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Leading Clinicians Talk Crisis and Recovery: Free PESI UK Mental Health Awareness Summit

What do grief work, relational neuroscience and the latest advances in trauma therapy tell us about the mental health impact of Covid-19 – and how we might help individuals and communities to heal? Next week, PESI UK will be asking Bessel van der Kolk, Julia Samuel, Daniel Siegel and Janina Fisher as part of a free, three-day summit for Mental Health Awareness Week.

This time last year, as the world struggled to get to grips with Covid-19, PESI UK organised a one-of-a-kind conference. It was completely free to attend. It brought together eminent clinicians and thought-leaders. And it called attention to something that was in danger of being overshadowed – the mental health impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Perhaps not so ‘one-of-a-kind’… Last year’s Mental Health Awareness Summit proved so welcome that PESI UK has decided to organise another.

Again, the speakers include some of the biggest names in psychotherapy alongside influential mental health researchers and strategists.

Again, it’s completely free to attend.

And again, it is open to anyone with an interest in the future of our mental health – from psychotherapists and counsellors to psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and teachers, and anyone else whose professional and personal interactions benefit from therapeutic insight.

This time, though, the urgent focus has shifted from crisis to recovery.

Now, we’re asking what we can do to support post-pandemic healing – for individual clients and for communities; for more vulnerable members of society such as children and those with existing mental health diagnoses; and within our workplaces, our professions, and our own body-minds.

The PESI UK Mental Health Awareness Summit: Individual and Community Recovery, Healing Trauma, Grief and Loss, will take place from Monday May 10 to Wednesday May 12.

On Monday, we’ll be surveying the changing landscape of loss with eminent psychotherapist and author of Grief Works and This Too Shall Pass, Julia Samuel. The pandemic has brought sudden, unexpected losses of multiple kinds, from bereavements to losses of jobs and income, social connections and personal freedoms. Drawing on over 30 years of work with bereaved families, Julia will consider how, in the wake of the pandemic, we can support individual and collective searches for meaning.

On Tuesday, world-renowned interpersonal neurobiologist Dan Siegel will be telling us all about the neuroscience of resilience. Amid the destruction and pain of the pandemic, many have also experienced moments of profound human connection and of mindful presence. What does this tell us about our needs and our resources? How can we work with brain-body-mind processes in a manner that opens the way to post-pandemic thriving?

On Wednesday, we will conclude with a focus on trauma, as we’re joined by two world-leading experts – Bessel van der Kolk and Janina Fisher. How can we begin to feel grounded and safe again in the wake of unprecedented uncertainty and upheaval? What particular challenges does this pose for clients with long histories of trauma? Bessel will be discussing how to create healing connections, both in the therapy room and wider communities, while Janina will channel her warmth and wisdom into the task of helping some of our most vulnerable clients through this intense period of post-pandemic change.  

For a clinical take on the task ahead (as well as talks with Paul Farmer of Mind, David Weaver of BACP, Rukshana Kapasi of Barnardo’s and Professor of Medical Sociology Tarani Chandola ) please join us online this Mental Health Awareness Week.

This time last year, our summit drew on the knowledge and experience within our profession to predict the devastating impact of the pandemic on mental health.

Now it’s time to share what we know about hope – the capacity of individuals and communities to come through the darkest depths of trauma and grief – and to think about what new resources we might need to play our part in post-pandemic recovery.

For more information and to register click here


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