannon: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

Date: 14 September 2017

Lecture synopsis

In this lecture, Joanna will explain how a love of narrative encouraged her to return to education in her thirties, her unusual route to becoming a doctor, and how she used creative writing as an antidote to life, once she arrived on the wards. The Trouble with Goats and Sheep was inspired by the time she spent working in psychiatry, and was written just for fun, mainly during her lunch breaks. Joanna will discuss the motivation behind the story, why she felt it needed to be written, and the journey of a book written in an NHS car park, which went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller.

About the speaker

Joanna Cannon is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, which has sold over 250,000 copies in the UK alone and is currently published in fifteen countries.


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