Events & Conferences

Compassion & Compulsion: exploring the tensions faced by service users & clinicians when people experience psychosis. @ St Cuthbert's Church
Jul 31 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

David Pilgrim will do a presentation about the issues faced by mental health services when using coercion. Jen Kilyon and Neil Caton will then give a response to the paper after which we will open up to questions and comments from the audience.

David Pilgrim is Honorary Professor of Health and Social Care, University of Liverpool and Visiting Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Southampton. He has published extensively in the field of mental health policy.

Jen Kilyon campaigns for genuine informed choice in mental health care where those who need it can be in a safe place that is right for them. She promotes respectful non-judgemental and family/network inclusive approaches to psychosis such as Open Dialogue. Jen is an ISPSUK and Soteria Network Trustee and helped to set up the first Soteria House in the UK.

Neil Caton has lived experience of psychosis and has several experiences of being admitted to psychiatric unit, one of which was compulsory. He will explore his experience of these admissions.

Neil has worked as an involvement worker for the early intervention service. He has been an ISPS trustee for 5 years and runs a hearing voices and paranoia group in Chorley.

Psychosis and Institutional Racism: ISPS UK Conference and AGM @ Amnest International
Nov 13 @ 10:00 am – 5:30 pm

Psychosis and institutional racism 

Institutional racism is sometimes viewed as the elephant in the room in mental health and psychosis. We know that people from racialised minorities are more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, more likely to be subject to the Mental Health Act, and more likely to be restrained or be under a Community Treatment Order. And yet- it seems to many working or campaigning in the field that we have failed to address these issues, and that too little has changed over the past few decades.

How do start talking about and addressing institutional racism, when so often it can feel invisible or taboo? How does institutional racism affect people who use services, but also family members and carers, and professionals (psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, OTs, HCAs etc) who deliver services? What are the barriers which stop us talking about it – and how do we address what we struggle to recognise?

This day will encourage discussion & reflection on how institutional racism plays out in the field of psychosis, from multiple perspectives. We will reflect on how we can name it, and how, together, we can start to find ways of addressingSpeakers: 

Dr Suman Fernando, Honorary Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, London Metropolitan University and former (retired) consultant psychiatrist

Dr Philip Thomas and Dr Alison Faulkner on the Privilege, Partiality and Power of Whiteness

Sara Haq on Complex Subjectivities and Survival Strategies for Collective/Cultural Psychosis

Dr Colin King

Followed by ISPS UK AGM, 17.00-17.30

All are welcome to attend

Details of the day:

Coffee and lunch will be provided. Please contact us if you have any questions about the day or access.

Placing psychosocial approaches to psychosis at the heart of the NHS- Belfast @ Olympic 3 Room, Clayton Hotel Belfast
Nov 27 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Placing psychosocial approaches to psychosis at the heart of the NHS

Join us in Belfast on 27 November 2018, 18.00-20.00, for an evening of dialogue with guest panel featuring May McCann, Jamie Murphy, Ciaran Shannon and Clive Travis (who will chair the discussion). FREE for ISPS UK members, full price £10, unwaged £5.

A core aim of ISPS UK is to promote social and psychological approaches to psychosis – yet in a culture of increasing cuts and short term fixes, this is no easy task. Join us for an evening of discussion, debate and exploration to consider some of the challenges to embedding psychosocial approaches within the NHS and some practical steps we can all take to address these.

Details of panel members:

May McCann is the Chair of CAUSE, a unique peer-led regional charity offering services to families, partners and friends across Northern Ireland caring for a loved one who has experienced serious mental illness. She has been involved with CAUSE for many years,  both as a board member and as a member of staff, when for a limited period of time she  worked part time as CAUSE carer advocate in the, then, Sperrin and Lakeland Trust, now the southern part of the Western Trust. For most of her career she lectured in Social Anthropology at Queens University Belfast, with particular interest in Diversity, Minority Ethnic Groups, Women’s Studies and Irish Studies.  In 2009 she was appointed by the Minister for HSSPSNI as a non-executive director of the newly established Patient and Client Council an independent, arms-length public body tasked with ensuring that the voice of all people on health and social care is sought, listened to and acted upon. She has been recently reappointed for a further period of office in this role. She also chairs the Bamford Monitoring Group whose role it is to seek and make known to the Minister, department, trusts and other relevant bodies, the views and experiences of people – service users, carers, the public and communities – concerning the changes being made to services resulting from the Bamford Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability.

