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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness
RCPsych International Congress 2018

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Dear colleague,

It gives us great pleasure to announce today the detailed programme of the International Congress of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 2018. Over the last few years, this meeting has grown into arguably the biggest highlight of the World Mental Health Conference calendar and the ones in Birmingham (2015), London (2016) and Edinburgh (2017) were all record breakers in terms of attendance and participation. In 2018, the International Congress with its theme Psychiatry: New Horizons comes back to the ICC in Birmingham from the 24th to 27th of June. Regular attenders will no doubt appreciate that a particular feature of the Congress has been a programme that features not just academics, but patients, families and opinion leaders from the social and political sphere. 2018 promises to continue that trend and over the 4 days of the conference, there will be 14 keynotes and about 80 parallel sessions that cover an eclectic range of topics ranging from basic sciences, clinical psychiatry, policy areas and the socio-cultural realm, all relevant to mental health.

Our keynote speakers on day 1 will include Professor Wendy Burn, delivering her maiden inaugural address as the College’s new President, Baroness Hale, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom on whether it is time for yet another Mental Health Act, Professor Elias Eriksson on the efficacy of antidepressants and the award winning journalist and writer Sathnam Sanghera, author of the Boy with the Topknot and Marriage Material. Day 2 features three stalwarts – Sir Robin Murray, the most cited psychosis researcher outside the US and a professor who has seen 40 of his students go on to become full professors elsewhere, Professor Ray Dolan, winner of the 2017 Brain Prize and Professor Karl Friston recently ranked No. 1 by Semantic Scholar in the list of top 10 most influential neuroscientists in the world. Day 3 will have Professor Simon Lovestone, a practising Old Age Psychiatrist and Professor of Translational Neuroscience at Oxford, Dr Altha Stewart, President of the American Psychiatric Association, Professor Mary Phillips who heads the Clinical and Translational Affective Neuroscience Program in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh and Professor Emily Holmes, a Professor in Psychology at the Karolinska Institute’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Sweden. On day 4, Professor Hamish McAllister-Williams, Professor of Affective Disorders at Newcastle features alongside psychiatrist turned bestselling writer Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and the award winning mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin MBE.

In addition to these keynotes, the real strength of the Congress has always been the wide range of parallel sessions presented by an international faculty and the 2018 menu is as rich as always. Do have a quick browse of the full programme to fully appreciate the breadth and strength of what is on offer. As always, there will be a number of cultural activities and social events that accompany the Congress and this year, there will also be the inaugural screening of a feature length documentary film comprising of a retrospective of the career of Professor Julian Leff, including his recent work on Avatar Therapy.

As always, we are very grateful for the many suggestions and proposals from the College's inceptors, members, fellows and well-wishers, in particular, the patients and families who helped us to shape the 2018 programme. There is still time to submit abstracts for posters with the deadline for that being 21 February. Online registration is available now; please make sure you register early for the full conference and take advantage of the early bird rates which will be available until 28 February.

We do hope to see as many of you as possible in Birmingham from 24-27 June 2018.


Dr Regi Alexander, Professor Ian Jones and Dr Shubulade Smith, Co-chairs & Dr Ian Hall, Associate Dean for Advanced Learning and Conferences



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Quotes from International Congress 2017 Delegates

"The International Congress in Edinburgh was an uplifting experience."

"First class Congress - very professional, showing the college in the best light. Not to be missed." 

"Overall superb, thank you, you made me proud to be a psychiatrist."

"Wonderful gathering with high quality of sessions and excellent opportunity of networking."

 "In one sentence, it is excellent."