The contribution of patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) in the Primary Care Mental Health conference, May 2021

Online conference

On Wednesday 26th May 2021, the Universities of York, Bristol and Keele came together virtually for this year's Primary Care Mental Health Conference via Zoom. The conference was supported by SPAC MH Special Interest Group ( We kicked off with an introduction from Professor Simon Gilbody, who outlined the theme of the conference, "Mental Health: Person and Place" and the format of the day, which was to consist of two key note speakers and 27 three-minute "elevator pitches" from clinical academics and early career researchers summarising their work.

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The 3-minute presentation format required all presenters to condense very complicated research into clear and concise presentations, strictly timed by the chair! The morning session began with elevator pitches under the first sub-theme "Wellbeing and Self Care" and audience members observed 10 pitches in including "Improving Oral Health in People with Severe Mental Illness": a systematic review presented by Masuma Mishu, and "How do Men of South Asian Origin with Long Term Physical Conditions Understand, Experience and Seek Help for Emotional Distress": a qualitative study presented by Hassan Awan.

The keynote speakers for the day were Joseph Firth ( who discussed "Behavioural Health and Lifestyle Factors in the Prevention and Treatment of Mental Illness", and Joana Cruz (, who described "The Effect of the Environment on Serious Mental Illness".


And finally….

The day concluded with an "Ask the Editor" session with Euan Lawson, editor of The British Journal of General Practice (BJGP). Professor Simon Gilbody brought the conference to a close by thanking all involved and presenting prizes to the best presentations of the day for Early Career Researchers (ECRs). The presentations were judged by two Patient and Public Involvement Advisory Group members from the York MODS/BASIL team ( against the following criteria: Appeal of Slide, Clarity of Key Message and Importance to Primary Care Mental Health. 

We were so pleased to be awarded prizes: Leanne Shearsmith for her presentation "BASIL: A Psychosocial Intervention to Mitigate Depression and Loneliness in Older Adults with Long Term Conditions During the Covid 19 Pandemic"; and Andrew Henry/Margaret Ogden, a PPIE advisory group member for the BASIL study ( for their joint presentation "Delivering Research, Through a PPI Lens".

Margaret Ogden (MODS/BASIL Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Advisory Group Member) reflected: "I felt well prepared for the event after several team meetings had taken place in the lead up to the conference. The tone of the event was friendly though fast moving. Even though my section of the pitch was limited to 30 seconds, the preparation regarding content and timing was quite intense and needed to be thorough. This wasn’t an occasion when it would be OK to hesitate or worse still, to completely dry up. Rapid delivery was needed to maximise impact and keep to the timetable. Yet on the day, our allotted slot went without a hitch. The facilitator seemed pleased that a PPI member had attended and contributed. It was a valuable experience and one I won’t forget."