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Norfolk psychologist and veteran both speak at ‘the Woodstock of the mind’

PUBLISHED: 10:46 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 10:46 31 May 2018

Dr Kingerlee (left) with Luke Woodley. Photo: Sue Wright/Walnut Tree Health and Wellbeing

Dr Kingerlee (left) with Luke Woodley. Photo: Sue Wright/Walnut Tree Health and Wellbeing

Sue Wright/Walnut Tree Health and Wellbeing

A consultant clinical psychologist from the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) has spoken at one of the world’s top literary festivals on the subject of men and suicide.

Dr Roger Kingerlee was one of the speakers along with his colleague, former Coldstream Guard Luke Woodley from Costessey, Norwich, who developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving under the United Nations in Bosnia in 1993.

They took part in a chaired discussion called Men and Suicide: Making Sense and Building Resilience at the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts, an annual festival which takes place at Hay-on-Wye in Powys on the Wales/England border, described by Bill Clinton in 2001 as “the Woodstock of the mind”.

The pair work together with John King, NSFT’s mindfulness trainer and practitioner, on the Veterans’ Stabilisation Programme which aims to provide veterans with the discipline and skills to better manage life, day-to-day.

Dr Kingerlee said: “The aim of the discussion was to help the public understand why there is often a reluctance among men to seek help and to look at potential solutions and the benefits of close partnership working for the benefit of local communities.

“Currently, national statistics show men are three times more likely to take their lives than women, particularly those in the 45 to 59 age group.

“In many ways, what we are doing in Norfolk – working systematically in this area – puts us in a strong position nationally.

“All 60 tickets sold out some time ago and, with mental health high on the national agenda, it’s likely that had more space been available, it would have been filled.”

The focus of the discussion was why men might be vulnerable and how communities might rise to the challenge of male suicide.

Other speakers at the festival this year, which ends on Sunday, include historians David Olusoga and Simon Schama, writer Margaret Attwood and Matt Hancock MP

Mr Woodley founded the Walnut Tree Health and Wellbeing organisation, a community interest company based in Wymondham, which – working hand-in-hand with the local NHS – offers veterans a non-medical front door through which people can access help.

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