We talk to Steve Carr, mental health speaker.

22nd Jun 2023

Steve Carr, mental health speaker, chats with Jane Farnham, Director of Great British Speakers.

We learn from mental health speaker Steve Carr about the importance of mental health, especially in men.

Steve Carr, an accomplished well-being and mental health speaker, holds qualifications in various aspects of mental health, including youth and adult mental health first aid, life coaching, and counselling. He is also among a select few suicide first aid tutors in the entire UK, making him highly sought after.

Having faced numerous profound personal challenges such as loss, homelessness, and suicide, Steve embarked on a journey to understand why both he and others had been failed by the system. He delved into the reasons behind men’s reluctance to seek help and committed himself to effecting positive change in this regard.

The spotlight on men’s mental health has never been brighter, with celebrities and royals bringing attention to one of the most prominent health issues of our time. However, while the emphasis has primarily been on encouraging men to open up, what measures are being taken to equip individuals when someone reaches out to them for support? Steve’s work is deeply rooted in his personal experiences of living with mental health challenges, navigating mental illness, and, most importantly, discovering how to maintain well-being and thrive following a diagnosis.

Contact Great British Speakers today to book mental health speaker Steve Carr for your next event.

Here’s the full transcript of mental health speaker Steve Carr‘s chat with Jane Farnham of Great British Speakers:

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00:00:00:08 – 00:00:17:24
Jane Farnham
So today I’m here with highly respected mental health speaker Steve Carr. Steve has been through an extraordinary rollercoaster in his own life and it’s meant that he’s in a completely unique position to be able to both relate and to inspire others. Hi, Steve. Thanks for joining me today. Tell me a little bit about your journey.

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00:00:18:17 – 00:00:40:00

Steve Carr

Yes, certainly. Well, my journey into mental health and suicide prevention started six years ago. That actually started a lot longer than that ago. But I came into the world of mental health, first aid and suicide prevention six years ago. This is when I experienced, say, mental health breakdown in the workplace. Now, sadly, at the time there was no mental health first aiders.

00:00:40:00 – 00:00:53:21

Steve Carr

There’s nobody that really understood anything about suicide prevention, which stopped me from being able to talk to my employees about what was really going on. And so I visited my GP and I was signed off work with work related stress.

And I had a month out.

00:00:55:09 – 00:01:17:08

Steve Carr

And then on my return back to work, I was invited into a meeting by the organization who placed me on a performance improvement plan. Now this was a way of monitoring my performance because obviously I couldn’t tell them it was mental health related. I mean, they wouldn’t understand. And so little after that, was about a month after that, I was managed out of the business.

00:01:17:08 – 00:01:24:16

Steve Carr

In hindsight, it was the right thing at the time to do, just quite simply because they didn’t know it’s mental health related.

Within that month.

That very same month that my employment had come to an end, I had attempted to end my life by suicide multiple times before I went back to the GP to ask for further help.

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00:01:37:14 – 00:01:44:18
Jane Farnham
Wow, that’s some journey. Do you think things are slightly different now in the workplace for people out there who are suffering from the same things?

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00:01:45:18 – 00:02:21:08

Steve Carr

Yeah, absolutely. We can see the tide is changing and just this week we’ve been informed that one in 56 people now have been trained in some form of mental health education within the United Kingdom. But sadly, still only 13% of line managers have been taught anything about mental health or suicide prevention in the first place. So what we need to be looking at is having more managers trained and recognized in the signs, but also psychological safety in the workplace for people to be able to speak openly about their mental health without fear of repercussions or stigma or even resignation.

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00:02:22:08 – 00:02:33:18
Jane Farnham
Quite right. But how I would like to know is how you go from sort of wanting to end your life to then becoming a speaker and doing speaking engagements.

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00:02:33:24 – 00:02:57:10

Steve Carr

Yeah, well, it’s it was quite a story and it dates all the way back to 1991. And sadly, this was when my brother was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. And from that point, going forwards, I had many events occurring in my life that I couldn’t address. And it was at this point in 2014 when I experienced the breakdown that I thought, you know what?

00:02:57:10 – 00:03:16:24

Steve Carr

I need to go and do something to explore what other avenues are available for people like me to access support and help. So after being given a diagnosis of extreme poor mental health, and mental illness, I decided to walk the entire length of Britain in recovery whilst raising awareness for mental health and homelessness.

