Mental Health Awareness Week 2021: What, When & Which Speakers to Book?
A recent online poll conducted by YouGov, discovered that 74% of people in the UK have felt so stressed at work, they have been “overwhelmed or felt unable to cope”. This staggering statistic demonstrates just how prominent mental health issues are in modern society, as this study was the largest known stress study ever conducted in the UK, and the importance of Mental Health Awareness Week.
This week is a great opportunity for workplaces to shift their perspective of mental health, and value the power of wellbeing. Here at the Champions Speakers agency, we understand how important it is to support the mental health of all our employees. This includes wellbeing initiatives, such as monthly massages and free access to our on-site gym.
When is Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 & Why is it so important?
This years' Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, running from the 10th to the 16th of May, is centred around nature and the environment. Pioneered by the Mental Health Foundation, it is encouraging people to use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to get back out into nature, and use fresh air as a tool for better emotional wellbeing. A key focus this year is identifying the barriers that are preventing people from enjoying their natural environment, then supplying opportunities for people to embrace the British countryside.
As the pandemic has triggered distance and disconnection, online webinars have become essential for the world's wellbeing. With the power to reach audiences across continents, inspiring online speakers hold the key to igniting kindness within society. Take a look at some of the best mental health speakers available to book for your in-person or virtual event.
3 Inspiring Mental Health Stories
Personal stories of determination in the face of depression and anxiety, can be the inspiration people need to overcome hurdles in their own lives. A testament to the power of mental health speakers, below are three inspiring anecdotes from sporting stars, that show the importance of health over success, and calm during periods of high pressure.
The World Cup Winner Speaks Up About Anxiety
Jonny Wilkinson's hair-raising story is a fixture of the history books; however, his intense battle with anxiety was kept secret for a large portion of his career. A heroic sportsman, few could have predicted his struggles, such is the unrelenting nature of mental health - it can burden even the strongest of people. Showing an immense amount of bravery, Jonny later spoke candidly about his struggles on ITV’s This Morning, dismantling the negative stereotypes surrounding masculinity and mental health.
Jonny credits his strength to mental conditioning, a state of self that allowed him to manage the stress of his professional career. From flying high with the England Rugby Team, to suffering with anxiety and, following Jonny’s silent battle, coming out the other end, his story is truly inspiring. He is now a prominent mental health speaker, whose authenticity resonates with audiences, teaching them the essential strategies to managing high-pressure situations.
Iconic Olympic Champion Joins the Mental Health Minute Campaign
Jessica Ennis-Hill is an Olympic legend. As the poster athlete of the 2012 London Olympic Games, her gold medal is a testament to Jessica’s strength and determination. However, her career hasn’t always been podium finishes and cheering crowds, she has also been honest about the crushing pressure of competing and how she managed “mum guilt” as an athlete.
Recently, Jessica helped voice the first radio ad for Mental Health Awareness Week, alongside the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Lady Gaga, Dame Judi Dench and David Hill. The one-minute-long broadcast was played on all UK radio stations at 10:59 am, and racked up the biggest ever collective radio audience, helping to change the conversation and stigma attached to mental health. As a mental health speaker, Jessica conveys the same message, to change perceptions at events.
Former International Footballer Discusses His Struggles with Depression
“Don't suffer in silence” - The words of former England international, Premier League and Championship goalkeeper, Chris Kirkland. His message is clear, talking to someone can be the catalyst to changing one's life, and tackle the serious symptoms of mental health illnesses. Following his retirement, Chris opened up about how his depression made him feel “trapped, paralysed [and] desperate”, a sentiment felt by sufferers everywhere.
Now, Chris encourages people to value their mental health, and listen to their body when the professional pressure feels over overwhelming. He openly promotes the importance of reaching out for help, stating; "there was a fear. But as soon as you talk, that’s when you’re helping yourself and your family”. Taking to the speaking circuit, Chris’ story of bravery in the face of depression serves to inspire audience across the world.
Our Top Pick of Mental Health Speakers
One of the best ways to promote kindness is through an expert on mental health. Our inspiring speakers use their stories to inspire a new perspective, and instil strength in audiences. An event featuring one of our top mental health speakers casts positive ripples through their audience's lives, encouraging self-love.
Britain’s first openly gay rugby union player, Gareth Thomas, made history when he came out in 2009. The star was a huge success on the pitch, playing 100 times for his country, but off the pitch he suffered with mental health issues. Trying to hide his true sexuality, he got married in his teens and when he came out and got a divorce, he made several suicide attempts. Incredibly honest, Gareth opens up about his experiences at events, opening audience’s eyes.
Previous testimonials of Gareth's include:
"We all very much appreciated his kindness and honesty in sharing his journey with us. Gareth was a huge hit and we have received nothing but positive feedback about the evening from clients and staff alike."
- Stephenson Howard Law Firm
People within the LGBT community are at a greater risk of mental health problems, according to an online report . As a trans woman, Kellie Maloney has lived this statistic, and through her work as a diversity and inclusion speaker highlights the essential need for increased support. At events, she is able to give inspiring speeches about her own experiences as a trans woman, as well as her career in boxing.
Previous testimonials of Kellie's include:
“We have just finished working with Kellie on a large scale conference. The theme was around gender identity and stereotypes, and our audience was split between practitioners and members of the public. Kellie was an absolute joy to work with from the start. Kellie arrived early to conduct media interviews which she was incredibly professional at doing. Kellie spoke on a stage to 700 people for about 40minutes and absolutely captivated the audience throughout. I have had a lot of positive feedback since the event, all because of Kellie’s presentation, and the way she spoke about her personal experiences. Kellie has a true talent for public speaking, and is a great name to attract people to your event. My thanks also to team at Champions UK who were easy to work with, and always communicated with me promptly.”
