In November 2011 I was privileged to contribute to a fantastic conference ‘Medicating Human Distress: Concerns, Critiques and Solutions’ in Cork (Ireland).
The conference was the second annual event arranged by the Irish Critical Voices Network and University College Cork. It featured a range of wonderful speakers and workshops, all of which brought some fresh life to the debates surround mental distress and the way in which we support people who are overwhelmed by it.
Other speakers included :
- The wonderful Kate Crawford, who gave a heartfelt and eloquent description of her own journey through the mental health system (and the impact of this on her children)
- Peter Lehmann, who focussed on the potential for people to withdraw from psychiatric drugs
- Anna Emmanouelidou, an inspiring lady who shared her experience of community action in Greece to support those most vulnerable in the absence of funding or governmental support
- Terry Lynch, A GP who has written a number of books including Beyond Prozac, gave one of the best critiques I have heard of the evidence base behind psychiatric medication
- Sami Timimi, a UK psychiatrist who has launched a campaign against diagnostic classification
My contribution to the day came in the form of a presentation: ‘Sense, interrupted: From disconnection to recovery’. If you would like to watch a video clip of the talk, you can find it here: http://panopto.ucc.ie/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=59ca7ee1-ae89-4c5c-bcd4-0e7f8bcb77cc
After the two days, I left Cork feeling exhausted and inspired. There was a real sense of excitement, passion and solidarity in the venue helped me feel that change really is possible. The conference helped to solidify some of my thoughts around the potential for communities to work together, rather than leaving psychiatry to deal with those of us who are overwhelmed. Things won’t change overnight, but perhaps if we work together we can do some good.
You can view all the conference presentations her: http://www.ucc.ie/en/nursingmidwifery/OurConferences/Title-142007-en.html