Programme

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OCTOBER 15TH 2015

Programme

www.guernseymind.org.gg

WITH SPECIAL GUEST

Gareth

Thomas

Kindly sponsored by

Designed by

PLUS

John Curran

John Binns

Sue Baker

Dave Warr

Chris Griffiths


INTRODUCTION

John

Curran

Programme

8.00am

8.30am

Breakfast

Opening introduction:

John Curran – Guernsey Mind chairman

8.45 – 9.15am Sue Baker – conference chairman and

Director of the Time to Change movement

9.15 – 9.45am Dave Warr – local businessman,

sportsman and charity chief

9.45 – 10.30am John Binns – former partner of Deloitte UK,

Mind UK Ambassador and CEO of Fit4success

10.30 – 11.00am Break

11.00 – 11.30am Chris Griffiths – Creative Director of

Two Degrees North and sports coach

11.30 – 12.15pm Gareth Thomas – former Welsh Rugby

International and motivational speaker

12.15 – 12.45pm Questions

12.45 – 1.00pm Sue Baker to host questions from the floor

At Guernsey Mind we are determined to make a real

difference to help those who experience the symptoms

of poor mental health. While seeking appropriate

professional help early can contribute greatly to a person’s ability

to cope with poor mental health, there remains unfortunately

a real stigma attached to mental health issues which makes it

more difficult for sufferers to admit they need help. It also means

that they may be ashamed to admit to family, friends or work

colleagues that they are struggling and so miss the opportunity

to get support from people who care about them.

I am delighted therefore that Guernsey Mind has secured as our keynote speaker Gareth Thomas

to help us raise awareness of the challenge that stigma can create for mental health sufferers.

Gareth has agreed to speak at our dinner and conference and I am sure that by sharing his own

experience with stigma it will help us start to change perceptions around poor mental health.

A key focus of our work is with employers as we recognize the very large role they can play in

helping their staff who experience mental health issues recover more quickly. I am therefore

very grateful that John Binns from Deloittes is willing to share his story with us a someone who

was in a very senior role in UK business yet had to deal with the stigma attached to how he was

perceived once he admitted publicly he had a mental health condition.

Stigma is a challenge in all communities but it can be even more so in a small community such as

Guernsey. For this reason we wanted to have local speakers who were willing to share their story

and demonstrate that mental health need not limit what one can achieve. Both Dave Warr and

(name) are both well known and highly regarded in their professions. Yet many people may not have

known they both have experienced depression on and off for many years. Both have very kindly

agreed to share their own experience and we are extremely grateful that they are willing to do so.

I am confident that by hearing from our panel of speakers we can start to really tackle the

stigma that is associated with poor mental health so that many in our community who

unfortunately do suffer can be more confident about coming forward and getting the help and

support they need. Given that around one in four of us will suffer from poor mental health at

some stage, by making people aware that they are not alone, that people will genuinely want

to help and support them and that their employers will want to help them rather than hold it

against them, then the sooner we will start to make real progress.


Gareth

Thomas

Gareth Thomas is one of the keynote speakers

at Guernsey Mind’s Change for the Good biannual

conference.

Gareth has made no secret of his struggles

with depression and poor mental health after

publicly announcing he was gay in 2009 while

competing at the height of his successful career.

The ex-Wales captain has told how he made

several suicide attempts after confessing to his

wife Jemma in 2006 that he had been secretly

homosexual throughout their five-year marriage.

He recalls how the night his wife left him,

he dressed in his best grey suit issued by

the Welsh Rugby Union and headed to

the swimming pool of his home set upon

drowning himself. He also admits to wanting

to jump off a cliff at the height of his despair.

He forged a reputation as one of the toughest

players on the field in a bid he says, to hide

his sexuality. Says Gareth: “I don’t want to be

known as a gay rugby player, I am a rugby

player and foremost a man.”

He has openly talked about his sexuality and his

hopes that his coming out would mean that in

future young gay rugby players would be able

to come out too and be accepted as talented

sportsmen. “Even if one young guy who has

hung up his boots because he is gay, goes back

out there, it will have been worth it”, he says.

His address will also reflect the secondary aim

of the conference, to break down the stigma

attached to mental health issues.

Gareth represented Wales in both rugby union

and rugby league and was the most capped

Welsh rugby union player with 100 test match

appearances until September 2011. He is currently

ranked 12th among international try scorers.

Gareth retired from the sport in October 11

and began a new career in television and as

a charity campaigner and vocal supporter of

Child line.

resume his career at the same level he left it.

Says John Binns: “There was no culture of

talking about mental health or recognising

that some of our best and brightest people

statistically would have a mental health issue.”

“One day I had this sensation of falling off a

cliff and instead of going into work, I found

myself firing off emails to colleagues, telling

them I was feeling unwell, before bolting out

the door to the doctor’s.

“Looking back, the symptoms were clear: I

couldn’t make simple decisions, such as who

to call into the office for a routine meeting,

or where to start in replying to emails – I was

getting at least 200 a day. I wasn’t sleeping,

my energy levels were low, and I was losing

weight. Everything seemed pointless. Yes, I

can see now I was depressed.”

But knowing that many sufferers of

depression do so in silence, John started

Sue

Baker

working with mental health charity, Mind and

within Deloitte, to find a way of bringing this

hitherto taboo subject out into the open, and

his eventual return to the workplace drove

John to become a Mind ambassador.

