Thursday, October 6, 2016

This week’s activities (6th October – 16th October, 2016)

I have slipped a few days in my attempts to keep people aware of my activities, but I can offer a brief update:

Friday 7th October, I am in Manchester, speaking at a conference on psychology and the benefits system.

On Saturday 8th October, I’m still working. This time at the University of Liverpool Open day (I’ll be giving a sample lecture on the theme (of course, and sorry for the blatant plug) of my book.

On Sunday 9th, I’m off to a meeting under the auspices of the European Federation of Psychology Associations (EFPA) and the Fundamental Rights Agency, looking at how we integrate fundamental human rights into psychology education… something I believe we absolutely should do, of course.

That means I’ll be away in Italy for World Mental Health Day – on Monday 10th October. I know my colleagues will be active, however, and I am not sad to be discussing human rights on that day – because I think fundamental human rights are even more fundamental (if that’s possible) in the field of mental health.

World Mental Health day is an opportunity for us all to remember the vital importance of our psychological wellbeing. As humankind races forwards with technological and social change, we need to ensure that the undeniable benefits of progress are matched with protection for those things that make life worth living. Psychological factors are not only fundamental for our mental health - and I continue to promote a humane and effective psychosocial perspective -  but also underpin our relationships, our behaviours towards one another and, of course, our physical health.  Human relationships - not technological solutions - should be at the heart of psychological care of people with mental health problems, and that means we need to attend to the mental health of colleagues who choose to work in this area. Equally, we must recognise that the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights are also key to proper mental health care. This year, I am in Venice, working with the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency to ensure that protection and promotion of the fundamental rights of people with mental health problems (and us all) are central to our work. For me, humane and effective mental health care must address the full range of human needs, and this means ensuring that clinical and technological approaches are used only in the context of an appreciation of the fact that there is no 'them and us', we all need to understand and nurture our psychological health, the importance of societies that provide the social prerequisites for genuine psychological wellbeing and mental health, the centrality of human relationships, the need to listen to individual life stories and experiences and, particularly, the need to protect and promote the fundamental human rights of people in receipt of mental health care.

I’m returning on Tuesday 11th, but to London, helping to plan a new All Party Parliamentary Group on Psychology (or perhaps, it’s part of the debate) Applied Psychology.

Wednesday 12th will be a complex day, which starts with a meeting about specialist training in perinatal mental health, continues with PhD supervision and grant management, before I leave for London for a meeting of Minds@Work, a “... movement for mental wellbeing in the workplace…” which “… aims to break the stigma of depression and anxiety in the working world. We want to create mentally and emotionally healthy and human workplaces where individuals can flourish and organisations prosper…” This is new for me, but an organisation that I’m very much looking forward to working with.

The 13th and 14th of October means, for me, a visit to Leicester, for the British Psychological Society’s General Assembly.

Hopefully… I’ll get a couple of days off on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th.

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