ManMade Speakers

The Chair: Councillor Paulette Hamilton

Paulette has been a Labour councillor in Handsworth Wood, Birmingham since June 2004; and took up the position of Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care in May 2015


Cllr Hamilton head Paulette’s interest in politics developed following her active involvement in a number of health projects at a local, regional and national level. Paulette has been Birmingham’s Mental Health Champion since 2012; a role which Paulette holds dearly; she is passionate about raising awareness of Mental Health.  It is an area of health that is so often overlooked but one which affects us all, and has a huge impact on the lives of those it affects their family and carers. Outside the Council, Paulette has held a number of nursing roles before going on to work at the Royal College of Nursing as a Professional Development Advisor.


Paulette is Chair of a number of Boards including City’s Health and Wellbeing Board; Mental Health Systems Strategy Board; a member of 300 Voices Board, Police and Crime Commissioners Victim Commission Board; Handsworth Association of School Board Member Trustee and a School Governor at Yenton School (Chair of Finance and Staffing Committee).




Paulette is a Peace Ambassador for the Peace Federation getting involved with peace work in the UK and abroard.  Paulette is Chair of a number of Boards including City’s Health and Wellbeing Board; Mental Health Systems Strategy Board; a member of 300 Voices Board, Police and Crime Commissioners Victim Commission Board; Handsworth Association of School Board Member Trustee and a School Governor at Yenton School (Chair of Finance and Staffing Committee)


Paulette is committed to making a difference and motivating and inspiring others to achieve, and regularly speaks at events around the city and nationally.


As Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care; Paulette is determined that she will use this role to be an ambassador for change;  to make a difference and improve the outcomes for some of the City’s most vulnerable citizens and their families and carers.   Paulette is keen to focus in the forthcoming year on working with our citizens, and our health partners to create a more joined up health and social care service.



Jonny Benjamin

Jonny Benjamin is an award-winning mental health campaigner, film producer, public speaker, writer and vlogger from London.


Jonny Benjamin At the age of 20 he was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a combination of schizophrenia and bipolar, and later began making films on YouTube about the condition that have been watched by hundreds of thousands of people. Jonny now speaks publicly about living with mental illness and has written articles and given various interviews on TV, Radio and in print around the world to help educate and break stigma.


He was awarded the first Janey Antoniou award from Rethink Mental Illness to recognize the achievements of his work and was subsequently made an ambassador for the charity. Jonny has also been awarded the prestigious Making A Difference award from the charity Mind.



In 2013 he presented a BBC Three documentary for their mental health season, It’s A Mad World, and authored a piece about male suicide for BBC Radio Four’s World At One. More recently Jonny became a producer at film production company Postcard Productions and helped to make the Channel 4 documentary, The Stranger On The Bridge, which received widespread acclaim and has since been nominated for a number of awards.


The Stranger On The Bridge tells the story of Jonny’s search to find the man who stopped him from jumping off a bridge in 2008 when Jonny was really unwell. The #findMike campaign was launched in January 2014 to help raise awareness of suicide and quickly went viral, with over 300 million people seeing and sharing the social media campaign globally. Within just two weeks, Jonny found the man he had been looking for. The Stranger On The Bridge is available to watch online on the Channel 4 website.


Currently, Jonny works with various organisations and charities to change the way mental health and suicide are viewed and treated. He is also a public speaker and regularly gives talks to increase awareness and understanding.


Together with Postcard Productions and Pixel Learning Jonny has just launched ThinkWell, a mental health workshop which is being taken into schools across the country to empower pupils to talk about their wellbeing and seek support should they need it. He is also helping to develop a play about suicide which was recently awarded funding by the Arts Council.



In 2012 a book of Jonny’s poetry was published entitled Pill After Pill: Poems From A Schizophrenic Mind.


Jamie Harrington

Jamie is a 17-year-old community activist from Ballymun in north Dublin, who became involved in his community from a very early age, developing a love for arts and music through this.

Jamie Harrington At the age of 13 Jamie was running community clean ups and music events in his local youth center (BRYR). In just two years he has racked up a whooping 25,000 followers on Facebook for his comedy videos.
In 2013, he met Luke Clerkin (24) through the Never Alone Collective busking for Teenline Ireland. From there began to host events for Teenline Ireland and was involved in the release of ‘Never alone’ – a song written by Luke Clerkin and Gavin Doyle to raise funds for Teenline. In 2015 Jamie won many awards but one stands out among them all, The Rotary International Young Citizen of 2015.

Jamie Harrington, also featured on the photography project ‘Humans of Dublin’, and spoke of a chance encounter which led to him saving the life of a man in distress on a Dublin bridge. The story went viral on social media with Jamie being caught up in both radio and TV interviews across Ireland and the UK including BBC Breakfast Television.

