Last week I was invited to speak at the Mental Health Today conference in Cardiff. I set off on the Tuesday afternoon to make my way and was greeted to Wales with sun filled valleys and lush, green hill tops- what a sight!
As I entered Cardiff the scenery changed to a hive of activity, with tall buildings and busy people. I found my way through the traffic to my destination, the Premier Inn. With the extra excuse of it being Mental Health Awareness week I made sure I had a delicious hot meal and enjoyed a bubble bath with my first Lush (Handmade cosmetics) bath bomb.
With approximately 400 people attending the conference I was excited to mingle and meet new faces. The day of the conference was one of inspiration and hope. So many people and so many experiences to share! One particular presentation from Cyfle Cymru really stuck out for me, with a service user sharing their story with us. He mentioned the importance of creating space to do the things we want to do and taking the time to understand what getting well meant. I felt this message was such an important one for all of us to take note of. If we are to thrive it is essential we let ourselves explore what this looks like and how it will be done.
Before long it was my turn to present. Many people tell me I am confident when presenting, something I still struggle to accept after many years of managing my anxiety. As many of you may agree it is surprising just how much can go through your mind before you step up to speak. One of the last thoughts I had, whilst taking deep breaths and walking up to the stand, was how awe-inspiring it was to have so many people gathered together in one space all with the same mission to help improve the lives of those with mental health conditions- and I was lucky enough to contribute to this.
The whole day radiated hope and drive for constant change and I look forward to experiencing more of this atmosphere again at our own National conference on the 1st March, From Harm to Hope.
For more feedback on what took place at Mental Health Today and to read the interview I had on how best to support those who self harm please click here.
For more information on our own conference, From Harm to Hope email: firstname.lastname@example.org