Professor Jamie Murphy is a Professor of psychology and a member of the Psychology Research Institute at Ulster University. He has investigated the expression of psychosis and the co-occurrence of psychological trauma and psychosis for the past 10 years. Challenging traditional disease based conceptualisations of psychosis, Jamie’s research has demonstrated that extreme perceptual, belief and behavioural abnormalities such as hallucinations, delusions and mania often emerge in, and can be understood against, a context of extreme life trauma and adversity. Funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative and the UK Economic and Social Research Council, Jamie is published in some of the world’s leading psychiatry and psychology journals, and collaborates with some of the world’s leading authorities in the area. Core branches of his research include: the psychosis continuum; psychotraumatology; childhood sexual abuse and psychosis; social isolation and psychosis; trauma-cannabis interaction and psychosis; and suicidality-psychosis co-occurrence. Jamie is also the training coordinator for The Collaborative Network for Training and Excellence in Psychotraumatology (CONTEXT), an EU funded international, interdisciplinary doctoral training programme involving nine European partner organisations spanning the academic, non-governmental, voluntary, and public sectors.

Dr Ciaran Shannon is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in The Northern Health and Social Care Trust. His area of specialism for over 20 years is psychological intervention and service provision for those with a diagnosis of severe mental health problems.  His particular research interest is on the effect that trauma (including “Troubles-related” trauma) has on the presentation of these problems.  He has over 40 peer reviewed publications including a co-authored book – “Models of Mental Health”. Currently he manages the only psychosis prevention team on the island of Ireland (The STEP team) and manages the Trust’s Centre of Mental Health Research.

Dr Clive Hathaway Travis (Chair of the discussion) spent the years 1994-2004 experiencing paranoid schizophrenia while learning about how severe oppression felt, in his case from the side effect profiles of all of the antipsychotics he was prescribed, either by force, or the threat of it, during those years. He both escaped from hospital, absconded, and on a third occasion was on the run for over a year. In 2004 however he finally became a success of the medical model by finding an antipsychotic he did not mind taking and has avoided hospital since. He now has over 1200 engagements under his belt as an expert patient in the health and social care arena and has had the story of his journey, Looking for Prince Charles’s Dog, published and with all royalties going to charity: over £4,000 to date, one of the charities being Speedwell Trust in Dungannon. He defines psychological therapy as anything not involving adverse antipsychotics and was recently named Deputy Prime Minister Mental Health Hero (East). He is from Bedforshire and is a former ISPS Committee member.

FREE for ISPS members (join here). ISPS UK membership starts at £35/year and includes free entry to local events, discounted enttry to national events, a subscription to Psychosis journal, and a monthly e-newsletter.

For non ISPS members, entry is £10 or £5 for low earners. Book your ticket here.

Placing psychosocial approaches to psychosis at the heart of health & social care- Preston @ Preston Quaker Meeting House
Feb 13 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm


The panel will each give a twenty minute talk about the challenges and successes in regard to placing psychosocial approaches to psychosis at the heart of health and social care. Then we will open the dicussion up to the audience for debate and dicussion.

The panel members are as follows:

Jill Hemmington has worked in mental health services for around 30 years and now works at the University of Central Lancashire where she teaches Mental Health Social Work and Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) training. She practices as an AMHP (carrying out Mental Health Act (MHA) assessments) and is currently undertaking research around service users’ involvement and the potential for Shared Decision Making within MHA assessments and hospital detention. Jill is particularly interested in beliefs about ‘capacity’, ‘insight’ and ‘consent’ where individuals are experiencing psychosis.

Jhilmil Breckenridge is a poet, writer and activist. She is the Founder of Bhor Foundation, an Indian charity, which is active in mental health advocacy, the trauma informed approach, and enabling other choices to heal apart from or in addition to the biomedical model. She advocates Poetry as Therapy and is working on a few initiatives, both in the UK and India, taking this into prisons and asylums. Jhilmil also heads a team leading Mad in Asia Pacific; this is an online e-zine magazine working for better rights, justice and inclusion for people with psychosocial disability in the Asia Pacific region. She is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing in the UK. For the last three years, she has also been leading an online poetry as therapy group for women recovering from domestic violence. Her debut poetry collection, Reclamation Song, was published in May 2018. She tweets at @jhilmilspirit.

Helen Spandler is Professor of Mental Health Studies at the UCLan and the managing editor of Asylum: the radical mental health magazine She is the author and editor of many books and articles in the field of mental health – mostly recently, for example,Madness, Distress and the Politics of Disablement (Policy Press). Helen has had significant experience trying to support family members and friends through periods of psychosis and breakdown. She is committed learning from psychiatric survivors and finding alternatives to conventional mental health systems.