Compassionate Approaches to Mental Health is a one day experiential event  on the 12th of November in Cardiff designed to inform, inspire and empower people living and working with mental distress.

I will be contributing and for more information click on the link above or at the bottom of this text. We’ve gathered influential speakers who are passionate about changing the script around mental health, challenging stigma and raising expectations.

Our aim is to bring together people and families with personal experience of mental health issues, frontline staff, managers, clinicians, policymakers and Third Sector staff, to introduce and discuss a range of therapeutic approaches that move beyond a medical model.

Together we’ll explore emerging themes in mental health, including:
•Compassion, mindfulness and Open Dialogue
•How to exercise our inner strength to resource ourselves and others
•Finding 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 people delivering mental health services and those with lived experience
•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

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
•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.

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. As one of our Speakers, Elisabeth Svanholmer, says:

My truth is A truth, not THE truth
I share my truth
in the hope that you will find your truth
and share it with me.
Then maybe we can get excited
about the things we have in common
but more importantly
we might learn something
from our differences.
My truth is that there is no truth
just endless possibilities