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Mental health and wellbeing conference 2023

Our Conference is a unique opportunity to access invaluable knowledge and tips. It also offers the chance to be part of something bigger too – a community of people who come together virtually from all departments across the UK to learn, share and support each other when times get tough.

Making a difference together

Sometimes we struggle to find time for looking after our own mental health and wellbeing – or that of people close to us. Together, we can learn to support ourselves and others, simply by registering for a free place to attend our virtual Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference.

There’s something for everyone – from an opportunity to understand loneliness, acknowledging your own feelings, responding to support a child who is struggling, and so much more on offer throughout the week. So whether you attend one, several or all the sessions – all you have to do is book your place today!

Illustration of a woman wearing a head scarf with her arm around an older woman.

Catch up on demand content available now

in partnership with

Opening plenary

Charity for Civil Servants

Graham Hooper, Charity for Civil Servants CEO welcomes you to the conference followed by an introduction to the Charity’s services from Steve Kembrey, Outreach Coordinator.

Unlock essential skills in suicide prevention

Grassroots Suicide Prevention

Gain life-saving skills to support your colleagues and loved ones. Learn risk factors, how to spot potential signs and sensitively approach someone with thoughts of suicide. Walk away knowing exactly how to initiate that critical conversation and where to direct those in need. Get the valuable tools to make a difference and foster a stronger, more compassionate community.

Practically managing anxiety

Don’t Tone Alone

This session makes managing anxiety practical. It offers an informed discussion on anxiety and provides techniques to support your mental health on a daily basis as well as ways to deal with overwhelming situations that may trigger anxious behaviour.

Recognising carers – the challenges and rewards

Carer’s Network

Being a carer can be positive and rewarding helping you discover your strengths and increase your skills and confidence. However it can also be challenging and affect your wellbeing. This session will have civil servants who are unpaid carers having an open and honest conversation about the challenges and rewards of being care-givers as well as looking at ways the Charity can support carers.


Fertility and Baby Loss Network

This session on the theme of kindness considers issues around fertility and pregnancy loss in the workplace and beyond. A panel drawn from the network’s members will share ideas on what kindness looks like from others and the importance of extending kindness to ourselves, before inviting contributions from participants.

Understanding Loneliness

Marmalade Trust

Loneliness is something you shouldn’t be ashamed of but there remains so much negative connotation surrounding it. To stop stigmatising loneliness and begin to understand it, this session gives a better understanding of the impact loneliness can have and show you what we can do to support ourselves as well as others.

Lifting the lid on eating disorders

Civil Service Eating Disorders Network

Get a thorough overview of what eating disorders are before hearing from our civil servant panelists about their personal experiences of suffering from an eating disorder. The Civil Service Eating Disorders Network explain how they support all civil servants with their online resources and support groups.

The Impact of Gambling


GamCare will host a panel exploring how gambling can show up in the workplace and the impact it has on affected colleagues’ mental health and wellbeing. The panel will include charities who represent and support people struggling with gambling and people with lived experience. They’ll discuss ways to support colleagues and talk about the knock-on effect of gambling on their families and friends.

Gender Euphoria


The a:gender network panel will talk you through their lived experiences of reckoning with gender as transgender and intersex individuals. The session will focus on gender euphoria (that positive feeling of being comfortable in your own body and social interactions) as opposed to gender dysphoria. Curious? Come along to learn more about the support a:gender offers to gender-diverse staff, managers and friends.

Understanding Neurodivergent Burnout

Autism and ADHD

Most people can understand what we mean by burnout, and how exhausting we feel, but what if that shutdown has been building since you were 5 years old. Understanding ND burnout helps us learn not only how to support our ND colleagues and friends, but also how to help ourselves and our own family – how cool is that!

Menopause in the Workplace

Menopause Network

The Menopause Cross Government Network brings together a panel of members who’ll share how they’ve received support from their departments, what they’ve gained from being part of the Network and some of their personal experiences with menopause. Following the panel discussion, which will be open for questions, each of the panel will share initiatives that are in place within their own workplace to help people navigate menopause and bring it into every day conversation.

Looking after ourselves when supporting a child needing help

Charlie Waller Trust

This session explores how to look after your own wellbeing while supporting a child or young person including tips from parents who have faced similar challenges, strategies for looking after yourself, the practice of emotion coaching and how to get extra help. You’ll also hear how the Charlie Waller Workplace can help workplaces provide support.

