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'I'm excited for International Congress 2019 because...'

Alexis An Lee Low is a UCL medical student and aspiring (computational) psychiatrist and neuroscientist. She is an RCPsych International Congress 2019 social media champion. Follow her experience at Congress on Twitter @Alexis_AnYee

What could a digital future look like? What does the Mental Health Act mean for psychiatrists in practice? How does one respond to anti-psychiatry? How can the current mental health system be transformed for the better?

The International Congress 2019 has not yet begun, but my mind already buzzes with questions.

These questions are not new. But what the the Congress provides is a unique and unparalleled opportunity to seek insights from some of the most influential and incisive thinkers of today, and to be in an environment where these questions and ideas can be discussed with the interest and enthusiasm they deserve.

From professors to politicians to patients, it’s not often you get to hear from these people, and for some, it is even rarer to hear them share their expertise with a wider audience. To be able to hear from them in person, all in the same place and in the span of a few days, sounds amazing.

And what excites me even more is that, unlike reading books or articles, we can not only hear about ideas, but also interact with them.

I always look forward to question and answer sessions, which will be frequent, and I’m already anticipating the discussions that start during talks and continue onto tea breaks.

There’s nothing quite like the buzz of discussing ideas which could shape the future of psychiatry, knowing that they could have far-reaching impacts on patient care and issues close to our hearts! And seeds will be planted, soils fertilised, countless potential projects springing into fruition.

Beyond the sessions themselves, the social data and well-being programme will enable us to not only recharge but also meet like-minded people who may become our friends and future colleagues.

I find that it can be hard trying to find fellow medical students who not only are interested in psychiatry, but go the extra mile to engage with it – as such, I’m very much looking forward to the welcome reception and students and trainees’ networking dinner, being surrounded by people who care about mental health like I do, while also finding out more about the career path I would love to pursue, leading to new friends and mentors. There’s nothing quite like a conversation with someone who shares the same interests deeply.

Taking a step back, I’m already beginning to appreciate how the Congress is like psychiatry itself: multidisciplinary and definitely biopsychosocial.

It’s not often that one gets to attend a conference which encompasses so much of psychiatry in all its breadth. Engaging with such a diverse range of ideas, with such potential for cross-pollination and holistic understanding, and with other people passionate about mental health, is exactly what psychiatry deserves –  and overall, it’s what I’m most looking forward to this Congress!

Blog Author
Alexis An Yee Low

RCPsych International Congress social media champion