Cms page top banner area

Mental Wealth Festival 2017

The Mental Wealth Festival ran for three days (12-14 September 2017) across three different venues in London. It featured over 100 talks, debates and workshops by more than 100 contributors, from politicians to health sector innovators, mental health campaigners to business leaders, to famous arts institutions and leading charities. The Mental Wealth Festival provided a forum for informative, challenging and inspiring discussions and workshops exploring mental health issue. 

We welcomed award-winning mental health campaigners and festival ambassadors Jonny Benjamin MBE and Neil Laybourn, familiar to many through the ‘stranger on the bridge’ documentary. They hosted a panel discussion on suicide and prevention and were joined by former professional footballer Clarke Carlisle, Angela Samata, presenter of BBC1 'Life After Suicide', Rory O'Connor from Suicide Research Lab and Simon Gunning from CALM. 

Former NHS director Mandy Stevens interviewed journalist Bryony Gordon on how and why she hid her mental health issues for so long as well as the impact her OCD had at it's worse and how she is coping with it now she is in recovery. Mandy Stevens also hosted three other sessions talking about her own experiences and how she is managing her own mental health. 

Baroness Sheila Hollins hosted several sessions including a panel discussion on family carers of children and adults in need of extra understanding because of mental health or developmental difficulties. She was joined by Sean Fletcher (journalist and radio broadcast personality from Good Morning Britain), Luned Tonderai, Marcella Cooper and Phil Chamberlain.  

In partnership with the National Gallery there were also sessions at the gallery, including a special event with Ed Balls who talked about his life in politics, his Strictly adventures, and his journey around stammering.  

The Mental Wealth Festival 2017

Our Speakers 2017

Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn

Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn

'We are proud to be part of the Mental Wealth Festival organised by City Lit and Books Beyond Words.  The Festival provides an open forum for debate and discussion and allows people to speak freely about their own experiences of mental health and wellbeing'.  

Ed BallsEd Balls

Ed Balls

City Lit Fellow Ed Balls is a broadcaster, writer and economist. He is a Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School and Visiting Professor at King’s College London. His popular BBC TV series ‘Travels in Trumpland: with Ed Balls’ was broadcasted in July 2018 and a second series ‘Travels in Europe with Ed Balls’ will air on BBC 2 later this year. 


Bryony GordonBryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon is one of The Telegraph’s best loved journalists, columnist and features writer. She has been writing for The Telegraph for a number of years and also freelances for various other publications including Grazia Magazine.

Sir Vince CableSir Vince Cable

Sir Vince Cable

Sir Vince has been an outstanding advocate for adult education during his time in politics. As well as his political career, he has authored several books and reports on international economics, trade and environmental issues.



Sean FletcherSean Fletcher

Sean Fletcher

Sean Fletcher is an American-British journalist and radio broadcast personality, currently working with ITV and BBC. He is best known for his work on Good Morning Britain, a reporter on Countryfile, BBC London, BBC Breakfast, the BBC One O’Clock News and the News Channel



Luned TonderaiLuned Tonderai

Luned Tonderai

Luned Tonderai is a television producer and director.



Mandy StevensMandy Stevens

Mandy Stevens

Mandy Stevens is a qualified nurse & has worked in mental health services for 30 years. For the first 15 years Mandy worked in a range of clinical positions mostly in the Mental Health Acute Care pathway, including inpatient services, Crisis Teams & Community Mental Health Teams. 

Marcella CooperMarcella Cooper

Marcella Cooper

Marcella is a full-time carer for her son who has autism, a learnign disabilty and behavious that can be regarded as challenging. She is involved with many nationa organisations, representing family carers from the black minority and ethic (BME) community.




Dr Kathryn MannixDr Kathryn Mannix

Dr Kathryn Mannix

Dr Kathryn Mannix worked as a palliative physician for 30 years in hospices, hospitals and visiting patients in their own homes. Her book, 'With the End in Mind,' describes normal human dying and the many lessons she learned over her career in medicine. 




Jeremy SwainJeremy Swain

Jeremy Swain

Jeremy Swain became Cheif Executive of Thames reach in 2001, Jeremy regularly comments on voluntary sector issues on TV, radio and through the written media and lectures on subjects such as stakeholder partnerships and mergers.



Hope VirgoHope Virgo

Hope Virgo

Tommy Danquah is a blogger and father of two who has been through life changing depression. This affected him and his young family so much that he had no choice but to make radical changes in an attempt to get his life back on track. He became a Mental Health First Aider and is keen to help others who are also struggling in the best way he can, by talking openly about his experiences on the ManUp! Mens Mental Health Podcast alongside his co-host Andy Richardson. 



Rachel KellyRachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly

Rachel Kelly is a writer and mental health campaigner. Rachel speaks publicly about her experience of depression and recovery. She is an official ambassador for SANE, Rethink Mental Illness, Young Minds and The Counselling Foundation. Rachel has written four books.

Stu BakerStu Baker

Stu Baker

Stu Baker, Ex Royal Navy, now a personal trainer, author and a mental health advocate. He has lived with depression for several years and attempted to take his own life in 2017. Following hospital treatment, he is passionate about the stigma around mental health, particularly surrounding men. 

Eva ProvedelEva Provedel

Eva Provedel

Eva Provedel is a Joy Coach, Laughter Yoga Teacher & Ambassador, Expression-Enabler and Personal Impact Trainer based in London. Eva helps professionals connect with their source of happiness and express it in their work and lifestyle. 

Natalie Pennicotte-CollierNatalie Pennicotte-Collier

Natalie Pennicotte-Collier

Natalie is a wellbeing performance Mind Coach and works with the TEAM GB youth team. Aside from her work with Young Athletes 11-14 & her thriving London practice, She is the founder of the ‘Calmer-rama’ Mental Wealth’ school initiatives using a blend of MBCT / cognitive hypnotherapy and mindful wellbeing skills as an integrated way of life.

Leah MilnerLeah Milner

Leah Milner

Leah Milner is an award-winning personal finance journalist, formerly of The Times, now freelance. She has been published in a wide range of titles including The Guardian, Which? and Vice. As a result of her personal experience of living with bipolar disorder, she now also writes about mental health