The Impact of Sexual and Domestic Abuse and Violence

The Civil Service Sexual and Domestic Abuse Network

This session brings together colleagues from across government to discuss the impact of sexual and domestic abuse and violence on colleagues in the workplace. They speak from personal and professional experience, to address improving the employment life chances for all civil servants by equipping leaders with key skills. The Network is a constantly evolving and supportive space for those affected by abuse and those that support them. If you’re interested to know more you can contact their network Secretary

Closing plenary

Charity for Civil Servants

Flavia Gapper, Director of Help, Advice and Services at the Charity for Civil Servants, brings this years conference to a close. This is followed by another chance to see a summary of the Charity’s services from Steve Kembrey, Outreach Coordinator.

Graham Hooper
Graham Hooper, Charity for Civil Servants
Opening plenary

Graham became Chief Executive of the Charity for Civil Servants in 2015. Following an early venture into sports marketing, he’d previously enjoyed a 23-year career in the Civil Service before running a consultancy and working for a wide range of public and private sector clients, tackling the broadest spectrum of behavioural challenges and strategic business issues. An experienced senior civil servant, some of Graham’s key roles included Head of Marketing for the Home Office, Head of Corporate Communications for the Cabinet Office and acting as Joint Chief Executive of the Central Office of Information (COI).

Agnes Munday
Agnes Munday, Grassroots
Unlock Essential Skills in Suicide Prevention

Agnes Munday, BA Hons PGCE UKPHR is a dynamic force committed to transforming lives. As the Head of Training at Grassroots Suicide Prevention, she’s reshaping how professionals approach suicide and self-harm making Grassroots the go-to destination for transformative training programs in the UK. Her expertise and passion for making a difference in our communities has seen her crafting innovative interventions and training programmes for over 25 years in a range of sectors. Agnes enjoys dancing, painting, sea swimming throughout the year, and loves to create stories and games for her grandchildren.

Christopher Robertson, Don't Tone Alone
Christopher Robertson, Don't Tone Alone
Practically Managing Anxiety

After completing his MSc in Health & Community, leading various project teams, and consulting for national organisations on social inclusion and training & development, Christopher applied his specialist training qualifications and cross-sector experience to found Don’t Tone Alone CIC (DTA) – an organisation with the ability to transforms lives through behaviour change training services. Christopher is passionate about social impact and how to maximise and evidence return on investment to create sustainably healthier communities.

Lisa Colville
Lisa Colville, Carer's Network
Recognising Carers – The Challenges and Rewards

Lisa works in the Charity for Civil Servants’ Wellbeing Team and has been involved in promoting the Charity’s services, working with applicants one-to-one and liaising with partner organisations. She is also part of the Charity’s MHFA team. Lisa works closely with the carers’ networks which connects well with her personal experience of caring for her grandparents. She is fluent in British Sign Language and has been able to use this to support deaf civil servants.

Sharon Devey
Sharon Devey, Carer's Network
Recognising Carers – The Challenges and Rewards

A DWP carers and wellbeing advocate Sharon was recognised when she won the Charity for Civil Servants’ People Award in 2018 for her passion and commitment to improving Wellbeing. Awarded an MBE for services to wellbeing in the workplace in June 2021, she is a powerful advocate who has proactively made a difference to the wellbeing of colleagues, especially carers. Outside of work, she loves crystals healing and yoga.

Chris Spencer
Chris Spencer, Carer's Network
Recognising Carers – The Challenges and Rewards

Chris is a Content Designer in Cabinet Office. He’s working on a new service to help civil servants move between departments. Before this, Chris was a Content Designer on the Care Quality Commission’s Web Team. He also worked on websites and intranets for a large local authority for many years. Chris is carer to his teenage son who has autism, severe ADHD and sensory processing disorder. He is also secondary carer to his parents. Chris himself is autistic. He enjoys research, detail and his huge eclectic music collection is said to sound like a radio tuned between stations.

Jo-Anne Spencer
Jo-Anne Stockman, Carer's Network
Recognising Carers – The Challenges and Rewards

The sole carer for her 90 year old mum who now lives in a sheltered dwelling, Jo-Anne says that, although her mum needs a lot of additional support, she still keeps her on her toes and they have a good laugh together! Jo-Anne’s experienced some challenging health issues herself and is now recovering from brain tumour surgery – still, she has a great sense of humour and is keen to offer support to other carers.

Rose Yates
Rose Yates, Carer's Network
Recognising Carers – The Challenges and Rewards

Rose works for the prison service and focuses on safer custody issues such as SASH (Suicide and self-harm), violence/ violent incidents, disabilities, equalities, welfare of prisoners and Foreign national prisoners. She’s a full time carer for her 9-year-old boy who has a condition called ARFID (Avoidant and Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) which he’s struggled with since he was a baby. There’s very little knowledge about this disorder at present which makes it difficult to get the correct support for him.

Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly, Marmalade Trust
Understanding Loneliness

Paul is a Facilitator, Trainer and Coach who uses his skills in the role as a ‘Marmalade Champion’. He’s worked closely with the CEO of the trust, Amy Perrin, to design and deliver ‘Understanding Loneliness’ sessions to thousands of people in the corporate, healthcare, retail, transport and third sector.

Charlotte Coxon
Charlotte Coxon, Civil Service Eating Disorders Network
Lifting the Lid on Eating Disorders

Charlotte’s lived experience of an eating disorder helps her reflect on how this impacted her life at university and as a young adult, alongside anxiety and depression. She supports others with eating disorders and is keen to help them to think differently about their bodies, food and emotions.

Reena Gudka
Reena Gudka, Civil Service Eating Disorders Network
Lifting the Lid on Eating Disorders

Senior Policy Adviser, Insurance and Pensions Markets Team, Financial Services Group, HMT, co-founder of CSEDN, Reena has been impacted by anorexia since her teens and is passionate about reducing the stigma around eating disorders in south Asian communities. She received a BEM in the 2023 New Year Honours List for her services to civil servants affected by eating disorders.

George Partida
George Partida, Civil Service Eating Disorders Network
Lifting the Lid on Eating Disorders

Terrorist Travel Disruptions Lead at the Home Office and co-founder of the CSEDN, George has lived experience of eating disorders and is passionate about changing the prevalence of diet culture in our society. She currently volunteers with the NHS to support eating disorder clinics in providing early intervention services to young people with eating disorders.

Matt Burgiss, GamCare
The Impact of Gambling

Matt has worked at GamCare for over four years in various roles and currently holds a dual role at the organisation – Project Managing TalkBanStop and Development Manager (seeking out new opportunities for GamCare focusing on hard to reach groups). Between 2011 and 2016 Matt experienced his own issues with gambling with his addiction and mental wellbeing spiralling out of control leading him to try to take his own life in February 2016. Since then he’s dedicated his professional life to reducing gambling related harm across the UK.

Matt Smith, GamCare
The Impact of Gambling

Matt is Head of External Affairs for Betknowmore UK. The charity is a UK-wide provider of support services in the National Gambling Support Network and runs peer support, outreach in the community and preventative training for organisations in multiple sectors. Matt has lived experience of gambling harm with just short of nine years in sustained recovery.

Dominique Webb, GamCare
The Impact of Gambling

Dominique is the Head of Programmes for GamCare, overseeing provision of awareness-raising and prevention across multiple sectors and audiences. She begun her career in advice work with the Citizens’ Advice network and subsequently worked in gender policy for the Equality and Human Rights Commission, followed by eight years in community generation. She believes providing accurate and independent information and support is vital in enabling people to exercise their rights, especially in the prison environment.

Mark Weiss, GamCare
The Impact of Gambling

Mark has spent over ten years working in policy and communications in the health sector, seeking to improve the lives of services users and the public. He has established the first external affairs team and GamCare along with his work at the Faculty of Public Health has been recognised in Parliament.

Annie Clements
Annie Clements, Autism and ADHD
Understanding Neurodivergent Burnout

Annie is the founder and CEO or Autism & ADHD and MY ND Place having been a voice for the Neurodivergent community across the world for over 20 years. She’s passionate about making what can seem complex into something straightforward and accessible for Neurodivergent individuals, their families, their workplaces and their services. She loves Formula 1 and used to scuba dive, rock and climb and jump out of aeroplanes, so she’ll find the conference a doddle!

Mo Bingham
Mo Bingham, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Mo is a Supply Chain Manager working in the Ministry of Defence. She is passionate about raising menopause awareness across DE&S, the wider MOD and pan Civil Service and created the MOD Menopause network in 2019. Mo works collaboratively to challenge perceptions and influence menopause policies and guidance. She was the winner of the Women in Defence Awards Unsung Heroine 2022. She lives in the Royal Forest of Dean district with a 15 year-old mad collie, and a rescue street dog. Oh and a husband!

Karen Canner
Karen Canner, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Karen’s been a Civil Servant for over 37 years and currently manages the Honours process for the MoJ. A few years ago she was diagnosed with peri-menopause, a term she hadn’t heard before and was advised on treatment. She sought help on her intranet but to no avail, so resolved to do something and set up the SWIM network, Supporting the Workplace in Menopause which now has almost 2,000 members. Karen also joined the Cross Government Menopause Network and represents MoJ on the Executive Committee. She shares her story so others don’t feel alone in what can be a frightening time of life and shares the support available across the MoJ and the Civil Service as a whole.

