Poppy Jaman OBE, and CEO of the City Mental Health Alliance CMHA) is a pivotal figure in the mental health campaigning community.
Poppy helped create the CMHA to make the city of London a healthier place to work. The London CMHA is a forum where senior leaders of London businesses can cooperate and share best practice on reducing stigma, improving the literacy and identifying practical steps that businesses can take to help their people remain well. The CMHA is currently a 23-strong membership organisation, with the biggest firms in the City now committed to improving the mental health of their organisations. The Alliance has been so impactful that it is has now becoming a global initiative, with the Hong Kong CMHA becoming established in November 2017.
Poppy Jaman was also the CEO of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England for nine years and is now the company’s ambassador. MHFA England is training organisation that provides tailored programmes to raise awareness of mental health and offers practical support to a range of communities including business, schools and the armed forces. Poppy led the Community Interest Company from its humble beginnings as a project for the Department of Health to a global social enterprise, making a profound impact. In February 2016, MHFA England was placed ninth on the Fortuna 50 index of the fastest-growing women-led small businesses in the UK. In 2017the organisation was recognised by the FT as one of the fastest growing SME’s in Europe. Poppy’s work has ensured the Government’s commitment have a Youth MHFA Champion in every school in England by 2020.
At policy level, Poppy led the 2013 review of the Mental Health Pledge of the Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal. Poppy has also worked with Norman Lamb MP, former Minister of State for Community and Social Care, and the Department for Work and Pensions to look into the possibility of introducing mental health as a requirement in current statutory regulations around first aid provision. On World Mental Health Day 2017, Poppy was invited to deliver a briefing to the Cabinet at No.10 Downing Street on plans to roll out a national programme of Mental Health First Aid training to one million people.
Internationally, Poppy worked very closely with the 24 other countries where MHFA is being proactively taught, reviewing best practice and comparing learnings. At the request of the Ugandan government, she visited the country to impart her knowledge on mental health literacy for the Ugandan Peoples Defence Force and a programme of mental health awareness training has since been rolled out within this community. Poppy also continues to support the development of MHFA in Bangladesh and in March 2015, she led a team to deliver the first ever MHFA Instructor training in the country. Further to this, Poppy played an instrumental role in securing the funding to develop and launch the Armed Forces MHFA programme, which has to date trained 6,600 people in Armed Forces MHFA.
In her work at a global level Poppy is a member of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership (IIMHL) and the International CIty and urban Regional CoLlaborativE (I-CIRCLE). These are international cooperatives that promote innovation sharing, networking and problem solving across countries and agencies with the aim of improving approaches to mental health and promoting mental wellbeing in urban areas.
Over her career, Poppy has worked in a number of roles which have required her to challenge the public’s perception of mental ill health. Through her diverse networks and non-executive board positions, she has played an instrumental part in making mental health a high priority for public and private sector employers.
Poppy is keen to see that change doesn’t just happen at an organisational level. It also need to be supported at a city level as every aspect of city life is connected to mental health. Cities have the ability to convene stakeholders, leverage resources and drive action on mental well-being. The power of this has been seen in London with the City Mental Health Alliance and Poppy wants to take these findings to other cities and widen the discussion to help all individuals in all cities from all cultures and create a stigma-free world where everyone can access the support and compassion they need, when they need it
Poppy has supported the development and launch of CMHA in Hong Kong, briefed the First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray on work in London, supported and advised the Chair of Mpower on the development of Mental Health literacy in Mumbai, and consulted with the city of Toronto.
A powerful public speaker, Poppy delivered the keynote to launch the ‘Mental Health First Aid Instructor Summit 2017: Inspiration. Education. Affirmation. She was the keynote speaker at the Crime Prevention and Sport conference at Stoke City Foorball Club in December 2017 and in April 2015, opened the landmark Mental Health Conference at University of Dhaka Bangladesh to launch the Wellbeing Foundation.
In the 2018 New Year’s Honours Poppy was awarded and OBE in recognition of her services to people with mental health issues. An accomplished and skilled communicator, Poppy presents at high profile conferences and events and regularly contributes to national media interviews, both print and broadcast.