Educating for Mental Health #RCPCH16

If you are looking for inclusivity, then an open meeting at the RCPCH annual conference, hosted jointly by PEdSIG and PMHA is probably a good place to begin……

Kicking us off in colourful style were Drs Rosanna, Jess and Thom with their fantastic workshop on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (plus) communication in paediatrics.


Almost by definition the delegates joining us were good communicators with open minds, but that doesn’t mean we don’t put our metaphorical feet in it once in a while. Using case studies of clinical situations the team asked “how would you manage this?” We covered topics from what words to use when talking with LGBT+ children through to the legalities of consent with same sex parents. We discussed how to word LGBT+ issues in your clinic letters and even knowing when there is no need to mention it at all. At the most difficult end we debated when and how to challenge colleagues who voice prejudicial views and ways of ensuring children are not discriminated against. ┬áCheck out Thom’s fantastic Storify┬áblog on the workshop highlights.

All good meetings come with coffee and after that important interlude we began the oral presentations. This year PEdSIG/PMHA had 52 abstract submissions for the day and the quality of the eight who were chosen to speak at the meeting was exceptional.

The prize for best oral presentation went to Dr Rebecca Long and Sophie McKenna for Street Doctors: A Public Health Approach to Reducing Youth Violence. They are part of a growing national team who deliver workshops to young people on managing injuries due to violence. Not only does this enable young people to keep themselves and their friends safe but it also gives them an awareness of some of the consequences of violent injuries and may help them to think twice before resorting to violence themselves. If you are interested, then checkout their amazing website.

Nestled in amongst the oral presentations was Dr Raphael Kelvin talking about Multi-professional education in mental health: The place of MindEd. If you haven’t used MindEd in your practice then you can start by visiting their website & look through their family and professional resources. If you don’t quite have the time to explain something to a patient or family then send them in the direction of MindEd For Families for some thoroughly vetted material to read that will help to build on their understanding and empower them in managing their own mental health.

We rounded the day off with two minutes each for our poster authors to discuss their abstracts on the background of a single image they had chosen to represent their work. Dr Aoife Owens and Dr Kate Pryde shared the prize for best poster in a very close competition and those that attended can see their abstracts in the conference edition of Archives pages A54 and A55 (we hope to get the posters on our website soon).

My key learning points for the day:

1) LGBT+ language is constantly evolving and will mean different things to different young people. Ask how they describe themselves and use their words so you don’t have to find your own.

2) In UK, parents named on the birth certificate or documentation of parental responsibility can consent for a child or young person, regardless of their gender. Don’t ask “are you the biological mum?” It is not relevant.

3) Public health education not only helps individuals manage a particular issue but can be preventative by enabling young people to manage the primary causes.

4) Use MindEd.

5) If you want to teach inclusivity and educational skills, you have to be inclusive and use those skills yourself. It works!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the afternoon and everyone who’s hard work contributed to its success. I look forward to seeing you all again with even more new friends in November for the PEdSIG winter meeting.

Nick Schindler

PEdSIG Trainee Officer

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