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00:03:17:23 – 00:03:25:09
Jane Farnham
So do you bring that into your talks? You talk about your walk and what are your main topics during your talks?

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00:03:26:10 – 00:03:47:16

Steve Carr

So the main topics during my walk and the reason why I got into speaking and telling this story was because it was extremely difficult for males and for men in particular to be able to open up and tell their story. So what I did with my journey was I went to literally every newspaper that I could, local newspaper, BBC Television, ITV News, to tell my story.

00:03:47:16 – 00:04:12:02

Steve Carr

So I wanted as many people to know about this. Even though I’d been given a diagnosis, I was experiencing poor mental health and mental illness, recovery was highly likely and possible, and I wanted to show other people to tell other people this story of recovery. So for me, what I tend to tell what I talk about within my talks is homelessness, addiction, mental health and suicide.

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00:04:12:21 – 00:04:16:07
Jane Farnham
Okay. And what do you love most about talking and speaking?

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00:04:17:06 – 00:04:38:06

Steve Carr

What I love most about this is saying to other people that asking for help isn’t a weakness, and that by talking about our mental health, it doesn’t mean that we’re any different to anybody else and that anybody can experience mental health or poor mental health at any point. So it’s leaving them with the message that recovery is highly likely and extremely possible.

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00:04:38:23 – 00:04:45:04
Jane Farnham
And I can understand that on an individual level. But how does that work on an organizational level within big businesses?

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00:04:46:14 – 00:05:08:02

Steve Carr

So what we look at within organizations is policy change, because what I found when I was working within the NHS shortly after is that they have some wonderful policies, but people were not accessing the support that was needed. So we went about looking at how people could actually go and how we could change policy, but also how people could access the help.

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00:05:09:11 – 00:05:21:21
Jane Farnham
So and you think, what’s the feedback like when you’re doing your talk? Do you find that they continue to use the information that they gleaned from your talks and continue with it moving forward?

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00:05:22:20 – 00:05:50:16

Steve Carr

Yeah, absolutely. What I’ve found is when I deliver the talks is more people then afterwards will approach me about looking at policy, but also how do we implement an emotional wellbeing and mental health policy and suicide prevention policy within the organization. So for me, it’s not about just delivering the talk, it’s how can those organizations move forward, support their people and create a psychological safety, a safe workplace for all people that are working within the organization.

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00:05:51:06 – 00:06:12:15
Jane Farnham
So helping to create a sustainable difference and a lasting difference within a company? I think that sounds fabulous. I’ve been working with lots of clients lately who are looking at exactly this, so it looks like we are moving in the right direction. But how do you get involved at this planning stage before the events? So you ensure that you fulfilled the right need for that particular client?

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00:06:13:12 – 00:06:33:12

Steve Carr

Sure. Well, I speak with the client, first of all, and find out what their pain points are. And then we work around creating the story and creating that, what I’m going to say within the talk at that point. So I make sure that we’re covering all the pain points and what people want to hear within the talks. So it could be anything from resilience to bouncing back.

00:06:33:12 – 00:06:42:17

Steve Carr

It could be around mental health or it could even be around suicide prevention. So it’s really understanding the client’s needs before we come and deliver it. Before I come and deliver the talk.

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00:06:43:06 – 00:06:50:20
Jane Farnham
And are there any individual talks that you really remember, any differences that you’ve made that jump out at you that you’d like to share with us?

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00:06:51:12 – 00:07:21:06

Steve Carr

Yeah, absolutely. One of the most remarkable and memorable, though, was for Legal in General. I was delivering a talk with Dame Kelly Holmes and Kirsty Gallagher, and I just remember talking about my story and said that it’s never a weakness to ask for help, that it’s a strength. But it was so amazing to have these celebrities and, you know, rubbing shoulders with these celebrities, but leaving this impact and this impression and knowing that it’s never a weakness to ask for help.

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00:07:21:19 – 00:07:35:13
Jane Farnham
Such an important point to finish on. It’s been brilliant chatting to you, Steve. Thank you very much for your time today. And if you’d like to book Steve, then simply contact myself or Steve at  Great British Speakers on 01753 439289  or you can email bookings at  bookings@greatbritishtalent.com

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Steve Carr mental health speaker at Great British Speakers

Steve Carr mental health speaker at Great British Speakers

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