Advantage Group

3rd International Conference on Youth Mental Health

The 3rd International Conference on Youth Mental Health (IAYMH 2015) was hosted by the International Association of Youth Mental Health in partnership with the Graham Boeckh Foundation GBF and McGill University’s Douglas Institute in Association with the Access Network and the University of Montreal and took place from them 8th-10th October in Montreal, Canada.

Split between two venues, the Place des Arts and the Hyatt Regency hotel, the conference attracted 550 international delegates, the largest recorded delegate attendance to date. The conference theme was “Transformations: Next Generation Youth Mental Health” and it was clear that engagement, integration and interaction between delegates was a requirement from the client.

Five pre conference workshops took place in the Hyatt Regency on 8th October, each with a number of speakers providing insight into important topics surrounding the area of youth mental health. Delegates then had an opportunity to catch up with each other during the relaxed and informal welcome reception.

The two day conference programme consisted of three main plenaries at the Place des Arts and up to 21 concurrent sessions split across three floors in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The exhibition took place in the Place des Arts and delegates were invited to visit stands during tea and coffee breaks. Up 150 abstracts were selected as posters and we displayed in the Place des Arts. Posters were divided into streams and poster tours took place during lunch both days.

We launched the conference app a week in advance and it was hugely successful with over 50% of attendees downloading and actively using it every day. The app provided a chat function for delegates to arrange informal meet ups or discussions. Social media played a huge role during the conference with Twitter being used as the main online platform. Many delegates engaged and connected with eachother then shared their experience online and we were successful in getting the official conference hashtag trending. All tweets were displayed on a live Twitter Wall during the main plenaries. Sli.do was used to enhance delegate engagement as an alternative for the standard Q&A format. Delegates could ask a question directly to speakers onstage using the software via the conference app, the question was then displayed on screen. The “Chill-Out Area” was a big hit with the younger delegates and provided them with a relaxed area where they could sit and chat or reflect on the sessions and presentations. The area was designed to make it feel like you weren’t sitting in a conference centre and provided sensory stimulating items for expression of emotion.

On behalf of the IAYMH Executive I would like to give a huge thank you to Ronan and the team at Advantage who helped make IAYMH 2015 a huge success, with over 600 delegates from 26 countries in attendance. Given the success of our first conference abroad in 2013, we had no hesitation in asking Advantage to become our core PCO to facilitate our conferences into the future. The IAYMH conference draws a diverse group of participants thus requiring many facets of conference management that go above and beyond what may be required for more routine events. The team at Advantage were able to manage all facets of our event from abstract submissions, light entertainment, political appearances and a dance troupe! The teams professional approach throughout the event was highly valued and appreciated by all in attendance and was noted in feedback received by conference delegates. As our event goes from strength to strength, we are supremely confident in the knowledge that the team from Advantage are capable of anticipating our every need and respond appropriately to the logistical challenges thrown up by our diverse member base. We look forward to a continued partnership with Advantage into the future and have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them to meet the varied needs of organisations and associations looking to engage a truly professional team. Craig Hodges, Secretary IAYMH

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