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About

Beyond Trauma – Finding Solid Ground is our fourth gathering designed to inform, inspire and empower people living and working with mental distress.

Once again we’re gathering influential speakers who are passionate about changing the script around mental health, challenging stigma and raising expectations.

At this two day transformational event we want to challenge the myth of mental illness as a disease for life, and call for a more compassionate, trauma informed approach to mental distress. Ultimately we hope to work with others to inspire a new more wholesome psychiatry, with safe, healing mental health services that people want to use when they are in crisis.

“Exceptional. The fact people had travelled from far and wide shows the high regard the event was held in, and also the pressing need to change and the delivery of compassionate mental health services.”

We’ll be bringing together people and families with personal experience, frontline staff, managers, clinicians, commissioners, policymakers and Third Sector staff, to discuss what works in terms of sustainable recovery from a mental health crisis, and to introduce a range of therapeutic approaches that move beyond a purely biomedical model.

“Such a blessing. An oasis. I felt privileged to be a part of it. Beautifully organised, to the last detail. The professional delivery of the event was outstanding and the supporting literature of excellent quality.”

Our previous three events have focused on building community and connection, and in this one we’ll also be looking at the ways in which trauma – through the generations and life stages – can impact our mental health. It’s vital that we have an approach to mental distress that takes trauma into account. But we also need to move beyond trauma and share tools to help people cultivate solid ground to meet our own and other people’s extreme emotional states with compassion, wisdom and boundaries.

“You have created a unique and invaluable contribution to the future of mental health. My daughter took her own life two years ago. I believe if either she or I had had access to the material and the diverse community you have put together, there could have been a very different outcome.”

This April the beautiful Buckland Hall in the Brecon Beacons National Park, South Wales, will be our home for two days, where we’ll create a feeling of community. Let’s leave behind our professional and personal roles and labels so we can move forward together to create positive change.

This is a gathering and unconference, but there are key learning outcomes associated with moving towards a more coproductive, psychosocial approach to thinking about mental health and designing and delivering services. Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of the shifting paradigm of mental health care.

Together we’ll explore

Emerging themes in mental health, including how compassion focused therapy, mindfulness, open dialogue, voice dialogue and other network and psychosocial approaches can help improve services and outcomes for all:

  • How to exercise our inner strength to resource ourselves and others
  • The importance of meaning in mental distress and psychosis
  • Breakdown as opportunity for breakthrough and growth
  • Enabling the shift towards a more democratic approach that focuses on the whole person and building resilience
  • Building equity and understanding between everyone involved in mental health services
  • How we form authentic relationships, learn to listen deeply, and feel safe to share our difficulties
  • Creating safe healing spaces in our services and communities, for people to talk about suicidal thoughts
  • Open Dialogue and a how a network approach to crisis is keeping people out of hospital
  • Therapeutic Communities

Compassion – towards self and others – is a skill that can be learned. Our experienced teachers will guide you in some basic practices, and share their personal stories of mental distress and recovery.

Walk away with 

  • Inspiration about the possibility of recovery from listening to other people’s stories
  • Ideas about how to go beyond a medical model towards a more relational approach
  • New ways to resource ourselves & others by building resilience and self compassion
  • Confidence to transform difficult emotions and calm our inner critic
  • Lessons in listening deeply and developing presence
  • Understanding the value of finding meaning and purpose in mental health crisis
  • Why compassion, trust and connection is so important for service improvement

Why should you attend? 

We’ll be exchanging ideas, lessons learned and best practices with thought leaders and experts by experience. All involved are already influencing change in their field. There will be pauses during the day for reflection and feedback, and your participation is valued.

“Above all people were able to release shame , guilt and silence around their stories and to find like minded community.”

What it isn’t 

This isn’t an anti-psychiatry event, or one that proposes a right way to recovery, self management or service improvement. But – along with many other critical voices – we are calling for a radical shift in the way people understand and approach mental health issues.

Our goal is to be part of the global call for better, safer mental health services for all. We hope to do this by building bridges and growing understanding that people in crisis need more than just medicine. Feeling connected, finding meaning in crisis, and sharing tools for stability are all vital for a whole person approach.

There needs to be better funding for mental health services in all settings, and there will be opportunities during the day to share ideas for the future.  Our hope is that we can all move forward together into a more collaborative, compassionate chapter.

Mental health is everyone’s business

Mental illness is one of the biggest challenges of our age. The Mental Health Foundation says that one in four adults and one in ten children are likely to have a mental health problem in any year, and the economic cost to the UK is estimated at an annual 70 to 100 billion pounds.

The mental health system is struggling to cope with growing demand for services, and by 2020 mental ill health related problems will be second to heart disease as the leading contributor to the global burden of disease . Despite this, public spending is focused almost entirely on crisis, with not enough funding for prevention or resilience building. It’s time to look beyond the one in four statistic, and start thinking about mental distress as something that can happen to us all.

“There’s ‘Them’ and there’s ‘Us’. We are well, happy and safe. They are mentally ill and dangerous. Is this really true? Or is the uncomfortable truth that there’s a continuum, a scale along which we all slide back and forth during our lives. When we separate ourselves we hurt those labelled as sick, ill, even mad, but we also hurt ourselves…” Only Us Campaign 

What people say 

“We all experience problems with our mental health at points in our lives. What we often want most at those times is to be met with a compassionate response. Unfortunately that isn’t always what happens in our mental health services. Conferences like this are badly needed to explore why that is and to inspire change so that our services become places of compassion, comfort and hope in dark times.” Anne Cooke, Consultant Clinical Psychologist

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