Skip to content

What is the Future for Mental Health? PESI UK Free Summit

Mental Health scarcely gets a mention in the government’s roadmap for ending the UK coronavirus lockdown. So, in addition to presenting top international clinicians, next week’s free PESI UK Mental Health Awareness Summit will be inviting some of the UK’s thought leaders in mental health to assess the societal impact of Covid-19 – and, vitally, to talk strategy.


For many, Sunday’s Government address will have raised more questions than it answered. Notably absent was any mention of a strategy for mental health, as if the psychological impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the government response is simply inevitable collateral. So while next week’s PESI Mental Health Awareness Summit will hear from top clinicians including Dan Siegel, Janina Fisher and Dan Hughes, we’re also inviting three thought leaders in mental health to consider the organisational and societal impact of coronavirus, and to talk structures and strategies for the future.

Timed to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week – and made completely free as our way of responding to this year’s theme of ‘kindness’ – this series of online talks will combine the micro and the macro, the clinical and the organisational, the personal and the political.

On Tuesday May 19, we’ll be joined by Paul Farmer, the chief executive of leading mental health charity, Mind. In this role, Paul has spoken of the importance of helping people cope, not only with the initial emergency, but in coming to terms with how it will affect us well into the future. So we’ll be asking him for the strategic take on Covid-19 and mental health. What should therapists, community services, charities and the government be doing to support the public? What does existing data tell us about the needs that are likely to arise, and the kinds of structural responses that might be required? What sorts of programmes should those in power be prioritising? This should be a chance to gain an elevated perspective on the psychological and emotional impact of the pandemic.

The following day (Wednesday May 20) we’ll be focusing on community mental health with the help of Laura Falconer of children’s charity Barnardo’s. What impact is being experienced on services and communities, and what is being done strategically to support the most vulnerable in our society at this time? As the charity’s Assistant Director for Impact of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Laura has seen how families are being pushed into crisis, and children becoming more vulnerable to abuse and neglect as pressure increases and vital support systems disappear. As questions mount about the government’s response to the crisis, and facts emerge about the disproportionate risk the virus poses to particular communities, Laura will be discussing social inequalities, strategies and solutions in community mental health.

But first (on Monday May 18) we’ll be hearing from Sarah Niblock, Chief Executive of the UKCP, to consider what role our profession, and professional bodies, have to play here. Therapists represent a vital national resource at a time of crisis – but what plans, if any, does the government have to use it? Sarah will also be discussing ways in which the current pandemic may shape the future of the therapy profession, including what gains and losses may have been sustained in the recent mass move online for our client work, supervision and trainings.

We hope you will join us from May 18 onwards for what promises to be a week of world-class resourcing and reflecting.

The PESI UK Mental Health Awareness Summit will take place from May 18-24. Visit this page for the full line-up and details of how to register. We have to limit the capacity for these online events to 3,000 per webcast – so we advise advance booking to avoid disappointment.  

Related Blog Posts

Here are some similar posts that may interest you.