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Press Release for Courageous Conversations at Milton Abbey

06 Feb 2018

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

5 FEBRUARY 2018 


A new era for the mental and emotional wellbeing of young people

Thursday 8 March 9am to 4.30pm -  Milton Abbey School, Dorset


We at iCAAD are proud to announce a ground-breaking new initiative – at a time when so many are calling for more prevention and interventions for mental health issues in general, and particularly for young people, our “Courageous Conversations” event will be bringing our conference style and expert presenters on mental and emotional health to Milton Abbey School in Dorset. We will be taking over the whole of Milton Abbey School for this cutting edge one-day event which is bringing students, parents and all of the Milton Abbey teaching staff together. The event is also open to any other interested parents, professionals and establishments. 


Milton Abbey Head Master, Magnus Bashaarat is sensitive to these issues and is dedicating a full day out of the school calendar to talk about mental health well-being. He has worked alongside iCAAD to develop this unique event. 


He comments ‘Young people’s mental and emotional wellbeing is seldom out of the news. As parents and educators we are all too aware of the pressures and difficulties facing teenagers who are trying to cope with the relatively new phenomenon of 24/7 social media and the reality of their day to day lives being constantly ‘shared’ and commented upon.  Whilst long term research has yet to be done on the impact of this, the short term impact is there for all to see.’  He adds ‘The hope is that those parents who attend ‘Courageous Conversations’ will leave feeling better informed and prepared to engage with their children on these delicate subjects and better able to prevent problems before they arise.’


Running throughout the day there will be an ‘Adults’ and a ‘Students’ programme. Pupils, parents and teachers and will hear from leading expert healthcare professionals and engage in panel discussions, presentations and workshops across a wide range of pertinent topics including: Self-Harm & Eating Disorders; Sex, Love & Relationships; Social media; and Mental health, Depression & Anxiety. More information on the sessions and speakers below:


  • Self-Harm and Eating Disorders presented by Dr Shruthi Guruswamy (Psychiatrist and Consultant at the Priory) and Satveer Nijaar (Founder of Attention Seekers Training).  
  • Sex, Love and Relationships presented by Noel McDermott (Psychotherapist, Executive Coach, Trainer and Speaker) and Evelyn Callahan (Non Binary Transmasculine PhD Student studying Trans Healthcare).
  • Mental health Depression and Anxiety presented by Jonny Benjamin MBE (award-winning Mental Health Campaigner, Film Producer, Public Speaker, Writer and Vlogger) and Andy Dunn (ThinkWell). 
  • Guest Speaker - Mandy Saligari (Founder and Clinical Director of Charter, Harley Street and regular media spokesperson and expert contributor to Channel 5’s ‘In Therapy’).
  • Guest Speaker - Dr Owen Bowden-Jones (Consultant Psychiatrist and author of The Drug Conversation).
  • Guest Speaker – Jan Willem Poot (Founder of Yes We Can Youth Clinics in the Netherlands).
  • What is it, with Social Media? presented by Chris Martin (CEO, The Mix). 
  • Drugs and Alcohol presented by Rosie Johnston (Addictions Counsellor, Author and Journalist).



Dr Shruthi Guruswamy became a full-time Consultant Psychiatrist in the Independent Sector in 2014 and alongside her private practice she was appointed Consultant in the Priory Hospital. She is additionally trained as a Dialectical Behaviour Therapist (DBT) with an interest in self-harm behaviour which alongside eating disorders will be her focus point for the conference. 


Satveer Nijaar is a passionate trainer who aims to reduce stigma and raise awareness in mental health, with a specialism in self-harm awareness. Satveer’s personal experience of using services for self-harm led her to become involved with the ‘Better Services for People who Self-harm Project’ (RCPsych) in 2006 and went on to teach training in general hospitals.  Since then, she has delivered training to all age groups from medical staff and social workers, to staff and students in both independent and state schools.


Noel McDermott has been a Psychotherapist, Executive Coach, Trainer and Speaker for over 20 years. He will be offering his expertise on Sex, Love and Relationships at the conference, benefitting both young people and adults’ understanding of the crucial part sex, love and relationships play in a young person’s life.


Evelyn Callahan is a Non Binary Transmasculine PhD Student, currently studying Trans Healthcare at Brunel University. Evelyn will be assisting Noel McDermott in speaking of Sex, Love and Relationships but will focus on issues related to gender. 


Jonny Benjamin is an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, public speaker, writer and vlogger from London. He has been awarded an MBE for his services to mental health and suicide prevention in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. Jonny will speak at the conference about living with mental illness and aims to educate and break stigma, encouraging young people to speak out. 


Andy Dunn is the author of Feeling Lost and Finding Your Way, a story that shares his journey through different stages of life, and the struggles he faced with his mental health and navigating big decisions. He has over ten years’ experience working with young people and encouraging their potential. His heartfelt mission is to help young people develop their self-awareness, confidence and personal resilience. 


Mandy Saligari is the founder and Clinical Director of CHARTER Harley Street, founded ten years ago. Using her pioneering model of care to break the mould in addiction treatment, Charter has earned a solid reputation for clinical excellence and sustained recovery outcomes successfully treating addiction solely in an outpatient setting.


Dr Owen Bowden–Jones is a medical doctor, psychiatrist and researcher with more than 20 years’ experience of helping people with mental health and substance misuse problems on their journey to recovery. He works in both NHS and private practice, with expertise in substance misuse problems, depression, anxiety problems, Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder and trauma.


Chris Martin is the CEO of The Mix, the UK’s leading support service for young people. Chris is passionate about digital for social good, and will be offering his expertise on the phenomenon that is Social Media, and the effects it can have on young people.


Jan Willem Poot is the Founder of Yes We Can Youth Clinics, a private residential clinic in Europe which specialises in treating young people (13-25 years old) with complex behavioural disorders, addictions and related behavioural problems. Jan Willem will host two interactive sessions (Adults and Students) with the aim to determine their understanding of the issues that young people face today, such as, cyber bullying, gaming, drugs and alcohol.


Rosie Johnston is a recovering alcoholic and addict, with copious experience in bad decision-making, terrible consequences and living to tell the tale. Rosie is a trained Addictions Counsellor, author and journalist. She currently works with Young Offenders in West Suffolk, and mentors teenagers across a spectrum of issues including anxiety and depression, peer-pressure, social media and addictions. She will cover all topics related to teenage peer pressure, drink and drugs.

Register at icaadevents.com - £95 general admission, full day pass. Concessions for Students/Statutory/Voluntary.


For more information, please contact Teresa Quinlan at Love PR London                                                teresa@loveprlondon.com 





Notes to Editors:

  • iCAAD: International Conferences on Addiction and Associated Disorders are an ongoing series of global events facilitating an open dialogue on addiction and other behavioural health issues. Our international platform is dedicated to expanding knowledge, exchanging ideas, and advancing the prevention and treatment of Behavioural, Mental, and Emotional health issues.
  • Visit www.icaadevents.com 
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