Keynote speakers

Helen Killaspy is Professor and Honorary Consultant in Rehabilitation Psychiatry at University College London and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust in the UK. She leads national and international programmes of research that focus on the assessment of quality of care for people with complex mental health problems and the evaluation of complex interventions for this group. She is the National Professional Adviser for mental health rehabilitation services for the hospital registration authority in England and Wales, the Care Quality Commission. She is a former Chair of the Faculty of Rehabilitation and Social Psychiatry of the UK Royal College of Psychiatrists and Topic Advisor for the first NICE Guideline on mental health rehabilitation. Title of her speech is Addressing the marginalisation of people with complex mental health needs.


Dr Líam Mac Gabhann, Ireland. Líam is a mental health practitioner, counsellor and community activist. Along with a wide group of colleagues my main programme of research focuses on `Transforming Dialogues in Mental Health Communities`. Much of this work centres around people reconciling their own experiences, perceptions and practices with other people/groups associated with mental health and using different approaches to improve these at individual, group, organisational and community level. Examples of relevant areas include; where people have extraordinary experiences and beliefs; when people are disenfranchised by society and community; and in the area of Trauma and responses to traumatic events. Approaches include cooperative learning, participative action, open dialogue, community development and systemic family constellations work. Some relevant recent developments I have been involved with include; a broadening of the Trialogue community in Ireland; developing a community based Recovery College; enhancing public and patient involvement in health and social care research; developing Dual Diagnosis services; and developing the role and educational pathway for Peer Support Working in mental health.


Adam Christoferson, USA. Adam is the founder and director of Musical Intervention (MI), a clinical and community-based music program striving to promote empathy, transform lives, and inspire the world one song at a time. Adam’s unwavering mission to share the transformative power of music stems from being raised and witnessing those closest to him struggle with schizophrenia and substance abuse. It was within the chaos where Adam discovered the solace that creating music provides.

Adam received a degree in Recreation and Leisure studies at Southern Connecticut State University and worked at Yale Child Psychiatric Inpatient Service. During this time, Adam facilitated songwriting and recording groups with patients. This work was featured at the World Congress of Adolescence and Psychiatry in Beijing, China, 2010. Adam started independently contracting his program with various human service organizations, subsequently, MI was born. During a funded community project, Adam hosted open mics at a soup kitchen. He was both inspired by the talent and saddened by the lack of opportunities to safely collaborate, perform, and share experience on a consistent basis. With the help of Project Storefront, MI Headquarters opened a drug and alcohol-free storefront studio and community space in New Haven, Connecticut in 2016.

Adam is a co-founder of Music Beyond All Borders, a collective of musicians who are also clinicians, facilitators, and innovators in the field of recovery from all over the globe. Adam currently sits on the Citizens Community Collaborative (CCC) aiming to help those with mental illness and addiction engage with their rights, responsibilities, roles, resources, and relationships in society.

MI has earned the Arts Council of Greater New Haven’s award for its contribution to the creative business ecosystem and received press coverage on this unique program. This recognition of MI culminated in a collaboration with Yale University’s Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH), Connecticut Mental Health Center, and Dr. Philip Corlett of the Belief, Learning, and Memory Lab. This collaboration was awarded a research grant from the National Institute of Health to measure the effects of the Musical Intervention program on symptoms of auditory hallucinations.


Meri Larivaara is Senior Adviser at MIELI Mental Health Finland, the oldest mental health non-profit organisation in the world. Meri is a medical doctor with a specialist degree in health care and a cultural anthropologist. She holds a Doctoral degree in Medical Science. Her work centres around mental health promotion and advocacy. She is a Board Member of Mental Health Europe. She was a member of the secretariat of the specialist group that prepared the National Mental Health Strategy 2020–2030 in Finland. She has previously worked as a civil servant at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland and as a Development Manager at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). She has worked as a physician in adolescent psychiatry, adolescent substance abuse services, and school health care.