Last July my colleague Jess wrote a blog about mental health and wellbeing conference speakers as it was a developing topic for us. The interest in conference speakers on mental health who can share their experiences of mental illness has remained a popular topic for us here at JLA. In preparation for Mental Health Awareness Week (coming up this month), here are some more conference speakers we work with who can speak about mental health:
One of the most loved referees in Rugby Union, Nigel is a candid spokesperson on the struggles of mental illness. Having suffered from depression and bulimia as a result of keeping his sexuality hidden in his youth, Nigel is a frank champion of open communication. He suggests supporting those in need of help by always keeping an eye out for changes in behaviour and lending an ear to someone who needs to talk. Heart-wrenching and inspirational in equal measure, Nigel’s story doesn’t fail to move.
A double gold Olympic medallist, Kelly has spoken about how she self-harmed at the peak of her athletics career as a result of her depression and the pressures she felt as a result of her sporting injuries. She wants her fans to see athletes as ‘real people’ who are just as likely (if not more) to suffer from a mental illness. She also encourages others in the spotlight to speak out about their experiences and serve as role models, especially for younger people.
Comedian and entertainer Felicity Ward has made a name for herself on the comedy circuit with her openness of her struggle with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. While she reflects that she’s been anxious since her childhood, it wasn’t until Ward was performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2010 and suffered from panic attacks that she sought out a diagnosis. She detailed this in her documentary made for Australian television ‘Felicity’s Mental Mission’. Felicity has also joined the ranks of conference speakers who speak on their experiences of mental illness.
Clinical Psychologist and author of ‘Affluenza’, Oliver speaks about the pressures of modern society and the impact it has on mental health and wellbeing. Oliver has also presented several programs for television on mental health in modern Britain and is a regular contributor to print media on the subject.