The Fourth Psychological Professions Network conference
The PPN 4th annual conference took place today. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be able to open the event. Our key note speaker was Jacqui Dyer – Vice Chair of the Mental Health Task Force amongst her many other roles and achievements – both personal and professional.
Jacqui shared with the conference the importance of bringing all our experience and expertise to supporting and helping people. The importance of how we and the people whom we are here to help exist in the world was highlighted. She also highlighted key aspects of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. Jacqui’s keynote was followed by three respondents who provided their perspective from personal and professional viewpoints including that of working with children, older people, survivors of abuse, physical health problems. The importance of including all sectors and areas of service at planning stages was also described. The passion, experience and expertise of all the speakers came across and supported a discussion that will no doubt continue and support future developments.
I reflected on the maturity of the network at the age of three and that there are expectations that three year olds can do quite a lot – bend over without falling over, understanding the concept of counting, walking upstairs one foot at a time, expressing emotions. The integration of physical, cognitive and emotional development is key in enabling our psychological maturity to develop. As a network, our maturity can be described in terms of a number of key domains including Leadership, Membership, Knowledge and Practice and Visibility. We are making progress in these areas with a core leadership group and identified aims. Our membership has been increasing steadily and we now have over 2000 members registered. Special interest groups have also been supported and these have enabled the sharing of knowledge and practice as well as opportunities for professional development. The network has become more visible with enquiries for information as well as advice on setting up PPNs in other parts of the country. However, we are not there yet and we all need to promote and advocate for the network. Also, we would like to know more about what our members think and what they would like to see. So a plea from me is – please complete our member survey and help us improve our network. The link is: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/B6SXP5H
In the afternoon, we heard about projects developing different approaches to helping people – long term conditions and IAPT, peer support workers and staff wellbeing in Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners. The importance of co-production was clear whether it is between sectors or between experts by experience and employed staff. Some of these projects are at an early stage and it will be good to hear more as things develop. These presentations helped us think about where some of the gaps are in implementing the Five Year Forward View for mental health and the workshop section supported the identification of these gaps and potential solutions by using the expertise and experience of network members.
I hope all those who attended enjoyed the event as much as I did. For those of you who were unable to attend, we will ensure that the presentations are uploaded as soon as is practical as well as the video footage. Hopefully, this can support the wider sharing of the day and the shared passion, experience and expertise that our three year old network already has.