Self Harm And Eating Disorders Conference

SAFA recently celebrated the success of our first Self-Harm and Eating Disorders conference, held on 21 September 2016 at Newton Rigg College, Penrith. The conference brought together 62 practitioners from education, social care, health and third sectors. The morning included three thought-provoking but different lectures. In the afternoon delegates attended a range of workshops.

Dr Andy Siddaway, Clinical Psychologist and Research Fellow at the University of Stirling gave an interesting account of his work in identifying and measuring key cognitions in suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm to better understand the similarities and differences in thinking that underpin these behaviours so that we can develop more effective interventions, reduce stigma, and improve quality of life.

Dr Gillian Rayner, Senior Lecturer in Mental Health Nursing from the University of Salford presented a paper on the cycle of shame in self-harm and her study of interpersonal processes between staff and clients.

Liz Bolt, Consultant Psychologist at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust delivered a lecture and workshop on eating disorders and personality disorders which looked at family involvement and the Maudsley model.

Samreen Khan, Counsellor at SAFA and private practice delivered an experiential workshop on Working with Cultural Difference. Self-harm can affect anyone, however research has shown that people from ethnic minority communities find it harder to access mainstream services. Studies have shown that young black and Asian females are at increased risk of self-harm and suicide. The workshop helped delegates to identify their understanding of culture and its impact on practice and develop their capacity to work with difference.

Tara Stone, Development Manager at Be: Trans Support & Development North delivered a workshop on Barriers to Mental Health Service Access for Transgender People. Self-harm and suicide rates are substantially higher for transgender people than the general population. Yet despite this many trans people don’t get the help they require from mental health services. This workshop highlighted those barriers and explored ways to remove or minimise them.

Danny Banks (Specialist Advisory Teacher, Autism Spectrum Conditions) and Kate Holliday (Specialist HLTA, Autism Spectrum Conditions) delivered workshops on Autism and Communication. Communication develops differently for many people with autism. It is thought that about half of people with autism engage in self-injurious behaviours and 20-30% engage in self-harm at some point in their lives. This workshop offered guidance on communicating with people with autism in order to effectively support them.

Karen Gates, Specialist Dietician for ANIS (Anorexia Nervosa Intensive Service) at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust delivered Practical Approaches for Managing Anorexia Nervosa from her perspective as a dietician.

Gill Schwer, Focus Family Manager at Cumbria County Council delivered workshops on Whole Family Working. This workshop covered the benefits of whole family working, the impact of family dynamics on members of the family and wider influences on mental health.

The feedback has been extremely positive, with the average overall satisfaction being 4.7 out of 5 (5 being excellent).

“Thanks so much for organising such an informative and thought provoking conference.”

“I really enjoyed the conference, all of the speakers were excellent and very obviously experts in their field.”

“I learned something in each session.”