Stronger Bridges Safe Harbours - RANZCP 2022 Congress



On behalf of the Organising Committee, it is my pleasure to invite you to join us at the RANZCP Congress in Sydney from 15-19 May 2022, organised on the theme of 
‘stronger bridges, safer harbours’, and the interlinked concepts of connection, inclusion and creativity.

Our theme of course takes its inspiration from Sydney’s wonderful physical setting. Stronger bridges refers to improving connections at every level from the molecular to the global, but especially between people in light of the accumulating evidence that physical and emotional isolation are powerful barriers to mental health. Safer harbours denotes inclusion, the need for psychiatry to work harder to meet the needs of groups on the margins of social, political and economic life, groups such as Indigenous Australians and New Zealanders, refugees, members of sexual and gender minorities, people experiencing family and intimate partner violence, people with disabilities, the poor, the very young and the very old. We will celebrate innovations in engagement and service provision in all these areas.

As well as connection and inclusion, our Congress will highlight creativity in all its forms, as sword and shield for those living with mental illness, in the promotion of health care and among researchers and clinicians in the field. Our profession battles the darkest emanations of the human imagination, so it is only fair that we celebrate its most light-filled and joyous creations too.

Not content to merely display its intemperate beauty, Sydney has a remarkable history as the oldest and largest city in Australia. Home to the Eora and Darug people for at least 50,000 years, it was also the first site of European settlement and of Australia’s first psychiatric hospital, at Castle Hill in 1811, of whose residents it was optimistically said that “every provision that humanity could suggest has been made for their accommodation and comfort”. Of course, good intentions, lofty sentiments and exaggerated claims of beneficence have remained characteristics of mental health care in the intervening two hundred-odd years. There is still a long way to go to even partially realise these aims, a journey that will be minutely examined at our Congress.

I extend an especially warm welcome to Congress first-timers, medical students and early-career doctors considering psychiatry. Our program is designed to give you a kaleidoscopic view of our utterly fascinating profession, the most humanities-oriented of the medical specialities. You will be inspired by the passion and dedication of clinicians, researchers, teachers and service developers working at the forefront of their fields to alleviate suffering. You will hear experts from around the world. You will see the exciting promise of new treatment modalities along with the work being done to ensure equitable access for all to good clinical care, and the many thorny ethical and clinical debates at both the biomedical and sociocultural margins of our field, boundaries that are fluid and hotly contended.

In addition to an absurdly stimulating academic program, the Congress will offer wonderful opportunities to catch up, network, meet old friends and make new ones. The many attractions of Sydney encompassing nature, culture and history will be available to enjoy and explore.

In summary, this Congress will be sensational. I look forward to you joining us.

Dr Ralf Ilchef
RANZCP 2022 Congress Convenor