EC Blog: Reflections following a Successful 4th Annual Conference

Dear MAP members, 

We would like to thank all of you who joined us last week in the successful event of the MAP’s 4th Annual conference, which was possibly the largest gathering of mental health professionals ever in Malta. This year the focus was on Suicide Prevention and Self Harm Behaviour. It was a privilege to have been given this opportunity for such a holistic learning experience.

Learning Points

We had a variety of presenters who focused on the various aspects of carrying out safe risks assessment, on how to stratify and divide the labor within one’s service, and on how to manage and address risks while thinking about the demographic, dynamic and protective risks factors. This whilst keeping in mind how the team, other patients, and both outside and inner world factors affect the overall patient risk profile.

Furthermore, we learned more about managing patient behaviours using positive behaviour support planning, while acknowledging the importance of the ward dynamics and patient mix. Lastly, we were given a glimpse of a typical forensic service where dangerousness is measured using the HCR-20 and how risk is managed using physical, procedural and relational security on a day to day basis within a secure ward. 

Next Step: Practicing What We Learned

My main reflection from this conference was how practical and tangible the suggestions from the different presentations were and I believe the main take-home message is to take at least one thing which we learnt from this conference and share this on a ward or within a team in which we work, to start implementing something new. This could be implemented either in the way in which we carry out risk assessments or in how we manage ward dynamics or even in ways we use to manage our own diaries and our own mental health. 

Being the Voice of Change

Both during and following the Conference, MAP has been active in the media, in various newspapers as well as National TV, to further raise awareness on Suicide Prevention and Self Harm Behaviour as well as to provide guidance to journalists on how to tackle such sensitive information. Let us keep this momentum going.

On behalf of MAP, I would like to encourage everyone of us individually to be the voice and example of the change we would like to see in our mental health services, whether it is in our practice, in our training or in our working environment. So now that the information is fresh in our minds it is time to make those changes. 

Final Remarks

Finally I would like to thank all of you who gave us feedback both personally and through the evaluation forms. We are currently going through it and we will audit and share the summary key points once this is done. This will inform us on where to focus our next efforts with regards to academia and training and we encourage any of you who have any reactions or comments to add to do so in order for MAP to continue improving.

Best Wishes,

Nigel


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