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Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week aims to tackle stigma and help people understand and prioritise both their own and others’ mental health. It began 27 years ago and each year, advocates a different associated issue. Following last year’s theme of loneliness, this year the focus is on anxiety. Taking place on the 15th – 21st May 2023, now is the perfect time to secure one of our leading mental health speakers to help show your support at your next event.

Benny Lawrence
18 Mar 2024
Awareness Days

From reality stars to sportspeople, expert psychologists, and first-hand trauma survivors, we have a diverse range of speakers to suit you. If you’re looking to show your support and better understand your employees and teammates, look no further than the speakers we have at Evolve. Have a read of some of our top speakers below and for more information visit our website or contact one of our friendly team of agents today.

Dr Alex George

Dr Alex George

From Love Island heartthrob to one of the UK’s most inspirational mental health advocates, Dr Alex George is both a practicing doctor and reality TV star.

Following his rise to fame on Love Island in 2018, Alex returned to his day job as a general practitioner. Having tragically lost his brother to suicide in July 2020, he spearheaded a campaign that requested the UK Government to prioritise the mental health of children and young people during the pandemic. This dramatically impressed and in 2021, he met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who gave him the newly formed position of UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador. He now works directly with the Government to tackle the issue, and frequently appears on the likes of This Morning, Loose Women and Good Morning Britain as a mental health expert. As a big name amongst younger generations, he uses his large social media following to champion mental health causes, and has been frequently involved with other charitable endeavours, including offering his home to a Ukrainian family of refugees during the conflict with Russia.

Being able to relate to the struggles faced by young people in society, he makes for a perfect role model and speaker on the topic.

Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes

Star of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, winning gold in both the 800m and 1500m events, Dame Kelly Holmes is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest-ever sportswomen and mental health advocates. Having publicly opened up about her sexuality in 2022, she is a big supporter for the LGBT+ community in current society.

A former military sergeant, Kelly can discuss what it was like being a minority in both the sporting world, and the traditionally male-dominated British Military, and how this impacted her mental health. She uses her experiences to share what it was like for her in the Women’s Royal Army Corps and other military organisations, before she focused on sport. Kelly has continued her success as she takes on roles such as the President of Commonwealth Games England, as well as being a highly popular sports, mental health, and LGBT+ speaker. She continues to support the next generation of athletes and is a role model to all who want to succeed.

Having struggled with her mental health over the years, she uses her journey to offer reassurance and support, and educates industries on the importance of equality and mental health. As she overcome adversity in the traditionally male-dominated fields of sport and the military, Kelly is perfect to share her mental struggles, and how she combatted these.

Jonny Benjamin MBE & Neil Laybourn

Jonny Benjamin & Neil Laybourn

Award-winning inspirational speakers and mental health campaigners, Jonny Benjamin MBE & Neil Laybourn are two of the most popular speakers on suicide prevention and promoting mental health awareness.

Jonny struggled with his mental health throughout his life, and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar. He first met Neil when he decided to act on his suicidal thoughts on Waterloo Bridge in London, and Neil managed to save his life. Having been brought together by a twist of fate and their own mental struggles, their incredible efforts and dedication towards destigmatising mental health have led to the creation of a UK national charity; a ground-breaking global workplace conference series; and campaigning alongside British Royalty. They now dedicate their time to delivering talks and seminars to brands worldwide, and as experts on the topics of suicide prevention and promoting mental health awareness, they use their own experiences to help and educate others.

Jonny and Neil approach what is still considered a taboo and sensitive topic with refreshing enthusiasm and mindfulness. Having experienced both personal mental struggles and helped those facing them, the pair make incredibly popular mental health speakers.

Frank Bruno

Frank-Bruno-diversity-speaker

At the height of his fame, British boxer Frank Bruno was winning the WBC heavyweight title in front of a packed Wembley Stadium. Over the course of his successful boxing career, he faced the likes of Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis, but his biggest fight was undoubtedly away from the ring and with himself.

Despite being one of Britain’s most successful sportsmen, Frank suffered from severe depression and bipolar disorder and was sectioned on more than one occasion. Heavy drug use also contributed to his mental health conditions and suicidal thoughts became part of his daily life. But these days, Frank is doing well, and while he understands that the challenges posed by mental health may never fully go away, his outlook is far more positive.

Now, he can be found educating people on mental health as one of the most sought-after mental health speakers, using his platform to inspire others and help those suffering themselves.

