Who is Rohan Kallicharan?
Last updated: April 2021
I was fortunate enough, at the time when I started this website, that one of my friends in journalism happened to be featuring me in a piece she was writing around mental health.
In doing so, she was kind enough (in return for copious amounts of coffee!) to do a separate interview which would form the basis of this ‘about me’ page.
There has, of course been change and evolution, since 2018 but the essence of that interview remains with periodic refreshes to ensure that what you are reading is accurate and up to date.
Who are you... in no more than 5 bullet points? (I changed it to 8!)
Tell us more about your work in the mental health space
My own life was massively impacted by mental ill health, living undiagnosed with bipolar disorder for close to fifteen years, only getting a diagnosis after three suicide attempts. I realise that every day of my life is a gift that could have been denied to me in different circumstances, which drives my determination to give others hope long before they hit their darkest moments.
As a campaigner, I am involved in campaigns around mental health awareness and wellbeing in the public space. Examples include:
Sky News – 3 January 2020 – discussing the Take A Minute Campaign – the main interview starts at around 3 minutes
The Britain Get Talking campaign was featured on Britain’s Got Talent in 2020
(PLEASE DO NOT TRY TEXT OR DONATE – THE CAMPAIGN IS NO LONGER LIVE)
So it's all about the fame then??
Ha! Nope, the less publicity the better, but if I am going to put myself out there as a campaigner and advocate, that means sharing my story and often doing so in the most impactful way means in a public space. Moments like those below are a by-product and privilege but certainly not my why!
But the majority of your work is elsewhere?
Absolutely correct. It’s such a privilege for me to be able to raise mental health awareness in communities where it can really impact, and that’s what typically allows me to choose the projects I am involved in.
At different points, I’ve spoken in schools, churches and prisons and I an inevitably passionate about challenging stigma in ethnic minority communities.
As an HR leader, I am a recognised speaker around workplace wellbeing and a member of the InsideOut Leaderboard and Stab
My work typically includes:
- Working with all types of companies from global corporate to small business, and giving talks and presentations to their people to provide them with practical insights to manage their own wellbeing and to support others. Companies I’ve worked with include Canada Life, Sovos, JBM, Flight Centre, Heineken, Anytime Fitness, Societe Generale, The Royal Academy of Arts, Dentons, Eiffage Kier and Accenture
- Giving keynote talks and appearing on panels at global wellbeing and mental health corporate events
- Appearing on webinars and podcasts around wellbeing, resilience and workplace culture
- Speaking in schools and universities to encourage young people to openly learn more and speak about mental wellbeing
- Raising cross-cultural awareness, particularly in Black and East Asian communities – I have spoken in churches, temples and synagogues among others
And what's your relationship with Mind?
Simply put, I truly believe that Mind saved my life. After fifteen years of illness and 3 suicide attempts, it was them who led me back to the NHS for a diagnosis which gave meaning and dignity to the chaos. They were also able to educate me and my friends / family about my illness.
For many years, it’s been a privilege to be an Ambassador and be part of their own journey which has transformed how we view mental wellbeing and which has enabled them to save and transform lives in the same way they did mine.
In late 2021, I was elected as a Trustee of Mind, a hugely humbling moment for me. It is really exciting to be joining the Board to support the organisation in embedding a new strategy, with development priorities to become a truly anti-racist organisation, support young people and fight for the mental health of those in poverty. To be able to use my professional skills in enabling Mind to build on their 75 year history and sustain their success.
How can people book you?
Please use the form on the contact page to discuss any events or projects which you think I can help you to impact.
I do have a full-time career so I am selective about the projects to which I commit, but my commitment is unparalleled once you have it.
Why do you want to share your thoughts and life on a website?
- I find writing to be very therapeutic, and it is a really great way to stimulate the mind and reflect on my own thoughts
- If I can impact on just one life through sharing my own experiences, it gives meaning to the road that I walked of mental illness and homelessness
- I hope I can inspire others to see way past their boundaries. Recovery is only the beginning of the journey, there is so much beyond
What will you be writing about?
Whatever randomly comes into my mind? Although, this will likely consist of…
- Awareness and reflections around mental health and homelessness
- Food… I’ll not be sharing expertise but I can very easily give a good thumbs-up or down!
PS – I tend to find that running and food go hand-in-hand!!
Where does life happen?
- I do life very happily, with my wife, in SW London where you can typically find me running around the Commons of Clapham, Wandsworth and Tooting Bec, as well as along the river in and around Battersea Park
- Food happens where there’s a good promo (and often where there isn’t!)… and there are plenty of suitable venues to be found (during lockdown, food has been happening at home!)
- Work is in Central London … or at home, you have to remember we’re in the Hybrid era!
- I marathon wherever I can; I’ve so far run the iconic 26.2 miles in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and the USA
- I’m from the wonderful city of Birmingham but have my real sense of home in Liverpool where I studied and have spent many wonderful days and nights with my lifelong bird, the Liver Bird of Liverpool Football Club
How do you...
Rate the progress being made around mental health awareness in the UK?
We’ve come a long way but not far enough. I love that we can now speak very openly around mental illness but there is still a real lack of resource and knowledge.
Simply put, two people will take their own life every hour in England and Wales, and that tells me that we still have a long way to go.
Manage to run 60+ miles per week, be a husband, and fit in a working day?
Easy, I run into work and often run back… it’s a lot cheaper than the Tube and much more relaxing!
Keep in shape and still be a big foodie?
I run 60+ miles a week… and then eat all of the things!
Describe the journey you’ve been on?
The work of God. How else can I describe a life transformed from the depths of suicide attempts and homelessness, a life without hope, to one where I am constantly filled with purpose and the hope that I can reach out and impact other lives.
Writing about mental health
Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, I remember the kindness that saved my life. Small things, great impact. We can all save lives.