A while ago, a friend of mine came to me and told me that he was trying to come off his Subutex script. He had set up an appointment with his local drug and alcohol services and been to see them earlier that day. During his appointment they worked to get a plan together to help him through the detoxification period. This plan included offering him a Valium script. Fortunately my friend is thoroughly dedicated to his recovery and his goal to become totally drug free. He knew he could not accept the offer of Valium, not least because within his medical history, it stated that he had previously had an issue with Valium and other prescription drugs. In fact, only as far back as a year ago, when he had been put on to his current Subutex script, he had sat with his GP and informed him that all drugs were problematic for him. In that appointment he had especially emphasised, Crack, Alcohol Heroin and Valium. He even informed his doctor that his last relapse, and the reason for this Subutex script, had begun after taking some Valium.

This little anecdote highlighted for me the importance of the work we do at iCAAD. We understand the importance of connecting people from different walks of life, different services within the same or other sectors, different methodologies, cultures and belief systems – people who don’t often get the opportunity to talk in such a way – building on the existing networks and collaborative community.

I am aware of how hard it is for a GP to be fully informed about literally everything, but we’d like to believe that by attending our conferences, General Practitioners, and people within any services dealing with drug, alcohol and mental health issues, will gain an insight and better understanding of the mental health and addiction fields. That they will leave feeling confident in their ability to signpost correctly, and assured that they now have a network of professionals they could reach out to when faced with complex cases involving mental health and/or addiction issues.

Since starting to work for iCAAD, I have learnt so much about the drug and alcohol industry. I have learnt what works in some instances may not work in others, and vice versa. I have also come to appreciate just how important our mission is. We are a platform dedicated to expanding knowledge, exchanging ideas, advancing wellbeing and the prevention and treatment of Behavioural, Mental, and Emotional Health issues… but what exactly does that mean?

It means that during our events which can be attended by anyone who is likely to encounter someone with an addiction or mental health issue, we offer a space, not only for presentations from a wide range of academics, researchers and practitioners, but for thinkers and disrupters from all walks of the Behavioural Mental and Emotional sectors to unite. A space where open dialogue is actively encouraged. Our mission is to be that “join up”, that vital link between services and medical professionals. Our interactive learning platform enables professionals from different walks of life, different services within the same or other sectors, people with different methodologies, cultures and belief systems to connect with each other and share their expertise and best practice.

Through this meeting of great minds and shared interest, we can build stable and consistent referral streams, get a solid understanding of where and who to signpost our clients to when the needs arise. Our horizons are broadened and we are able to build upon our understanding of the intricate, web like machine of the Behavioural, Mental and Emotional Health sector, in which we are all involved. We are able to see it as a whole, instead of just the threads in which we are currently entangled.

Through the network of people you will hear, speak to and learn from at our conferences, you can leave with the confidence that you are well equipped to provide an informed continuum of care for your clients. We’d like to pledge that this continuum is not only for your clients, here at iCAAD we also want to create a “continuum of care” for you, our delegates and presenters. We want our communications network to thrive throughout the year, between all of our events. We want the sparks that we ignited during the conferences to remain lit, and we want to be able to continually fan the flames. In order to do that, we need your help. We need to keep the conversations alive. Contact us with blog topics you want to either write yourself, or get us to research and write. What did you hear at one of our conferences that you’d like to know more about? Who did you speak to that made you think a little out of the box?

It is now more important than ever that not only professionals in the field are able to network and share their findings - but that our breadth and variety of audience are able to take the sum of their experiences back into their own communities, businesses and areas of influence. Let’s do this together. Let’s join together as the iCAAD community and keep those courageous conversations flowing.

A Blog by Araminta Jonsson