1st National Personality Disorder Congress

jag press & publicity, alongside the Department of Health Mental Health Division, designed and jointly ran, with RSLive, the Personality Disorder 1st National Congress at the ICC in Birmingham on November 09.

1st National Personality Disorder CongressThe two-day programme was designed with service users and carers very much at its heart- and in fact this audience made up 35% of delegates during the two-day congress. The purpose of this approach was to ensure that ‘voices’ largely ignored at most mental health conferences were given an opportunity to take centre stage. Service users and carers were also invited to speak in the main plenaries.

I thought the congress was very good and that the user and carer presence was exemplary. Being given such a prominent role is an excellent way of undermining the narrative underlying too many people’s attitudes towards individuals who have been given a psychiatric label, especially one of personality disorder, which is typically incapacity, lack of insight, lack of judgment and general strangeness, to name just a few.”

Birmingham University

Integral to the programme was also a powerful series of arts and activity workshops and displays – which attracted involvement from youth groups. These workshops were aimed at challenging stigma through celebrating creative achievement in music, drawing and a theatre production. The workshops and displays also demonstrated how creative expression can lead to dynamic and inclusive routes to recovery and self fulfilment.

For the first time in any Department of Health conference, music played a central role during the plenary sessions. jag press & publicity invited Kayla Kavanagh to attend the Congress and perform – in fact Kayla launched her new single at the Congress. Kayla is a professional musician, singer and songwriter. Having recently been diagnosed with personality disorder she is committed to raising awareness of hidden illnesses using her musical creativity.

The 1st National Congress attracted a wide audience, alongside service users and carers, including providers, senior commissioners and policy makers across criminal justice, health and social care agencies.

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