Psychiatrists gather for Winter Conference

By Mindo - 25th Oct 2022 | 118 views

Psychiatrists

College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, Winter Conference, Grand Hotel, Malahide, 9-11 November 2022 

The Medical Independent speaks to the President of the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland Dr William Flannery about what attendees can expect at the College’s upcoming meeting.

The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland (CPI) Winter Conference 2022 is due to take place in the Grand Hotel, Malahide, Dublin, on 9-11 November. The meeting will be held in conjunction with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Northern Ireland. 

The Winter Conference commences on Wednesday 9 November with the Spike Milligan public speaking competition. This is an all-Ireland intervarsity competition for medical students that aims to foster the development of communication skills and mental health awareness, all while carrying on Spike Milligan’s legacy of destigmatising mental illness. 

The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Social media and digital platforms – Are they the cause of or the solution to the nation’s mental health crisis?’. 

The official launch of the CPI’s faculty of youth and student psychiatry will take place the following morning. CPI is the first psychiatric training body in the world to have a faculty devoted to youth and student mental health, the President of College Dr William Flannery told the Medical Independent (MI)

“That is a significant and, indeed, ground-breaking achievement,” Dr Flannery said. 

“Generally, our faculties are designed to match specialist areas within psychiatry. So this is an emerging area. There are examples of good practice on the island, but more so internationally, and there is a growing evidence-base. It is about stressing the importance of that transition period, particularly the neurodevelopmental changes when someone goes from age 15 to 25, and to form a focus for work in the area, whether it is prompting best services, looking at an overview of services, or fostering research.” 

The faculty has three main aims: To represent the views and interests of psychiatrists working in youth and student psychiatry services in Ireland in line with the College’s objectives; to advocate for improved services offerings and integrated models of care for young people and students with moderate-to-severe mental health conditions; and to create training materials and opportunities in youth and student psychiatry. 

The launch of the faculty, which has been in operation for just over a year, will be followed by a presentation on a survey of youth mental health from Northern Ireland. 

Following NCHD oral presentations, a number of parallel sessions will take place. 

On Friday 11 November, post-CSCST [certificate of satisfactory completion of specialist training] Fellowship research presentations will be delivered. 

Later in the morning, during a session on refugees and trauma, there will be a discussion on the war in Ukraine, as well as one on mental health in an emergency setting. 

After lunch, former emergency medicine consultant and author Dr Chris Luke will deliver a talk entitled, ‘Confessions of a party animal – Why medics really need to take pleasure more seriously (Or how writing a medical memoir helped a ‘burned-out’ emergency physician recover his mojo)’. 

This will be followed by the prize-giving ceremony. The final session of the conference is on the subject of functional neurological disorders and importance of liaison service development. 

Dr Flannery welcomed the fact that this is CPI’s second in-person conference following Covid-19. He said the Winter Conference will provide an opportunity to meet colleagues, both North and South, “in a collegiate atmosphere,” which showcases the best research being undertaken in the specialty on the island. 

Dr Flannery pointed out the significant challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has posed for under-resourced mental health services. 

“A noticeable impact [of the pandemic] was the huge rise in people presenting with eating disorders,” he told MI

“Over 90 per cent of mental health services were fully operational during the Covid period. Nevertheless, there was an over-reliance of people presenting in crisis through the emergency department system, or even with the support of the gardaí. That is no way for somebody who is acutely mentally unwell to be dealt with. And that more is a reflection of ongoing systemic problems going back to how services are run.” 

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