Davina McCall

Davina-McCall-MBE-hosts-the-Caring-Times-Managers-Show

While she is best known as one of Britain’s most-loved broadcasters who gained fame for hosting the likes of Big Brother, Long Lost Family and The Million Pound Drop, in recent years Davina McCall has also become a leading advocate for women’s mental health. Following her own journey with mental health as a result of going through the menopause, she has hosted documentaries on the issue and even authored her own book – Menopausing which was named ‘Book of the Year’ at the 2023 British Book Awards.

She also struggled with mental health and anxiety in her youth, as a result of drug addiction, and continuously uses her platform to champion mental health causes. As one of the country’s most recognisable television personalities, there is perhaps no one better to engage audiences on these serious issues.

Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson

Popular Welsh TV personality and presenter, Matt Johnson has hosted some of the UK’s best-loved television segments and shows and has in recent years opened up about his mental health struggles publicly.

Matt began hosting Wales Tonight on ITV Wales in 2009, and by 2010-13, had obtained the role on This Morning, and in 2010, was voted Wales’s Sexiest Man. He has presented The National Lottery Draws on BBC One, and made appearances on Take Me Out, The Chase, and Tipping Point. Matt has struggled with his mental health for a number of years, first experiencing depression in his early 20’s, and even contemplating suicide. Taking a while to open up to the idea of therapy, Matt fought with a number of issues, including having no work lined up, debts, and a breakup. Having seen a therapist and combatted his issues, he is now an ambassador for mental health charity, Mind, and has also released The My Journey Podcast to start conversations about mental health.

As a leading charitable ambassador and mental health advocate, Matt is ideal for sharing his story; relating to those with similar struggles; and promoting help and support for everyone.

Tony Adams MBE

Tony Adams MBE

Arguably the greatest centre-back in Premier League history, Tony Adams has won four league titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and the European Cup Winners’ Cup. Alongside this however, he had a well-publicised battle with alcoholism, and now turns his attention to helping those facing the same struggle.

Having regularly captained for both club and country, Tony is the only English player ever to captain a title-winning team in three separate decades. His legacy at Arsenal has also been immortalised with a statue of him unveiled at the club’s Emirates Stadium in 2011, and his being inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. Despite his success, he struggled with alcoholism, regularly getting into fights in nightclubs, and having even been imprisoned for four months for drunk driving. Realising the extent of the issue, he attended alcoholics anonymous and embarked on rehabilitation. With the help of the sport and Wenger’s new dietary and lifestyle requirements, he overcame the issue and is now committed to helping others with similar struggles. He has set up his own rehab facilities and is a huge mental health advocate.

Tyson Fury

Tyson Fury

One of the greatest boxers of all time, Tyson Fury is a heavyweight boxer who has held numerous world titles. Despite his sporting success however, he has also suffered from mental health issues that saw him drawn to alcoholism, recreational drugs, and vast weight gain.

Born in Manchester to an Irish traveller family, Tyson started boxing at the age of 10, and represented England and Ireland at an amateur level before turning pro in 2008, fighting under the nickname ‘The Gypsy King’. He has shared the ring with, and defeated, some of the best fighters of his generation, including Deontay Wilder, Dillian Whyte and Wladimir Klitschko. Remarkably, Tyson overcame his issues with alcoholism, recreational drugs, and vast weight gain mid-way through his career, and went back to see unprecedented success in the boxing arena.

His somewhat unorthodox yet hugely entertaining presence in the ring and in the media show his charisma, sense of humour and straight-talking nature which is so popular to many. His mental health experiences make him a wonderful speaker on the topic, and alongside his sporting stories, he’s able to shed light on how he overcame these issues.

Nigel Owens MBE

Nigel Owens MBE

One of the world’s most famous rugby union referees, Nigel Owens has officiated some of the biggest matches in the world, in a career that spanned almost 20 years. He has also earned a reputation as one of the most influential LGBT+ personalities and mental health advocates in sport.

Making his European refereeing debut in 2001, Nigel then took charge of his first test match in 2003 and made his international debut in 2007 at the Rugby World Cup. It was also in this year that he made headlines as he publicly came out as gay and whilst the response was largely positive and supportive, he was also met with homophobic abuse both online and from fans during games. Despite this, in 2015, he won both the World Rugby Referee Award and was named ‘Gay Personality of the Decade’ by Stonewall. In 2020, he retired from international refereeing after becoming the most-capped official of all time, having officiated the likes of the World Cup, Six Nations, and Heineken Cup finals. He now works as a pundit and continues to officiate in the Pro14 and at club level in Wales, as well as becoming a popular Welsh TV personality, hosting primetime shows. Throughout his career however, Nigel struggled a great deal with his mental health. Failing to supress his attraction to men from his later teenage years, Nigel became depressed, overweight and at 26, attempted suicide. His hatred for his appearance led him to suffer with bulimia, which caused him to lose a lot of weight and as a result, go to the gym and take steroids. He now speaks openly about his experiences in an aid to help others facing similar struggles.

