When searching for mental health public speakers whether it’s for Mental Health Month or any other month, do you want stories or statistics?

The most effective speakers on mental health will teach and inspire through stories and leave the audience with a road map of where to go next.

You Want Public Mental Health Speakers to Focus on Topics That Will:

  1. Inspire conversation
  2. Motivate people to take action
  3. Help people find or use company resources to discover resilience within themselves to work through adverse experiences

Topics can focus on mental health stigma, and managing mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, or grief. Beware though, productivity, retention, and positive work culture are the side effects of emotionally happy people and a culture that supports it.

How do mental health public speakers help people find emotional wellness?

The best mental health speakers deliver a vulnerable, educational, and inspirational story without leaving your audience feeling hopeless or traumatized. They help people find within themselves the skills they need.

The next step for any program is to guide people to what company or school resources will support them in their efforts and what community resources are available in their area. So working with the speaker to integrate this into the program is essential to meeting your goals for a healthy workplace or school culture. Otherwise, it’s just a check-the-box approach.

Most importantly mental health awareness speakers don’t just offer a canned, one-size-fits-all speech but customize the presentation to address specific issues your school or workplace is facing while understanding the nature of the audience.

So what else makes a good mental health program?

Curate in-house stories as part of your mental health initiative

While it makes sense to bring in speakers on mental health and to consult with and find out what other activities work well, it also makes sense to see who in your organization or school is ready to tell their story.

That person won’t be polished or perfect, and likely they’ll feel nervous, too. If anything, that adds authenticity to their presentation.

Being vulnerable is hard. And your school or your workforce is rooting for and will respond to one of their own. It helps to incorporate these brief stories, 15 minutes or so, or a panel into your mental health events.

Think of the mental health speakers as catalysts to kick off the event and the panelists as those within the organization who spark the ongoing conversation.

Here are some criteria to see if in-house talent is ready to tell their mental health story

  • Is the person two years out from their crisis or adverse experience?
  • Do they seem like they are in a good place now, able to promote a message of hope and healing?
  • If they are still feeling angry and bitter which is valid and natural, it might be a little too soon and that person might need more time to process their experience.
  • Can they follow guidelines to tell their story responsibly so it inspires instead of traumatizes?
  • A handout template for novice storytellers to craft their mental health story is included in the free eBook below

Roughly a mental health story should focus about 10-25% of the time on the hardship part and the rest of the time on what helped get the person through the crisis, how that person healed, and why there is hope. Here is a quick chart to define that narrative.

The 4 H’s of Telling a Mental Health Story are Hardship, Help, Healing, and Hope
Your story.
What helped you through the crisis?
How you healed.
Why do you have hope?

How can speakers on mental health help managers and leaders?

Many times your managers and leaders struggle with how to have conversations about mental health. They also often think when someone comes to them they must fix the problem which causes considerable stress.

However, managers are not therapists. Listening is the most important step because people want to feel heard. And when managers hear this and learn how to listen, you can collectively see the relief on their faces.

A good mental health speaker will be able to train your staff on ways to have conversations with employees on difficult topics and give them the words and practice to feel comfortable doing it.

Overall mental health awareness speakers give you the juice to start a difficult and otherwise uncomfortable conversation. That is what starts to shape a healthy work culture–one in which employees or students feel they are part of the solution.

safety guidelines for mental health events

Free eBook: Safety Guidelines for Sharing Mental Health Stories at Public Events

  • Includes a trigger warning script template
  • Clear steps to reviewing scripts & stories
  • Safety guidelines for the event
  • How to coach storytellers
  • Handout templates for novice storytellers to write their narratives for panel events