- Safer Poole Partnership
One of England cricket’s greatest ever batsmen, Jonathan Trott, represented his country in the world’s biggest cricket events. This includes being a member of three back to back Ashes wins, but it was during the 2013/14 Ashes that he suffered his lowest point in cricket. In the middle of the series that saw England defeated by Australia, Jonathan suffered from anxiety so severe he flew home from the event, describing it as a “long-standing, stress-related condition". Through his speeches, Jonathan discusses this time in his life, and how he lives with anxiety.
Previous testimonials of Jonathan's include:
"Jonathan went down really well on Saturday, the room were really quiet and engaged!"
- Leicester Tigers
Ollie Ollerton gained several incredible skills and thrilling experiences from the Special Forces, including determination, mental resilience and leadership. However, coupled with the highs were also devastating lows, traumatic experiences that left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicidal thoughts. Ollie recounts the actionable strategies that he used to turn his mental health around, positively influencing audiences.
Previous testimonials of Ollie's include:
"Ollie was brilliant, his speech was insightful, motivating and relevant. We had really good feedback from those who attended and our Project Director was very impressed. A couple of people mentioned they wanted to ask a question during Q&A but they were a bit star-struck. And some have said they are going to buy his book, so clearly Ollie made quite an impact. Ollie was a pleasure to work with yesterday so please pass my thanks and feedback on to him. From myself, and on behalf of the LM Leadership, a massive thank you to Champions and Ollie."
- LM JV
DR CHRISTIAN JESSEN
Popular television presenter and respected doctor, Dr Christian Jessen, found fame on such shows as Embarrassing Bodies and Supersize vs Superskinny. While Christian was helping patients overcome their issues, he himself was struggling with body dysmorphia and depression. When booked for events as a celebrity mental health speaker, he takes audiences on an inspiring journey of recovery, proving that mental strength is possible with professional help.
Previous testimonials of Dr. Jessen's include:
“You were fantastic to work with and we were very happy with Dr Christian.”
Samantha Clarke is an authority on workplace culture and employee happiness. She tours the speaking circuit sharing her wisdom, encouraging business leaders and managers to value the importance of their teams' wellbeing above all else. Samantha believes that the key to business success is an environment that promotes innovation, not judgement, support not criticism; a belief that has made her one of the best workplace wellbeing speakers available to book.
Previous testimonials of Samantha's include:
"It was very obvious that Samantha loves what she does and cares about helping people. She genuinely cared about the problem we were having on our team and thought very critically about what could be done to help solve it. We appreciate Samantha’s hard work and dedication. She is a very talented woman and I, and my team, enjoyed working with her"
- Shopify Studio Team
Widely regarded as one of Britain’s Brainiest Footballers, Clarke Carlisle is a vocal advocate for positive mental health and inclusion within sport. Having appeared in the documentary, Is Football Racist?, he bravely takes to the speaking circuit to showcase the mental strength he needed to recover from a suicide attempt. Clarke can connect with audiences on a personal level, to make a life-changing impression.
Previous testimonials of Clarke's include:
"Absolutely amazing! They were fantastic and surpassed all our expectations. The event went even better than we could ever have hoped for. Thank you for all of your help."
- South East Water
DR BRENÉ BROWN
Best-selling author and emotional intelligence expert, Dr Brené Brown, has dedicated her career to the study of human emotion; shame, courage and vulnerability to name a few. Her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, has been viewed over 50 million times, a testament to Brené's popularity as a speaker. When booked for events, she provides audiences with empathetic and scientific analysis of mental health.
Dr. Brown's speaking topics include:
Dare to Lead
Braving the Wilderness
The Courage to Stand Alone
The Quest for True Belonging
Though Marcus Trescothick thrived as part of one of the most successful teams in cricket history, the pressure of performing at such an elite level eventually took its toll. He discusses with audiences his experience of depression and anxiety as a sports mental health speaker, offering a thought-provoking perspective on pressure, mental resilience and self-belief.
Previous testimonials of Marcus' include:
"Marcus was also great, to have someone speak so candidly about their anxiety and how they cope with it was super refreshing – and I must say I’ve never seen the Hg audience so engaged. So a big thank you to him too."
After falling victim to an acid attack, Katie Piper's life was turned upside down. As a former model, she was forced to redefine her perspective of beauty, an experience that she shares with audiences. Katie now encourages people to address their own idea of beauty, promoting body positivity through her inspiring story of resilience.
Katie's speaking topics include:
Michelle Elman is a body positivity advocate and influential TED Talk speaker. As a life coach with Mindset for Life, she has developed several campaigns like Scarred not Scared, that have helped thousands of people to love their bodies. Through social media, publications and her speaking arrangements, Michelle is on the frontline of the battle for body positivity.
Previous testimonials of Michelle's include:
“Michelle was invited to speak about Battling Body Image and Surviving with Scars at our Find Your Sense of Tumour Weekend for young people who have or had cancer . Body Image is an important issue for our young people and Michelle provided some fantastic guidance and insights and really resonated with the audience. We are hoping she will come again!”
Champions does not speak for or claim to represent all the individuals listed on this website as the exclusive booking agent or agency unless specifically stated. Acts listed on this site are for informational purposes only.