In the lead up to World Psoriasis Day 2017, we hosted a free National Psoriasis Meet Up in the Tower Hotel Waterford on Saturday 21 October. Despite all weather warnings we had a super turn out with people travelling from all over the country.
The meeting was especially aimed at anyone with (or caring for someone with) psoriasis and was a great opportunity to meet others and hear from the experts.
Caroline Irwin, (ISF Board Member and patient advocate) welcomed guests to the meeting and the morning commenced with local Consultant Dermatologist Dr Michael O’Connell (University Hospital Waterford) who gave a really comprehensive presentation offering great insights and advice to all in attendance.
Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist Mary Dunphy (University Hospital Waterford) then took to the stage and gave a presentation on topical therapies with lots of great tips for psoriasis management.
Next to take to the stage was Dr Jennifer (Jenny) Wilson O’Raghallaigh (Principal Clinical Psychologist at Beaumont Hospital) and Caroline Irwin for an open panel session.
The session started with videos from the new “Say Something” Campaign which aims to help raise awareness, dispel myths and empower people with psoriasis to handle everyday situations that can be tricky for people living with the condition.
Jenny, who has spent time working closely with the dermatology team in Beaumont, talked about how everyday life can actually sometimes be quite hard to cope with and that one study has shown that at some point in our lives over 80% of us will experience distress to the point what we could benefit from talking to a psychologist – that’s without the burden of psoriasis!
Interestingly, Jenny went on to say that this shouldn’t alarm us, but should actually reassure us that nearly everyone finds their own particular burdens hard to carry at times. She went on to say that thinking about speaking with a mental health professional about how we feel isn’t something to be worried or ashamed about – instead it might help reset the cycle of behaviors and actions feeding into how we feel.
Caroline then shared her experience of living with psoriasis and the session concluded with a Q&A with the audience. The panel session was designed within the programme to allow guests on the day to speak freely in a comfortable environment. There was also quite of a few questions about communicating with your GP about psoriasis (more information available here).
With lots of new knowledge, guests were then invited for lunch as well as time with numerous exhibitors where they could find out a little more about new products available on the market. All full up, it was time to head into the final workshop of the afternoon.
Proving very popular was Trainee Education Manager with La Roche Posay, Janette Ryan who invited guests to sit in on a camouflage make- up demonstration where she explained and showed people how to apply make up for different occasions.
Throughout the day, Andrew McCann, author of “Know your Rights” was also on hand to meet one on one with guests answering questions and providing useful tips and advice on health entitlements and lots more.
On leaving the event, guests were given psoriasis booklets and reports and all that was left to do was face the wet journey home after a very informative and engaging day!
We would like to thank everyone who was involved in the day including speakers, exhibitors and sponsors (AbbVie and Novartis). We were delighted with the positive feedback and look forward to planning the next successful event.