2014 Annual International Think-Tank Conference: “One Year On” Recovery into Practice: A Whole Life – Whole Systems Approach

Our second annual conference was held at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthen, on the 30th - 31st October 2014.

The conference was a great success attended by 0ver 180 people from West and South Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom with guest speakers from around the world.

Roberto Mezzina, IMHCN Chairman said:

"This conference gave everyone a good understanding of the importance of the whole life- whole systems approach. I was very encouraged and impressed by the many examples of innovative ways of working that were described by presenters; the moving accounts given by people about their lives and the energy and commitment of the participants. I believe that the conference was inspirational and I hope that it will inspire all of us to renew our energies in bringing about change in mental health".

The two day conference celebrated the progress made since the one we held in June 2013. It built on the work of putting whole life recovery into practice over the last eighteen months in South and West Wales. This partnership between IMHCN, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and West Wales Action for Mental Health, Local Authorities and Community organisations has shown a way forward of implementing the Wales Mental Health Measure and the National Strategy “Together for Mental Health”.

This was a significant event bringing together for the second time experts on the Whole Life-Whole Systems approach from Wales and the International Community.

The conference was part of the continuing process of understanding and determining the practical steps in developing a Whole Life-Whole Systems Strategy in identified communities in South and West Wales. This is based on the three tenets: Change the Thinking: Change the Practice: Change the System. We believe this is essential in bringing about the necessary cultural changes to meet the whole life needs of people who experience mental health distress within a whole system.

This conference was jointly organised by the International Mental Health Collaborating Network (IMHCN), Hywel Dda University Health Board, the Abertewe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board and West Wales Action for Mental Health (WWAMH).

The conference drew upon the expertise and experience of pioneering individuals and services who have developed and implemented Whole Life-Whole Systems and Recovery Approaches. There were presentations, workshops and discussions by people with lived experience, family members, mental health professionals and community development workers from across the world including the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Palestine and the UK.

The purpose of the conference was to:

  • Review and share the progress that has been made over the last eighteen months
  • Forge and further develop partnerships between all existing and new stakeholders
  • Sustain the momentum for change and development of whole life-whole recovery approaches, practices and services

The conference programme can be seen here

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