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Come along to a "Hearing Voices Event" in Ipswich

​An event is being held in Ipswich later this month for carers, service users and anyone interested in the issue of hearing voices.

Anyone attending the "Hearing Voices Event" at the University of Suffolk on Friday, 26 October will be able to find out why people might hear voices, what might cause it and what can help.

The day, which will include national speakers, is being organised by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and the charity, Suffolk Family Carers.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, it is estimated that between 5% and 28% of any general population hears voices that other people do not.

Howard Tidman, NSFT Carers Lead, said that although hearing voices in the mind can be unrelated to mental illness, it is a well-recognised symptom of psychosis, dementia and bipolar disorder. 

"We hope this event will be very positive for all who attend, providing inspiring stories of how people have overcome psychosis and manage their psychosis to tantalising glimpses of how we might eventually cure psychosis in our society," he said.

"We helped to organise something similar in Norwich in November last year which was attended by 140 people, and even attracted attention in America.

"Service users and carers in Suffolk have been asking us to arrange an event for them which is how this has come about.

"The day will include talks from psychiatrists, psychologists and experts with lived experience, and local organisations will have stands and provide information.

"They will include the Ipswich Hearing Voices Group, part of the Hearing Voices Network, a UK-based charity that can give help and support.

"Other organisations taking part are Mind, VoiceAbility and the Suffolk User Forum, a service user led mental health charity working to raise the voice for mental health service users in Suffolk."

Terri-Ann Perkins, Mental Health & Substance Misuse Team Manager at Suffolk Family Carers, said: "Suffolk Family Carers are excited to be working in collaboration with NSFT on this worthwhile and meaningful event."

It will be held in the Main Lecture Theatre at the University of Suffolk between 10am and 4pm. People can drop in at any time – there is no need to book.

Speakers on the day will include:

•           Leigh Allison – "How I overcame my psychosis and went on to become a millionaire". Despite diagnoses of bipolar disorder and psychosis, he created a £16m business in Norfolk

•           Dr Rana Moharam, Registrar in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, who works for NSFT in Ipswich, will give a talk titled "What is psychosis and psychosis in younger people?"

•           Elizabeth Cross, who is connected with Suffolk Family Carers and will talk about caring for a daughter with psychosis

•           Ravi Thornton, the founder and managing director of Ziggy's Wish, an applied narrative technology consultancy

Dr Moharam said the reason why she is keen to give a talk in public is to help fight the stigma around hearing voices and psychosis.

"The key to eradicating stigma is to gain a deeper understanding of the issue," she said. "Most of us fear the unknown and try to avoid it, enabling stigma to seep through."

Subjects covered will also include PPiP2 (Prevalence of Pathogenic Antibodies in Psychosis), a study involving 30 mental health trusts, including NSFT, to investigate the prevalence of auto-immune antibodies in patients with psychosis symptoms.

Mr Tidman said: "This research is showing some excellent results and it shows how through research we can now cure 8% of psychosis.

"It is the beginning of how we might incrementally eventually cure all people with psychosis in our society."

He believes there are only a few events held in the UK relating to hearing voices.

* Anyone wanting more information about the Hearing Voices Event is asked to contact Howard Tidman on 07557 290169 or at or Louise Marks on 07929 190426.

Caption: Howard Tidman, pictured at the University of Suffolk, the venue for Hearing Voices on 26 October.

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