Spirit of Enquiry conference, 2011

Spirit of Enquiry flyer imageI am very sorry to report that this conference has been cancelled. This is due to low levels of registration which, in turn, seem likely to be due to our lack of publicity at a key time (I was away and unable to expedite this – see link), and current pressures on clinical staff to meet necessary targets. The Trust is working hard to deliver complex services to a population of around 1.5 million people, and the present climate is not an easy one within which to operate flexibly. Front-line staff probably feel this more than any of us.

Hopefully, we will be back next year. Two guaranteed invitations to present will go to successful submissions from Jo Lee and Corrie Neilson. Jo is a senior physiotherapist with the Brighton & Hove Learning Disability team. Her paper, titled Passive Therapeutic Standing in the Neurologically Impaired Population, is a part of her Master’s dissertation with the University of Brighton, for which she earned a Distinction. Corrie’s paper,  An exploration into Second Life use with a Facially Disfigured Avatar, describes the research component of her Master’s in Foundations of Clinical Psychology & Mental Health from the University of Sussex, for which she too received a Distinction. Corrie has been a volunteer with Trust learning disability services and a care worker for adults with challenging behaviour in community services. She hopes to undertake Doctoral training in clinical psychology.

These are high quality pieces of work delivered by professional/aspirational clinicians at an early stage in their experience as researchers. The future of NHS innovation would seem to be in good hands.

IASSID MHID conference, Manchester

This three day event, bringing together the best of mental health and learning disability (intellectual disability) research and practice, opens on September 1st. I was expecting to deliver our presentation (Second Life, People with Learning Disabilities, and Capacity to Consent: Conboy-Hill, Taylor, and Hall) outlining the results of our NIHR funded study, but unfortunately, I am not able to attend for family reasons. Nicky Gregory, a courageous colleague, will be fronting it up for me, and hoping that all the technical wizardry does its job. If it does, she will be able to sit back and let it play. The videos will tell the story as well as anything; the narration should do the rest. But, in the event that she has to go a capella, I am certain she will receive a more than sympathetic hearing.

Elsewhere, Celia Heneage will be presenting a workshop with Nicky on group work, and Peter Baker will be talking about his work in positive behaviour support. A pretty good turnout for Sussex Partnership. Break a leg, chaps!



Joint Congress of the European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability & IASSID Challenging Behaviour & Mental Health SIRG

signpost for ManchesterThis is a first-of-its-kind conference; a joint enterprise between the Division of Clinical Psychology (British Psychological Society) and two European specialist learning disability associations. It is hosted by the DCP’s Faculty of Learning disability, which comprises psychologists working with people with learning disabilities, primarily in the NHS but also through local authority and third sector provisions.

Sussex Partnership is well represented.

Peter Baker is presenting his work  on positive behaviour support: Positive Behaviour Support Clinical and Process Outcomes: The P-CPO project.

Nicky Gregory (with Celia Heneage) a workshop: Group work with people who have learning disabilities; sharing ideas from clinical practice.

And I am presenting our findings for the virtual world study: Second Life, People with Learning Disabilities, & Capacity to Consent.

We’re in good company; Professor Nigel Beail, President of the European Association for Mental Health in Intellectual Disability, Theresa Joyce, Chair of the Faculty of Learning disabilities, Valerie Sinason, pioneering psychotherapist for people with learning disabilities, Prof Bill Lindsay, and Baroness Sheila Hollins are presenting, chairing and overseeing symposia. I recognise many of the other names on the programme. The ones I don’t, are probably the Nigel/Bill/Valerie/Theresa/Sheilas of tomorrow.

Look out Manchester, have we got a show for you in September!

Conference details via their web page: http://www.mhid2011congress.co.uk/

Research & Development conference

Big day tomorrow. The R&D team will be standing to attention, fingernails scrubbed and hair neatly parted on the left (right, for the lefties – if you get my drift). It’s our annual conference and an opportunity to let the rest of the organisation and local media know what we’re up to in research terms. Prof Louis Appleby CBE is a reformer of mental health services and our keynote speaker and there are others from the fields of autism and academia – Prof Hugo Critchley of Sussex Partnership and the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and Prof Graham Davey of Sussex University. In a full programme, including papers on the effect of singing on brain function, and sexual healthcare for substance misusing women, the national inquiry into suicide, and the work of a neurobehavioural clinic, I will also be delivering a few words. My paper is, not too surprisingly, on the role of technology and networking in developing, collaborating, and disseminating research. I’ll also be leading a workshop a little later on getting started in research, aimed at clinicians with ideas and motivation who haven’t quite found their way onto the appropriate track. It can be difficult to juggle clinical priorities against something that may seem to be something of a luxury but involving frontline workers is the best way of ensuring that research is as directly linked to service needs as possible. A major funding stream argued, when challenged about diverting clinical energies in this way, that medics, nurses and other clinical staff have been inventing and developing new techniques, devices and care programmes for many years. The difference now is that, instead of those products being bought out by private companies and even other countries, they can become national health service assets that will be used to patient benefit and also possibly become income generators in their own right. I’m proud to have a small part in that new wave of activity. Even more so because my research involves people with learning disability who are participating on behalf of the rest of us rather than being the objects of study in themselves and that’s a bit of a first.

Of course the last time I gave a presentation involving technology, there was a power cut and, had it not been for some sort of generator kicking in at the last minute, it would have been delivered a cappella. I wonder how Louis is at close harmony..?