This week, thanks to the hard work of Martin Gilbert, Lynne Morris and team at BCDA, Terry and I had the pleasure of chairing a day each of the Birmingham Mental Health and Criminal Justice Conference.
Day 1 was aimed at a wide range of health and social care providers and practitioners, the aim being to raise awareness of this complex area and Day 2 build on what had gone before and targeting practitioners across partner organisations.
Day 1 opened with a exploration of Shame with Kate Lucke, she took us through a guided exercise to encourage participants to consider how it can impact on behaviour and responses, followed by a brief law quiz and then Dr Roxane Agnew-Davies who presented some findings of the research on intimate partner violence and the experiences of those affected.
One of the highlights of the morning was an impassioned presentation by Junior Smart founder of the SOS Project at St Giles Trust, a charity working with ex-offenders and other socially disadvantaged groups. Junior spoke about the SOS project and his journey from the streets of south london to his current role as founder and mentor within the SOS project.
After a very nice lunch, the afternoon turned theatrical with a performance from 300 voices, a project supported by Time to Change, aimed at highlighting the experiences of young african caribbean men in the mental health system. Audience members got to ask the characters questions and explore individual experiences of a pre-prepared scenario involving conflict between mental health staff and individual service users.
The day was rounded up by Alan Swift from the West Midlands Fire Service on the role of the fire service and their vulnerable persons' officers, and Eric Jackson talking about social work in prison before i rounded up with a brief consideration of the impact of drugs before closing what had been a thought provoking day.
When the event convened for day 2 I passed the reins over to Terry who was compare for the second half of the conference programme.