Helping people recover from extreme stress or psychological trauma will be the focus of the public event.

University to host open mental health event

Helping people recover from extreme stress or psychological trauma will be the focus of a public event at the University of Exeter on Saturday (20 May).

People who have suffered extreme stress or psychological trauma, or who have seen relatives go through this, are among those invited to the event.

It is open to anyone with an interest in these areas, including charity and healthcare workers, policy experts and people who want to join community support networks.

The event will be jointly hosted by the University and charity stressCare UK, and they aim to create a “welcoming, hospitable and informal atmosphere”.

Dr Anke Karl, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Exeter, said: “We believe this public engagement event is very timely, with a number of recent national policy and charity initiatives that emphasize the importance of support for mental health.”

Dr Karl said recovery from extreme stress and psychological trauma can be a “long and sometimes lonely process”.

“Research has shown how important social support from families, friends, work colleagues, neighbours can be in this recovery journey,” she said.

“Having a partner, family member or friend who suffers mental health problems as a consequence of extreme stress or psychological trauma can be emotionally demanding.

“Often people with lived experience and their partners or family members can feel socially isolated.”

Dr Karl said Saturday’s event will address questions such as: How can we reduce this isolation? How can we build sustainable, safe, evidence-based and meaningful peer support networks in the community?

Event organisers hope to gather people from a variety of backgrounds to explore the possibilities for building meaningful community networks, how to overcome possible barriers and how to empower individuals and their families in their recovery journey as a part of a supportive community network.

“Ultimately, we believe this information and these experiences will be important for policy makers,” Dr Karl added.

The event, which is free to attend, is entitled: “Building a community support network for recovery from extreme stress or psychological trauma.”

Anyone wishing to attend must register in advance. To do this or to find out more, visit, call Morgane Colleau on 01392 722149 or email

Date: 16 May 2017

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