Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

Professor Cherie Armour is the Professor of Psychological Trauma & Mental Health, School of Psychology, Queens University, Belfast. Professor Armour has a strong research portfolio in the field of mental health sciences and to date has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications in world leading Psychology and Psychiatry journals. Most of these publications focus on a sub-field of Psychology termed Psychotraumatology which assesses key pre-, peri-, and post- trauma factors related to mental health outcomes. Professor Armour is also particularly interested in the classification of psychiatric diagnoses in psychiatric diagnostic manuals such as the ICD and the DSM. In addition to this, Professor Armour applies advanced statistical methodologies to answer a wide range of research hypotheses; recently Cherie has been exploring the use of network analyses. Other research interests include the impact of trauma on specific populations such as maltreated children, victims of interpersonal violence, and special occupational groups with increased risk of traumatic exposures. Professor Armour has been involved in the acquisition of over £5.7 million pounds in research funding from prestigious sources such as research councils, Ministry of Defence, and the European Commission. A large programme level grant currently underway is the Northern Ireland Veterans Health and Well-being study (NIVHWS) on which Cherie is the principal investigator.  Professor Armour regularly supervises postdoctoral researchers and PhD students in the field of Psychotraumatology and mental health sciences. Title of her presentation is Advances in the Nosology of PTSD in diagnostic classifications systems; DSM & ICD.

Alf Rehn, Professor of Innovation, Design, and Management at the University of Southern Denmark, sits on numerous boards of directors, and is in addition a bestselling author and a strategic advisor for everything from hot new startups to Fortune 500-companies. In 2016, Thinkers50, the pre-eminent listing of management thinkers, included Alf Rehn on their Guru Radar, a list of “the 30 management thinkers most likely to shape the future”. He is recognized as a global thought-leader in innovation and creativity, has been profiled in international media (including, but not limited to, Italian fashion magazines and Brazilian arts journals), and is coming up to his 1000th keynote. Currently, Alf distributes his time between academic work, corporate advisory, keynote speaking and his lifelong love of trashy popular culture. His academic work focuses on issues of power, exclusion, creativity and innovation, and often builds on counter-intuitive analyses of core assumptions within management thinking. As a strategic advisor, Alf’s roles have included (but haven’t been limited to) being the chairman of an international advertising agency, sitting on the board of directors of a billion-dollar corporation, and advising an artisanal and prize-winning distillery. As a speaker, Alf is known for his entertaining yet challenging keynotes and workshops, as well as for being one of the consistently best-rated speakers at any event he appears at.  Title of his presentation is: Mental Health and the Contemporary Corporation – Remarks on Human Organizations and the Resources of the Mind.

Anssi Leikola, Carita Kilpinen and Mai Peltoniemi, Finland. The Peaceful Impact Movement: Creating Sustainable Psychiatry

In order to create sustainable psychiatry, we first need to understand emotional trauma and structural dissociation and how they affect human life.

Anssi Leikola, Psychiatrist, therapist, author and trauma survivor. Anssi Leikola is a psychiatrist devoted to the treatment of emotional trauma, i.e. various dissociative disorders. For a long time, he has also been striving to find theoretical understanding of trauma, or the logic behind dissociative disorders. How can they be understood effectively and treated in a holistic way? How to provide sufficiently individualized treatment? Learning to apply the theory of trauma into practice will be a lifelong journey for anyone, especially for all of those working with traumatized individuals. Anssi possesses long experience of working with dissociative patients, both as a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. In recent years, he has also been training advanced-level psychotherapists and leading supervisory groups. Anssi has written a lot about the subject, including the preface and epilogue of the English book Five Survivors, a Hundred Lives – Stories about Trauma and Dissociation. Anssi is also featuring in the short Documentary about Trauma and Dissociation. ”By spotlighting the problem concerning the theoretical foundations of psychiatry, I am providing people with tenable hope – hope of better treatment, better psychotherapy, better realization of human rights, better life. Reclaiming these promises is the mission of sustainable psychiatry.”

