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. This keynote presentation will focus on the classification of PTSD in diagnostic manuals. Professor Armour will present on differing classification systems and their approach to psychiatric nosology. Professor Armour will then discuss her research as it relates to the symptoms and structure of PTSD explaining why understanding this is important to diagnoses. This will be followed by a presentation of research focused on the new DSM-5 dissociative PTSD subtype and the ICD-11s Complex-PTSD category. Finally, Professor Armour will discuss a new approach to understanding PTSD through the use of network analyses; an approach which moves away from the latent construct perspective of psychiatric disorders whereby each symptom equally reflects an overarching diagnosis to one in which the symptoms and their relations with each other are examined to ascertain which may be core features of PTSD and may drive the course of PTSD and be key targets for treatment efficacy.

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. Management, as a practice and as a field of study, does not have a great track record when it comes to mental health. Even if we disregard notions that management is either bolstered by mental illness (such as when we study narcissism and psychopathy among executives) or the direct cause of it, the tendency in much of the management discussion is to ignore or downplay issues such as stress, addictions, depression, and anxiety in the workplace. As we are now moving into an era of increasing automation, with the attendant increased importance of well-functioning human faculties (such as creativity and empathy) in the workplace, this “management myopia” is a critical problem. What is needed then, for a new age of human and humane organizations, is a re-imagining of the role of good mental health in the workplace. In this keynote, professor Alf Rehn discusses the need to develop new models and tools for management, in order to realize human potential in our organizations. Touching upon notions such as innovation stress and fatigue, the cognitive surplus of corporations, and the role of positive micro behaviors in creating sound organizational cultures, the keynote argues for a more critical stance to contemporary management and its approach to mental health.

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.

Carita Kilpinen, Entrepreneur, graphic designer & trauma survivor.

Carita is a mother of two and the Operating Partner of Peaceful Impact Publisher. 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, and 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 shortDocumentary about Trauma and Dissociation.


Mai Peltoniemi, Master of Social Services, experiential researcher, President of the Finnish Association for Trauma and Dissociation.

Mai is a social work professional, a brave fighter of taboos and stigma. Combining expertise and experiential knowledge, she is reviewing the conventional roles and relationships within the field of healthcare and social work in a refreshing way. Mai has been developing a model of therapeutic community for addicts, improving the effectiveness of treatment and producing success stories in drug addiction recovery. 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. The consequences of emotional trauma affect us professionals as they do our clients. The unnecessary hierarchies that often still exist in the mental health care systems should be dispersed. We can meet each other openly and with compassion. The knowledge and understanding of the theories about emotional trauma and structural dissociation can help us do that. Mai has authored an autoetnography about her recovery from emotional trau


Peter McBride 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.

Title of his speech is “Prepared for peace, ready for war”. If you walk down a particular road in Belfast, there is a mural painted on the gable wall of a house that says “Prepared for peace, ready for war”.  It is a stark reminder of the historical context in which many people in modern Northern Ireland feel themselves to be living – with a cautious eye to the future, and a vivid memory of the past.  After 30 years of violence, the full scale of the mental health consequences of “the troubles” in Northern Ireland continues to unfold.  There are the very visible victims and survivors of the violence, active members of society living with both visible and invisible wounds; there is the significant mental health crisis with rising suicide rates and rates of mental illness; and then there are the less tangible psychological consequences of violence, communities that have been affected by trauma, and whose world view and experiences are deeply influenced by their group experiences of violence.  Why is this important?  Because the very attributes that are required to make a “meaningful peace”, can be the ones that are most compromised by the experience of traumatic violence, and when we face the possibility that this is communicated generation to generation, we can see the urgent need to take action.  In his presentation Peter McBride discusses the mechanisms by which the psychological impact of traumatic violence can become “contained” by communities, and the impact this has on their ability to “make peace”, and the challenges involved in providing support and moving forward.

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.