Based on his own personal experience John

has led a wide range of ground breaking

mental health and wellbeing initiatives within

Deloitte UK which have been nationally and

internationally recognised as leading practice.

He is a sought after speaker and advisor to

businesses, typically professional services,

technology, financial services and media

organisations looking to better address the

management of stress in the workplace.

John is currently the Mental Health and

Personal Resilience adviser to Deloitte and

provides this service through his company

Fit4success. John Binns is a Trustee of

UK Mind and an independent advisor on

workplace mental health issues.

John

Binns

Well-known mental health campaigner

and motivational speaker John Binns was a

senior Partner of Deloitte UK when he was

diagnosed with severe depression in 2007.

John had to leave the workplace for a number

of months and expected his career would

be finished, but his colleagues reacted

with“unfaltering kindness” and he was able to

The chairman of the conference is Sue Baker,

Director of the Time to Change Campaign, a

social movement made up of thousands of

individuals and organisations across England

who are all doing their bit to get the nation to

rethink their attitude to mental health.

Says Sue: “Since Time to Change began in

2007 more than two million people have

changed their attitudes and more than ever

are able to be more open about their mental

health problems.”

This is the first project in England that aims to

change behaviour, rather than just attitudes.

But there’s still more to be done until no one

has to face discrimination on the grounds of a

mental health problem. We aim to empower

people to challenge stigma and speak openly

about their own mental health experiences.”

“We’ve started the beginnings of social

change, so we’re starting to see attitudes

improve and public behaviour become better

towards those of us with mental health

problems...now we’ve got a chance to keep

that work going and to build the momentum.”

Recent Time to Change research shows that

75% of people with a mental health problem

have lost friendships, indicating that many


people still feel uncomfortable talking about

something that affects one in four of us. We

know that talking openly with friends is an

important part of many people’s lives, yet

having a conversation about mental health still

seems to be a difficult subject for some of us.

Due to the stigma around mental illness, many

people shy away from supporting someone

they know who might be experiencing one. In

the same survey forty-two per cent of people

admit they don’t feel they know enough about

mental health problems to talk to a friend

Dave

Warr

Dave Warr is a well know local businessman,

sportsman and vice chair of the Guernsey Charity

Community Foundation. He is a supporter of

Mind and he is passionate supporting those who

struggle with mental health issues.

“Although I had no hesitation in accepting the

invitation from Guernsey Mind to speak at

their ‘Change for the Good’ conference I did

need a period of reflection before putting into

words why I was willing to do so.

When I was young, full of energy, working hard

and in good health I had no understanding of

depression and related conditions and was

very much in the camp of ‘give yourself a

shake and pull yourself together’.

How naïve and ignorant I was. It is only in

later life that I have discovered how prevalent

depression is and how much it can impact

upon an individual’s life and indeed those

close to that person.

My experience of mental health is personal

having experienced bouts of depression and

also watched others close to me struggle with

going through one, and one in five worry

that talking openly about it might make their

friend’s situation worse.

You don’t have to be an expert to start a

conversation about mental health. Being a

supportive friend can include small gestures

like sending a quick text or email, or an

invitation to meet up. It’s time we encouraged

people to talk more openly and for mental

health to stop being a part of life people are

too ashamed or embarrassed to talk about.

similar challenges.

What I can say from experience is that

when depression strikes it can become allconsuming

and makes it nigh impossible to

lead a normal life. I have found that having a

small number of family and friends to call on

for support has been a key to overcoming the

condition. Others might be less fortunate in

terms of their support network and also feel

handicapped by the stigma which still persists

in admitting to such a medical condition.

I am pleased that I now have an improved

understanding of the challenges which many

people in our Community face and hope that

as the stigma of admitting to depression

reduces the debate can be widened and

awareness raised so that a more constructive

way of addressing the problems can be found.

Hope and optimism can be foreign words

when depressed and my wish is that I can

play a very small part in achieving a more

positive and optimistic outlook for those that

suffer from it.”

Chris

Griffiths

Chris Griffiths is Creative Director of awardwinning

Guernsey design agency Two Degrees

North which he founded with his brother Marc

eleven years ago.

As well as being a keen artist in his spare time

Chris has also always been heavily involved

with local sports, including football, hockey,

cricket and rugby, having played in 2 Siam

Cups for Guernsey RFC in his younger years.

Having hung up his playing boots for some

time now, Chris is currently enjoying his role

as Head Coach of the Guernsey Ladies Rugby

Team, he is also President of both St Jacques

RFC and the Independents Cricket Club.

Chris is in his third season with the Guernsey

Ladies Team who last year enjoyed much

success with a League and Cup double

winning season. Chris previously spent 6

years as Head Coach with the mens team at

St Jacques, winning The Macmillan, Simon

Chandler and Bachmann Trophies as well as

an Inter Insular Trophy along the way.

As well as being a Level 2 qualified Rugby

Coach, Chris is also a qualified Rugby Referee

and has officiated many local games at

various levels over the last four seasons.

Chris strongly believes that sport has a huge

positive effect on a persons mental wellbeing

and has plenty of anecdotes to back this up.

There are many roles in sport, from coaching,

playing and mentoring that he feels allow an

individual to grow and flourish and become

stronger and more self confident. He believes

the five core values of rugby sum up rather

neatky the reasons why; teamwork, respect,

enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.

Being part of a sporting ‘family’ that have

a shared goal and who achieve this goal

through hard work and self belief can be

fantastic for improving one’s mental health

outside of the sporting arena too.

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