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!)

  • Award-winning mental health campaigner
  • Public speaker around wellbeing and mental health
  • InsideOut Leaderboard role model
  • Ambassador for Mind, the mental health charity
  • Marathon runner (36 marathons and 5 ultras as of April 2021)
  • HR Director
  • Very happy wife, son and friend
  • A child of God

you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir

Galatians 4:7

And you REALLY are doing TWENTY marathons in 2020?

I certainly intended to but the pandemic put paid to those ambitious plans. Therefore I will now be running 21 marathons in 2021 instead. Find out about #21in2021 here!

I’m supporting great causes in Mind, the Running Charity, Lupus UK and Football Beyond Borders.

Tell us more about being a mental health campaigner and ambassador...

It’s not as formal as it sounds!! 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. Recent 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)

Other media credits include...

  1. BBC Radio Five Live
  2. BBC Asian Network
  3. The Guardian
  4. Runners World UK
  5. Me and My Mental Illness (Channel 5 documentary which won a 2017 Mind Media Award)

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!

My wife and I have been privileged to work with Heads Together and Kensington Palace on their great campaigns with the FA

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.

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 wellbeing and mental health corporate events. I have spoken at This Can Happen in 2019 and at the Wellbeing @ Work Summit 2020
  • 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

Upcoming appearances and events

  1. BBC Songs of Praise – Sunday 23 May 2021 (BBC Television)
  2. Healthspan Show – Friday 14 May 2021
  3. D&I Leaders – Mental Health at Work 2021 – Friday 7 July 2021
  4. Great Conversations @ Monzo – Emerging Authentically from Lockdown – Thursday 6 May 2021

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.

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.

In more recent 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.

As you will see from the film below, it is a privilege to help them to save and transform lives in the same way they did mine.

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…

  • Running
  • 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!
  • Faith
  • Sport

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 the West End of London
  • 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

Marathon Seven - Denbies Vineyard
21in2021
Rohan Kallicharan

#21in2021 Journal: Seven Up, One Down

It’s about time we had an update. My latest #21in2021 Journal tells you about the seven races finished – Seven Up!

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Featured Posts
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Humanity over misogyny, love over hatred

Why humanity must be bigger than misogyny and how the words of Piers Morgan spark an issue much deeper than the Royal Family or mental health

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Homelessness
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Connecting the dots and looking back

I reflect here on the powerful words of Steve Jobs, on how connecting the dots of our past are so important to our present and future.

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Human Resources
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Podcast: People, Culture & Tech – purpose and happiness at work

I’ve been a regular guest on the People, Culture & Tech webinar & podcast series. Recently, we spoke about purpose and happiness at work.

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Media
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Podcast: The Happy Employee – February 2021

On Time to Talk Day, I joined Mike on the Happy Employee Podcast to talk mental health, both how we look after our own and support friends.

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Media
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Podcast: 40 Minute Mentor – December 2020

Just before Christmas, I joined a great panel on the 40 Minute Mentor for a raw and honest discussion about mental health and wellbeing.

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Running and mental wellbeing - best friends
Mental Health
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Running and mental wellbeing – best of friends

This week I spoke with Nige from the Runners Cafe about running and mental wellbeing, as part of his Mental Health Awareness Week edition.

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Lime Street Station & The Clock
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Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 – Small Things, Great Impact

Ahead of Mental Health Awareness Week, I remember the kindness that saved my life. Small things, great impact. We can all save lives.

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The Frank Styles installation on the iconic Spanish Steps - One In Four in partnership with Mind and the EFL
Football
Rohan Kallicharan

One in four

I’ve been involved in many mental health campaigns… this is a little different! One in Four combines art, football & mental health.

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