Nigel understands the importance of acceptance for all, including themselves. He promotes diversity and inclusion in his speaking; educating on the minorities of the LGBT+ community; mental health issues; and how we should all be treated with kindness and as equals.

Dr Sam Wass

Dr Sam Wass

Expert child psychologist, research scientist and neuroscientist, Dr Sam Wass is an expert in the field of mental health.

Sam has a first-class undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology from Oxford University; and has completed a PhD at the Centre for Brain Cognitive Development in London. He has also received his Fellowship from the University of East London, and currently runs the BabyDev Lab there. He is well-known as an expert psychologist on Channel 4’s ‘The Secret Life of 4 and 5 Year-Olds’ as he specialises in the mental health in people from early childhood. Sam also fronts press campaigns for Public Health England and The Department of Education for many leading UK charities, and frequently works with commercial organisations, including Melissa & Doug and LEGO. His current research project examines how noisy early home environments can affect concentration and mental health in children.

Sought-ought globally for his research into the development of concentration, stress and learning capacities during early childhood, Sam makes for an excellent mental health speaker. For people wanting to understand more about the ‘why’ on mental health issues, he is perfect to share his knowledge and insights.

Jonny Wilkinson CBE

Jonny Wilkinson

One of the most iconic English Rugby players of all time, Jonny Wilkinson played 91 times for England, making him one of the most capped players to ever represent the red rose. Throughout his career however, he struggled with his mental health and now opens up about his experiences in his speaking work.

A formidable fly-half, Jonny holds the record for the most points scored by an England player, with a staggering total of 1,179. He played six times for the British & Irish Lions, and in 2016 was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Jonny scored the crucial drop goal in the 2003 World Cup final against Australia in extra time, which resulted in England being crowned world champions for the first time ever. Since retiring in 2014, he has worked as both a television pundit and mental health speaker. Jonny always suffered with anxiety; however it became worse for him in his later career, with the increased pressure of professional sport leading him to enjoy competing less and worry more about it. He put such immense pressure on himself that he didn’t even enjoy the highs, meaning his habit of suffering only increased. Jonny formerly found himself sinking to the bottom of a swimming pool and screaming to himself underwater, and shivering in a toilet cubicle in the minutes before kick-off, scared stiff and desperate for someone to talk to.

Having first-hand experience of how career pressures can impact mental health, Jonny is the perfect speaker to relate to those in a similar situation. Be it pressures from employers, coaches or even yourself, he can provide helpful insights into combatting the negative thoughts.

Martine Wright MBE

Martine Wright

In the wrong place at the wrong time, Martine Wright was a victim of the terrorist attacks which happened in London on 7th July 2005. Having gathered with work friends to watch the announcement of the host city for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games the night before, little did she know she would be a competitor in the latter. Despite her injuries, she went on to represent her country at the Paralympics and is now regarded as one of the best inspirational and mental health speakers around.

After spending 10 days in a coma, losing 80% of her blood, and being told she’d lost both legs, Martine remarkably overcame the tragedy which would have shattered even the strongest. Taking up sitting Volleyball, she progressed to be selected for her country forty times, and was known for her versatility, playing in various positions. She was also awarded the BBC Sports Personality Helen Rollason Award, which is presented to an individual who has achieved outstanding things in the face of adversity.

As a person who had their world turned upside-down, Martine is perfect for relating to and motivating audiences who are facing unexpected changes and mental struggles. Having got married, had a son, learned to ski, jumped out of a plane, and flown solo to South Africa since the attack; her story is inspirational to all, and how she overcame her mental struggles is helpful to those who have, and continue to, suffer.

Regardless of industry, sector, or audience profile we have an excellent range of speakers and experts who are able to deliver speeches focussing on mental health. Be it supporting teammates in a sport or business, or simply wanting to understand the importance of mental health, we can provide the ideal expert. For more inspiration or to book one of these incredible individuals, send us a website message, call us on 0115 778 8131, or email us on info@evolve-agency.co.uk – we’re here to help.


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