Julie Farrow
Julie Farrow, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Julie is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Civil Nuclear Safety Team at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero. She had a hysterectomy over 10 years ago and so immediately entered the menopause. On her return to work, she discovered that the menopause was often a taboo subject and there was little or no information on managing symptoms in the workplace. In 2018 Julie founded the BEIS Menopause Working Group with a small group of volunteers with an interest in breaking down the taboos and encouraging positive conversations about the menopause in the workplace. Julie received an MBE in 2020 for her work on diversity and inclusion, including on menopause.

Jacqui McBurnie
Jacqui McBurnie, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Jacqui works regionally as a Senior Programme Manager and is a registered nurse having completed training in menopause care. Alongside this role Jacqui established (and Chairs) the NHSE Menopause Network in 2018 to champion menopause awareness and support in the workplace. She produced the first NHSE Menopause Policy, access by self-referral to Peppy Health Nurse Specialists and reporting of ‘menopause related sickness’ in ESR.

Harriet Nowell-Smith
Harriet Nowell-Smith, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Harriet has worked for the Government Legal Department for 20 years, mostly in the Ministry of Justice and HM Treasury. She supports GLD’s Menopause Staff Network and is grateful for support from colleagues. Her experience with menopause-related migraines has encouraged Harriet to use a range of techniques to support mental health and wellbeing.  Successful navigation of this path enables Harriet to continue to pursue the career she loves, and she believes everyone should have this opportunity.

Dianne Parchment
Dianne Parchment, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Dianne is an experienced civil servant with a proven track record in operational delivery, project management, and team leadership. She is the Head of the Corporate team in Science & Innovation for Climate & Energy Directorate (SICE) at the Department of Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ). She has a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion and was previously a member of the Cross Government Social Mobility Network receiving several awards for her work. She’s an active member of the Ethnic Minority Women’s Working Group (EMWG) and leads Safe spaces events and co-leads the Shadowing scheme for ethnic minority and non-binary people.

Fatima Uzzaman
Fatima Uzzaman, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Fatima heads up Post 16 Funding Policy Implementation in the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).  She is the founder and Co-Chair of the Department for Education Menopause Network. A career civil servant she has undertaken various operational and policy and leadership roles across Government. She’s passionate about diversity and inclusion, staff networks and the role they can have in an organisation. Her journey into setting up a staff network was fueled by her own perimenopause experience, and after learning about the difficult experience of others in the department, for which workplace support was needed. She is an accomplished Chair of staff networks in previous government departments and is an multi-award winning civil servant.

Audrey Whelan
Audrey Whelan, Menopause Network
Menopause in the Workplace

Audrey leads the Enhanced Monitoring team in Counter Fraud and Prevention in the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).  She is Co-Chair of the DfE Menopause Network and a member of the Cross Government Menopause Executive. She started her career working for Royal Mail for 13 years before spells in social housing and the NHS. She started working in education in 2008, working in a maintained school which was subsequently academized. She joined the ESFA in 2019 and is passionate about making a difference, particularly in the peri/menopause space. Audrey is married and lives in Manchester with her husband and 21-year-old twin daughters.

Abigail Hirsham, Charlie Waller Trust
Looking after ourselves when supporting a child needing help

Abigail has over 25 years’ experience in mental health and wellbeing at work from a clinical, academic and delivery perspective. Prior to joining the Trust she was Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing for Acas. She has Masters degrees in both psychotherapy and psychology and previously sat as topic expert for the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on mental wellbeing at work. She co-chairs the mental health group for the Council of Work and Health, is an active member of several mental health at work advisory groups and regularly presents at national conferences.

Flavia Gapper
Flavia Gapper, Charity for Civil Servants
Closing Plenary

Flavia is Director of Help, Advice and Services at the Charity, having joined the Charity as Help and Advice Operations Manager in 2012. Her background includes heading up information and advice teams in charities, working in tourism and regeneration in Richmond and Hammersmith and Fulham, managing contracts, helplines, partnerships, teams and projects. At Roehampton University, Flavia was Centre and Partnerships Manager for a Centre of Teaching and Learning Excellence in Human Rights. She holds a CMI diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management and has experience in Project Management (Prince 2 Practitioner).

Here’s what our participants had to say

Thank you so much for this session – definitely came at the right time for me, and it's reassuring that I'm not the only one who feels like this.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing and the advice you have given to support others is fantastic. I will be sharing this with my team.
What a brilliant session – the energy and positivity of the panel has been amazing. I’ve found the discussions really uplifting and empowering.
Hearing so many personal and lived experiences in the sessions has really made me think so much more on what could be going on with the people I see everyday. It's so reassuring to know there is support and understanding out there.

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"That phone call made a long-term difference to how I felt about my situation and myself. I wouldn't be here today if I hadn't reached out to the charity."

Cecilia, Cabinet Office