Brighton conference tackles key mental health topics

Posted On 25 Jun 2011 at 8:26 pm

Mental health experts took part in a conference in Brighton aimed at improving research and providing better care for patients.

Leading researchers and clinicians from around the country joined local doctors, academics, patients and carers at Bramber House at the Sussex University campus in Falmer.

About 170 people took part in the annual Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Research and Development Conference.

The trust said that the speakers showcased a number of important projects and helped explain the relevance of research to the care and treatment of patients.

The Spearhead

Talks covered some of the latest scientific studies into some of the most innovative research in psychiatry, psychology and other aspects of mental health.

Speakers also dealt with developments in dealing with people with learning disabilities and drink and drug addictions.

The main speech was given by Professor Til Wykes, professor of clinical psychology and rehabilitation at King’s College London. 

She spelt out developments in psychological approaches to cognitive decline in schizophrenia, a major focus of research.

The conference also heard from Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd, vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health. 


He spoke about the importance of mental health locally and what people expect from a modern responsive service.

Professor Jon Cohen, dean of Brighton and Sussex Medical School and a non-executive director at Sussex Partnership, explained why excellent clinical research matters to everyone.

He emphasised the role that research plays in enhancing overall standards of clinical care.

Other presentations included one by Dr Sam Cartwright-Hatton entitled “Does anxiety always have to run in families? What can we do to help parents break the chain?”

Dr Naji Tabet, a consultant psychiatrist, presented data on a ground-breaking study to investigate how exercise and diet can slow the rate of degeneration in Alzheimer’s patients.

Dr Suzanne Conboy-Hill, a consultant psychologist at Sussex Partnership, led a workshop on the impact of digital communications on therapeutic outcomes.

Dr Mark Hayward, the director of research at Sussex Partnership, said: “Our annual Research and Development Conference is an opportunity to highlight the importance of a clinically rigorous and socially relevant research programme to help to enhance the mental health and wellbeing of the thousands of people in Sussex who use our services every year.

“It is vital that we help frontline clinicians understand their critical role in identifying research need and delivering robust research programmes alongside their clinical practice.


“Research in our field is not an abstract science far removed from the demands of front line care.

“Many people depend on new breakthroughs in clinical practice to find a way to overcome their mental health, learning disability or substance misuse challenges.

“We are very fortunate to have such a strong network of partner organisations, including the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, the Universities of Sussex and Brighton and King’s College London that enable us to share research skills and knowledge for the benefit of people in Sussex.

“We believe this event will further establish Sussex Partnership’s growing reputation as a leading centre for clinical research in the South and reinforce the importance of the knowledge economy to Brighton and Hove and across Sussex.”

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