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Disability Resource Centre


16th Annual Disability Lecture

Mental health conditions are not synonymous with failure; a personal story by Poppy Jaman

Thursday 21 March, 5.30pm, St John's College

Poppy Jaman OBE is an internationally respected mental health advocate, national policy adviser and social entrepreneur who has played an instrumental part in making mental health a high priority for public and private sector employers.  She will be giving this year's Annual Lecture looking at the factors impacting the mental health of staff and students across the University.  Telling her personal story she will describe the support she received during her own recovery and how work was crucial to this. She will discuss how compassion and the ethics of supporting people are critical to the success of healthy organisations. 


Poppy is a co-founder of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England which has grown from a small government project into a commercially successful CIC, recognised by the FT in 2017 as one of the fastest growing SME’s in Europe. Poppy is also the CEO of the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), a coalition of City businesses working to increase understanding of mental health issues and to create a culture of good mental health in the City and a non-executive director on the board of Public Health England. 


After briefing the Prime Minister and her cabinet on MHFA in 2017, the Secretary of State named Poppy as one of England’s mental health experts.  In the 2018 New Year’s Honours, Poppy was awarded an OBE in recognition of her services to people with mental health issues.  All Poppy’s varied roles have required her to challenge the public’s perception of mental ill health and through her diverse networks, she has played an instrumental part in making mental health a high priority for public and private sector employers.

The lecture is open to all, the venue is fully accessible to disabled people and the lecture will be captioned and a BSL interpreter will be present. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception to which all are welcome.   Parking is available on the Playing Fields Car Park and it may be able to arrange it onsite for blue badge holders on request.

A video and transcript of the lecture can be found here:

It is also available on YouTube with subtitles:


Previous lectures

  • 15th Annual Disability Lecture 2018: Disabled Acedmics in the 21 Century. A panel of disabled academics, including Professor Nigel Lockett , Dr Hamied Haroon, and Professor Farah Mendlesohn spoke about their experiences as disabled academics. They described their career highlights and strategies for success in their chosen field.

  • 14th Annual Disability Lecture 2017: Saqib Shaikh - Innovating towards a more inclusive future

  • 13th Annual Disability Lecture 2016: Sue Kroeger - The Power of Design: Exclusion or Inclusion

  • 12th Annual Disability Lecture 2015: Jess Thom - Laughter as a Catalyst for Change​

  • 11th Annual Disability Lecture 2014: Dr Rachel Perkins - Creating Mentally Inclusive Communities: Embracing Distress as Part of Everyday Life

  • 10th Annual Disability Lecture 2013: Dame Ann Begg - Two steps forward, one step back: challenges to disabled people in 2013

  • 9th Annual Disability Lecture 2011: Dr. Nicola Martin - Disability Identity - Disability Pride

  • 8th Annual Disability Lecture 2010: Dr. Ross Cooper - Neurodiversity and Dyslexia

  • 7th Annual Disability Lecture 2009: Prof. Alan Roulstone - Disabled People and the Economic Downturn

  • 6th Annual Disability Lecture 2008: Baroness Jane Campbell - Fighting for a slice or for a bigger cake?

  • 5th Annual Disability Lecture 2007: Prof. Lewis Wolpert - Severe Depression is Indescribable

  • 4th Annual Disability Lecture 2006: Bert Massie CBE - Civil and Human Rights for Disabled People: The Future Agenda

  • 3rd Annual Disability Lecture 2005: Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen - Is Asperger Syndrome a Disability?

  • 2nd Annual Disability Lecture 2004: Dr. Tom Shakespeare - Can Genetics Solve the Disability Problem?

  • 1st Annual Disability Lecture 2003: Prof. Usha Goswami - A Cross-language Approach to Developmental Dyslexia