October always feels like a busy month. There is something about that going back to school moment which creates a renewed sense of urgency to tackle the problems of the day. October is also Black History Month in the UK, and I attended a lively event in Croydon to mark the month of celebrations.
Here are some of the notable activities I have taken part in the last two weeks:
I attended the Battle of Ideas festival, which was hosted by the Institute of Ideas and held at Church House in Westminster. It was a surreal experience as there were about 800 debaters across the various rooms in the venue passionately debating the issues of the day. It was refreshing to be able to thrash out ideas in an open way. However, I started to notice that a lot of the views that were being voiced I tended to disagree with. That being said, it was great to be able to debate in real life and reminded me of my student union days at Goldsmiths College.
It was World Mental Health Day this month, which is always a good time to watch online the various organisations that are working to make things better for people who live with mental health conditions. It was good to see that we have a new Minister of State (Minister for Care and Mental Health). Gilliam Keegan MP will lead on the following:
- adult social care
- health and care integration
- dementia, disabilities and long-term conditions
- NHS Continuing Healthcare
- mental health
- suicide prevention and crisis prevention
- offender health
- vulnerable groups
- women’s health strategy
Hopefully we will see some progress happening in the mental health space in the coming months.
Locally in Sussex, I attended the Ethnic Minorities Community Engagement and Involvement group meeting. It is good to see that the research community are starting to form working groups to focus on engaging more ethnic minorities in health care research. There is strong commitment from the National Institute of Health Research’s Applied Research Collaborative in Kent, Surrey, and Sussex.
I spoke as a patient representative for the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s London Division Discover Psychiatry Event. I really enjoyed speaking at the event from the comfort of my home (there are some advantages to working from home). I equally really enjoyed listening to the psychiatrists talk about their work from the various disciplines that they work in. Hopefully more students will be encouraged to work in mental health.
The Healthy Brains Global Initiative held it’s first Instagram live event, which was a great success. I even had to create an Instagram account to watch the event. It was good to hear about research studies in the UK that was focusing on lived experience.
Lastly, I attended online Mental Health Europe’s launch of their new long-term strategy. It was great to hear about the good work happening across Europe.