Over 60 people attended a special conference to celebrate World Mental Health Day on October 8th, in Calderdale.

The conference, held at the Cedar Court Hotel, Ainley Top, was held to coincide with World Mental Health Day that is celebrated worldwide on October 10th. The conference was organised by the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust and sponsored by an educational grant from Pfizer Ltd / Eisai Ltd.

The conference was targeted at two distinct groups; carers of people who have mental health problems and professionals who work within or closely to mental health services. Carers were invited along to a talk on ‘Dementia, Legal Problems and Options’ by Myron Handiz, a solicitor. They were also able to browse the information stands for support and advice, help themselves to a free buffet, attend a relaxation session and have afternoon tea amongst people sharing similar problems and concerns.

Professionals from Huddersfield and Halifax were also targeted and amongst those invited were social workers, GPs, nursing staff, NHS Trust staff and psychiatrists. The conference was chaired by Dr D Ryland GP and included talks on ‘Mental Capacity and Enduring Powers of Attorney’ by Myron Handiz, solicitor and also a talk on the Memory Assessment and Therapy Service by Dr John Schoeman. The event closed with panel question time.

Professionals were also able to browse the information stands where a vast array of organisations were present. These included: Calderdale Carers Project, Community Mental Health Teams for Older People, Alzheimer’s Disease Society, Rethink, DASS (Dementia Advice and Support Service), Occupational Therapy, Making Space, Ebenezer Centre, Age Concern, The Depression Alliance and the Huddersfield Memory Clinic. Healthcare professionals at the conference were able to pick up information about advice and support services, which will help them support people with mental health problems and their carers, who they may come into contact with through their work.

Polly McKay, carer liaison nurse for the South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust organised the conference. She said, ‘The event was a great success and I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who attended, both as delegates and those displaying information. The timing of this event to coincide with World Mental Health Day was important and we sincerely hope it will contribute to reducing the stigma of mental health problems amongst the people of Halifax and Huddersfield’.


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