One in four people throughout the UK will have a mental health problem at some point in their life.
Mental Health Awareness Week takes place annually, each May, and is an opportunity to raise the profile of the work being done to tackle mental illness.
When booking our mental health awareness speakers, businesses are better able to understand and recognise the impact that the workplace can have on their employees. As a result, organisations are finding ways to promote positive mental health, and help individuals who may be struggling.
Mental health is about how we think, feel and behave
Anxiety and depression are the most common forms of mental illness; often the reaction to a difficult, traumatic or life-changing event, such as bereavement, but can equally be caused by work-related issues. In fact, sometimes it’s the workplace itself that is a catalyst for causing someone’s poor mental health.
The main contributing factors causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety are workload pressures, including tight deadlines, too much work or too much pressure and responsibility. Other triggers include a lack of managerial support, organisational changes at work, violence, bullying and lack of clarity or uncertainty about the job.
Throughout Mental Health Awareness Week we are encouraged to show our support, raise awareness of mental health and share our own experiences. As an employer, you can help manage and prevent stress by improving conditions in the workplace; you also have an important role in making adjustments and helping someone manage a mental health problem at work.
Speakers who are talking openly about their mental health
There is still a huge stigma attached to mental health that prevents people from asking for help or even just talking about it. Many believe, incorrectly, it's a personal or private issue and therefore isn’t a discussion for the workplace.
To promote positive conversation around mental health issues, we have compiled a shortlist featuring five of our most sought-after and prominent mental health keynote speakers who are keen to engage with your business or organisation. You can also view a full range of our mental health speakers by clicking here.
1. Bryony Gordon - changing the conversation
The Telegraph columnist, podcaster and author of 'Mad Girl', Bryony Gordon speaks regularly to businesses and institutions about changing the conversation on mental health. Bryony has OCD and over the years has suffered from depression, bulimia and drug dependency.
She touches on her own experiences to help navigate the issues around mental health and is the founder of Mental Health Mates charity, providing a safe place for people to come together and connect without fear or judgement.
2. Reverend Richard Coles - the madness of grief
As one-half of 80s synth-pop music band the Communards, former musician turned-vicar, Reverend Richard Coles, credits a mental health hospital for saving his life in the 1970s, at 17 years old, when he was diagnosed with clinical depression.
Richard speaks openly, passionately and honestly, and relates his own mental health experiences of coming to terms with his sexuality “as a gay man in Kettering in 1978”, losing many of his close friends to the HIV epidemic in the 1980s, and more recently, coping with further grief through the loss of his partner, David, to alcoholism, aged just 42 in December 2019, a week prior to Christmas.
3. Nick Leeson - it's okay to fail, sometimes
Nick Leeson is the original ‘rogue trader’ responsible for the collapse of Barings Bank in 1995. Nick struggled severely with his mental health throughout his time at Barings, but it wasn’t recognised, and the culture at that time didn’t provide an outlet where you could raise any concerns or issues.
“At the time, had I the ability to communicate better, my life story could have, should have, would have, been very different”— Nick Leeson.
Nick’s coping mechanism was a lifestyle of excess. This, paired with the stress of the gigantic financial losses, four-and-a-half years incarcerated in a Singaporean jail and divorce from his then-wife Lisa, led Leeson to contract cancer of the colon. And whilst in prison, his contemplation of suicide was very real.
Nick Leeson's story is a valuable example of how seriously mental health should be taken. Not only is a culture of openness and transparency important, but also the message that it’s okay to fail, sometimes.
4. Nigel Owens - accepting who we are
The first professional rugby referee to come out as gay, the legendary Nigel Owens struggled to come to terms with his sexuality, triggering serious problems with his mental health as a young man, including bouts of bulimia and a suicide attempt.
He is regularly booked to give motivational keynote speeches about LGBTQ+ themes and the importance of open dialogue and conversation around mental health. Accepting who he is, was the biggest challenge of Nigel's life.
5. SK Shlomo - you are NOT worthless
Sk Shlomo is a Guinness World Record-breaking beatboxer and music producer who's collaborated with the likes of Bjork, Damon Albarn, Martha Wainwright, Basement Jaxx and regularly headlines music festivals such as Glastonbury.
He always strived to do everything differently and create his own unique path; for over a decade, the genre-defying artist has set new standards for his craft. However, Shlomo realised that the biggest challenge of all was to stand on stage and simply be himself. Despite all his successes, stripping away the facade, he felt empty inside.
In an emotional, inspiring and humbling motivational talk, SK Shlomo encourages talking, sharing and losing the stigma attached to men who are struggling with their own mental health demons and have feelings of emptiness or worthlessness.
At NMP Live we are passionate about helping to create a world where mental illnesses are understood, effectively treated and one day made preventable.