So.. just back from my first conference as an attendee. Exhausted and tired but so worth it.
I made a little adjustment to my name badge though.
Throughout the day there were many different speakers including professionals, leaders in the NHS, service users, carers and students. The overall feel of the day was very positive. I was very heartened to see everyone come together from throughout the country. It reminded me a lot of #WGT16… but the next generation!
Spent a lot of the time LiveTweeting. I felt that, if anything, that was missing from today. A lot of people in the room were LiveTweeting along with me but there could have been added value from engaging with it on one of the three screens ( Feedback provided directly already…I’m not just moaning for the sake of it…although I
like love a good grumble)
The wonderful charities such as FoNS and Papyrus as well as companies such as The Priory and several NHS Trusts had awesome stalls. The people manning them were a laugh riot. My new favourite toy is a pen from FoNS that you can use on your iPhone. Revolutionary. Iconic.
Stories were told. Nurses (MH nurses especially) are amazing story tellers. There were inspirational times like @PookyH talking about CYP mental health nursing…. lot of transferrable skills. Michelle Partington sharing an insight into PTSD and the lives of veterans as well as her charity Behind The Mask. The message that was shining through from all speakers was that small things really matter to people, small acts of kindness (or big acts.. I don’t discriminate) and human contact.
I was especially moved (almost to tears) by David McCollom and his life story. His message was about LOVE. Another simple thing. I cannot put into words how it really made me feel.. I’ll be reflecting on that one for a while. I think a lot of people in the room will be. The panel discussion was a good experience too. I was full of admiration for Gearóid Brennan not being afraid to speak to the contrary of the norm (both on the panel and on Twitter). I tend to side with him when listening to one of the speakers where I got a full house during BuzzWordBingo (trademarked L.Woodhouse 2016).
I spent lunch chatting with the lovely students from Swansea University and a couple of people from UCLAN. Also sat at my table were students from Hull. Everyone I came across today was a credit to their respective organisations.
I honestly can’t think of a better place I could have spent World Mental Health Day. Okay. I’m off to put my feet up as I am cream crackered.