“Are you OK?” the simple question asked of the man on the bridge was picked up by Samaritans as part of their World Suicide Prevention Day Campaign in 2015.


Cadi Lambert

Cadi is a lover of sport, animals, laughter and adventure. An ordinary person but one whose life was turned upside down by the loss of a loved one to suicide.

cadilambert After Cadi’s partner took his own life in 2014 she was informed that it would be many years before she would regain her life from the grief which consumed it. As someone who struggles to sit still to let things heal, she rejected this opinion. In trying to find positives from such a devastating event she has learnt much about a hidden world of depression and suicide.


As someone who naturally uses writing to express emotion, including the usual angst ridden teenage poems, Cadi started to blog to help her articulate how she feels and as an aide to try and heal her own personal grief. By sharing her own experiences with others she quickly discovered the importance of talking openly.

The blog opened up to her to the world of social media. As well as the huge support provided by friends and family, Cadi has also found great comfort in the care and compassion of strangers. We hear much on the negatives of social media but Cadi champions the positives – the essential connections which can be made to those we have never and may never meet, the ability to be part of a community and the strength and resolve this can provide to an individual.


Having taken on the challenge of cycling the Coast to Coast in one day and a trekking holiday to Tibet to honour two ambitions of her late partner, Cadi has developed a strong belief in the power of sport, exercise and travel to help those going through difficult periods in their life.

Losing one of the strongest people you know to suicide causes you to question all you think you know about the people you share your life with. It is so important for us to listen carefully to what is really being said to us and also to try and hear the words that are often left unspoken.



Rohan Kallicharan

I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I in January 2006 at the age of 31, after multiple attempts on my life.


Rohan1 I had lived with mental illness since my mid-teens, but in the same way as so many, spent my life too scared to talk to those around me, feeling misunderstood by the medical profession and feeling like an abysmal failure.
Through 3 aborted attempts at a degree, increasing debts, self-harm, broken friendships and the intense swings between mania and depression, my life was destroyed to the point that I could take no more. A decade later, I have forged a successful career within Human Resources, completed 10 marathons and, of most pride to me, been able to work closely with Mind, the mental health charity, as an ambassador and fundraiser.



It has not been without challenges and obstacles, but speaking openly about my illness has given me the tools to deal with such difficulties. I have learned not to fight my illness but to embrace it and accept that it has given me the opportunity to change other lives. Although I have appeared in various media and advertising campaigns, I derive greater satisfaction from the awareness work I have been able to do in schools, workplaces and small groups.


Every day is an opportunity to give something back to others living through the same difficulties that nearly deprived me of my own life.



Detective Chief Inspector Sean Russell

sean russell Sean Russell is a Detective Chief Inspector within West Midlands Police. He is currently the Force lead for Mental Health and has spent most of his 20 years’ service within Birmingham Command Units in operational roles. He also spent three years as a public protection manager where he was the Senior Investigation Officer for a number of child homicides and domestic related murders and has also worked in Birmingham City Centre and the surrounding areas where he was responsible for partnership engagement and NH policing delivery.


Sean has a keen interest in policing mental Health and the impact this has for both the service user and the police. He is the pilot lead for the street triage project where Nurses, Ambulance staff and Police attend together to persons in crisis providing a ‘one stop shop’ approach to mental ill health delivery. He is involved in the National Liaison and Diversion Pilot where mental health staff work more closely with the Criminal Justice System.

Sean is also the Birmingham and Solihull Violent Crime Investigation lead and is working to move the Force towards a more collaborative approach to violence reduction. This includes a wider engagement with health and statutory partners and seeks to learn the lessons from other successful programmes across the UK.
Sean is happily married with two daughters aged 14 and 16. He recently graduated with an MBA from the University of Birmingham and is currently studying for an MSc in Forensic Mental Health.





Pete Trainor


He has a very simple mantra: Don’t do things better, do better things.


Capture Pete Trainor is a digital disruptor, public speaker, accidental polymath and founder of NEXUS in London. He talks all over the world on creative & social technologies & the physiological & psychological effects on their audiences. Pete regularly appears in UK national and international press as an analyst on digital media, creative industries, emergent technologies, and tech markets. In 2015 he presented his design philosophy to 2500 people at Europe’s biggest TEDx, challenging the audience to stop and consider the biological effects of the apps & services they use on an everyday basis.

Pete also sits on the executive committee of The British Interactive Media Association and is a board member at the BSI shaping the guidelines for the Internet of Things & Connected Lives. He guides agencies and start-ups, large and small, to different ways of working, focusing squarely on the human in every interaction.



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