Review – Attending The MANUP? ‘ROI On Mental Health 23’ Keynote Event

Recently, mental health charity MANUP? held its annual keynote event in Ipswich (UK), and My Mind News was there to cover the event for its readers.

Details of the event

Following our recent interview with Dan Somers, the boss at men’s mental health charity MANUP? My Mind News was excited to attend its annual keynote networking event on May 5th in Ipswich, United Kingdom.

The theme for the event was ‘ROI (Return On Investment) On Mental Health’ and was held in the East Anglian town’s King’s Street arthouse cinema. The event was well attended, ranging from individuals to representatives of the MANUP? organization plus various local businesses keen to learn more and network.

The event kicked off at 1:30 pm with a welcome and a short talk from the organization’s Chair of Trustees, Steve Rooke. Steve talked through the mission of MANUP? and gave a brief overview of the charity’s work and the themes to be explored during the afternoon’s presentations.

The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly, with attendees spread in huddles across the comfortable seating within the cinema’s main auditorium.

Guest speakers

Following Steve’s welcome and opening talk, he then invited, in turn, several guest speakers to make short presentations to the audience. The talks covered several subjects but with the common theme of enhancing mental health in the workplace.

It is important to note that although the title of the event was ‘ROI On Mental Health,’ the speakers collective were much keener to share their experiences of the importance of maintaining staff/employee wellbeing rather than the impact that this can have on an organization’s bottom line.

First to talk was Amy Bendall, Managing Director of integrated communications agency Pier. Amy spoke eloquently about the importance of staff wellbeing within a relatively small team and how the firm works hard to ensure the mental health of each employee is maintained through several measures it has in place.

The firm has regular team catch-ups, and the company’s Operation s Manger, Lisa Smith, doubles up as the organization’s ‘wellbeing champion.’

You can read more about the culture and vibe at Pier from this page on the company’s website.


Next up to speak was James Elliott. As a former British Army paratrooper turned psychotherapist, James spoke on behalf of MINDfield International, his own company. James spoke at length about the importance of looking after the wellbeing of business leaders who, in turn, are responsible for looking after others.

Now outside of the British Army, in his first year as a civilian, James has become fully accredited as a psychotherapist, runs training and support for vulnerable veterans, and has briefed at Oxford University on how to communicate better with vulnerable veterans.

James spoke about running performance coaching for the Paralympic Rowing Team, designing, developing, and delivering the mental resilience training for Scottish and Derbyshire Police, as well as several keynote speeches.

James is currently studying for a Master’s Degree at Kings College London to begin furthering his education in Psychiatry and War.


Photo: mymindnews.comThird in line to speak was Rosie Leech from equipment firm Briggs Equipment. Speaking very much from the heart, Rosie talked about her personal experience of being at home during the pandemic and how she turned to binge eating as a form of therapy to alleviate her loneliness.

She also spoke about how she sought and found support in one of her managers at the firm, who helped her to deal with her issues and brought her out the other side.

The last to talk was Michael Sargood. Michael spoke to those attending about his experience dealing with alcoholism and depression in the workplace and how to boost one’s self-esteem and self-worth after receiving treatment for drinking problems.

Michael’s talk was both interesting and inspiring and showed the importance of realizing when one has a problem and the importance of early intervention to get back on track.

Networking opportunity

After the guest speakers’ talks, Steve Rooke once again took to the microphone to invite questions to the panel of speakers from the floor. After around 15 minutes of insightful questions and answers, Steve closed the event by asking all those in attendance to the lounge area for coffee and the opportunity to meet and chat.

Those that didn’t have to rush off stayed until around 4;00 pm discussing various points raised by the afternoon’s speakers and networking in general.  All the representatives from MANUP? and the speakers were available to answer questions and chat.  This is a really nice opportunity to share and learn from each other about the importance of mental health and acknowledging the different journeys we all have.

In summary

The event was well worth attention and shone a light on various issues affecting businesses, and the wellbeing of employees. The range of speakers was varied and interesting, and the amount of ground covered in just a couple of hours on a Friday afternoon, when most people are winding down to the weekend, was quite admirable.

For a complete list of Future events being hosted or attended by MANUP? you can click here. Also, look out for features on Pier and James Elliott coming up soon here on My Mind News.

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