Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine - Barts and The London

State of the Art Congress 2020 – Personality, Character and Mental Health

Our 5th annual congress on research brought together some of the leading experts in mental health research, as well as some of the up-and-coming talent in the field. This year’s congress focussed on the theme ‘Personality, Character and Mental Health’ – concepts at the heart of human understanding.

10 March 2020

After a brief welcome from our very own Dr Mark Freestone, the day got off to a flying start with a  session from Professor Lord John Alderdice, (Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, Oxford University) on the subject ‘Conflict, Complexity and Co-operation’ – a fascinating insight into his work on international conflict resolution.

Dr Trudi Seneviratne delivering her talk at the State of the Art congress 2020Next up, Prof Cynthia Fu (Professor of Affective Neuroscience, University of East London) presented on ‘The brain and psychoanalysis: Linking neuroimaging-based biomarkers and longitudinal deep phenotyping in psychoanalysis’, with an insight into how anti-depressants and CBT are used to address amygdala dysfunction in depressive episodes.

Our next speaker, Dr Trudi Seneviratne (Clinical Director, Channi Kumar Mother & Baby Unit, Bethlem Royal Hospital) gave us a thought-provoking talk on ‘Personality Disorder in the Perinatal Period’.

Our final speaker of the morning session, Dr Liz Allison (Director of the Psychoanalysis Unit, University College London) presented on ‘Psychotherapy and personality disorder: The role of epistemic trust’.

Attendees at the State of the Art Congress 2020 view research postersDuring a lunch served in the atmospheric and compelling Pathology Museum, a selection of posters showcased the latest developments in mental health research, giving all our attendees a chance to network and catch up on their colleagues' achievements amongst the curious exhibitions and specimens around the museum.

Our afternoon session kicked off with a talk from Associate Prof Ken Levy, (Pennsylvania State University) on the subject of ‘Personality and personality disorder: Common myths and misconceptions about validity, course, and outcome’.

Next came a chance to hear a series of presentations from promising junior researchers. The difficult task of choosing winners fell to Dr Mark Freestone, Dr Heidrun Bien and Dr Catherine Marshall:

First Prize:
Georgina Mathlin - Offenders with Personality Disorder who fail to progress: a case control study using PLS-SEM path analysis
Joint Second Prize:
Roswitha Dharampal - The emotional and mental health needs of young carers: what can psychiatry do?
Alana Ahmet - Transition from Child and Adolescent MHS to Adult MHS: What happens to young people with Personality Disorder?

The judges were extremely impressed by all the presentations, and we’re excited to see where the research leads in the future.

Dr Tennyson Lee chairing a panel at the State of the Art Congress 2020A lively panel discussion, chaired by Dr Tennyson Lee (Consultant Psychiatrist, Deancross: Tower Hamlets Personality Disorder Service) saw our speakers engage with questions from the audience. The afternoon was rounded off by closing remarks from Dr Paul Gilluley (Chief Medical Officer, East London Foundation Trust).

Huge thanks as always must go to Lisa Kass and Sharmin Khonij for their seamless planning & organisation to bring us this valuable event, and to all the volunteers who helped it run smoothly on the day.

If you need any more information on the congress or have any suggestions for future events, please do get in touch