Carita Kilpinen, Entrepeneur, graphic designer & trauma survivor. Carita is a mother of two and CEO of Peaceful Impact Publisher Oy. She considers herself fortunate in many respects, most importantly due to her personal path of treatment and recovery from a trauma induced dissociative disorder but also having to encounter a less unfortunate case in her closest circle. Carita got into proper trauma psychotherapy at the verge of adulthood, her treatment was not centered on pharmacotherapy and diagnosis. Later, as the question of diagnosis emerged, being diagnosed with DID was serving her rehabilitation. Carita is one of the authors in the English book Five Survivors, a Hundred Lives – Stories about Trauma and Dissociation. Carita is also featuring in the short Documentary about Trauma and Dissociation.


Mai Peltoniemi, Master of Social Services, community coach, experiential researcher, trainer, neuropsychiatric coach. Mai is a social work professional, a brave fighter of taboos and stigma, and a highly skilled, inspiring trainer. Combining expertise and experiential knowledge, Mai is reviewing the conventional roles and relationships within the field of healthcare and social work in a refreshing way. Insight and expertise in addictions and trauma are of great advantage in almost all social and healthcare services. For effective treatment and successful recovery, it is essential to recognize traumatization as well as have profound understanding of the effects of traumatization and the logic of structural dissociation of the personality. Understanding and appropriate information allow quality professional-client encounters, resulting in successful outcomes and work satisfaction. Mai has been developing a model of therapeutic community for addictions, improving the effectiveness of treatment and producing success stories in drug addiction recovery. Successful outcomes with the challenging client group are linked to the understanding and treatment of early traumatization as an underlying factor in drug addiction. Safe and equal professional-client encounters provide restitutive experiences that are essential for successful drug rehabilitation. Mai’s theoretical specialization involves the methodology of critical social work. Her personal studies combine expertise and experiential knowledge, drug addiction and emotional trauma, and social work and psychotherapy.

Peter McBride is the Group Chief Executive of Inspire.  Inspire is one of the largest providers of community based mental health and learning disability services across the island of Ireland, it also provides workplace wellbeing and addiction services, and is at the forefront  of challenging stigma and discrimination in public and political life.  Peter has been CEO of Inspire for the past 10 years, and has grown and developed the organisation significantly diversifying the service offerings, and developing nationwide coverage.  Peter is a well-known commentator on mental health issues, specifically mental health in post conflict societies and mental health in the workplace.  Peter is a fellow in residence with the Auschwitz Institute for peace and reconciliation teaching on their Raphael Lemkin Seminar for Genocide Prevention series.  He is the Chair of NICVA (The NI Council for Voluntary Action), and is a Trustee of the UK Charity BBC Children In Need where he chairs Million & Me, a UK wide initiative to improve the mental health of children and young people.  People has been involved with the victims and survivors sector in NI for the past 20 years, specifically in relation to developing the understanding of the impact of trauma on individuals and communities, he was also the chair of the Make It Work campaign – a civil society initiative to support and encourage the political process in NI.

Shanti Das is an accomplished entertainment industry veteran, speaker, author, and Philanthropist. Shanti has worked in the entertainment business for over 25 years. Her music industry career (from intern to Executive Vice President) includes positions at Capitol Records, LaFace Records, Columbia Records, Sony Urban Music and Universal Motown where she worked directly with some of music’s top talent like OutKast, Usher, Prince, TLC, Toni Braxton, Erykah Badu, and more.

An advocate for many social issues, she started several successful initiatives and events in the Atlanta to support the local homeless community and those in underserved areas.As a result of Shanti’s community work for the past 8 years, she decided to establish her very own nonprofit, The Hip-Hop Professional Foundation, Inc. The foundation is now being rebranded under the name Silence the Shame, the mental health movement that has lead the way since 2016.

Shanti has suffered from depression over the years and has also experienced love ones affected with mental health disorders. The movement has received global awareness and has become a commonly used hashtag to normalize the conversation in America. Shanti’s foundation curates community conversations, creates content and broadens awareness around mental health and wellness.

She recently self-published her book, Silencing MY Shame. Shanti shares her journey with her own emotional health and wellness of how she turned her pain and struggles into passion to start a global movement! She was also recently named a Top Changemaker in the World (#7 out of 100) by a UK publication called The Big Issue! Title of her presentation is: Erasing the Stigma of Mental Health: My Journey to Healing.