SPEAKER – DARING TO INSPIRE

I have a message of hope, encouragement and resilience for those who suffer from mental illness and by talking about my experiences, I aim to help dispel the associated stigma, making it easier to reach out and get help.

DISPELLING THE STIGMA OF MENTAL ILLNESS

It took 17 years for me to get to the stage of being able to talk about my journey through depression.

As with any mental illness, it has not been an easy journey.  My first memorable experience of depression was when I was 11 and it was the start of a chronic disease that by 2000, had me preparing to commit suicide.

With help and support from my family, friends, the NHS and a great therapist, I now live a life that 18 years ago, I could not have dreamt possible.

Today, I talk about this journey and how I now use my daily freediving training to maintain my mental health.  These wellness activities helped me to achieve 5th place overall at the Freediving Individual Depth World Championships, 2017 and there is more to come!

HOW IS THIS RELEVANT TO YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS?

I have gained a lot of learning experiences over the years, from running my own jewellery business for 13 years to working in the telecom industry as an account manager and as a technical engineer.  Alongside the skills I have gained from freediving, I am able to adapt my speaking to incorporate appropriate business messages such as shareholder value, deadline importance, consistency, sustainability, safety etc.

It can also help individuals and business address the very sensitive issue of mental health and the pressures of performance at work.

In a society where 1 in 4 people will suffer from some sort mental health problem each year, we can no longer afford to let this stigma prevail.

TESTIMONIALS

“Helena’s talk was  unforgettable and thought provoking . She showed  that  we can all overcome really difficult moments in our own  personal or business life when we can share our experiences and are willing to help and support  each other.

People are at the very heart of all high performing teams whether it is an international freediving competition  or running a construction business.  We need both oxygen and cash to keep us all healthy.”

March 2018 @ The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Keith JonesHead of Commercial Services , Infrastructure – Skanska UK

Headline: Commercial graduates get together to understand the deal

Standfirst: Over 50 commercial graduates were joined by Amanda Clack, past president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and international freediver Helena Bourdillon at a laser focused networking event.

The event took place at the RICS building in London where the graduates were set tasks around understanding contract administration as well as how to increase productivity for high performance. They were also joined by two guests, Amanda Clack, past president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and international freediver, Helena Bourdillon, who shared their experiences as role models in their fields and the challenges they have experienced, which were crucial to their success.

Sponsor of the event Keith Jones, Head of Commercial Services, said: “The event brought together all of Skanska’s commercial graduates and gave them the opportunity to work together and to be consistent in the way contract administration is approached at Skanska.

“Helena Bourdillon is a Great Britain freediver and she made a fantastic link about being in the zone to be able to perform at your best, and this aligns perfectly to the behaviours needed to deliver Skanska’s laser focus plan. She also spoke of overcoming her mental health issues by channelling her mind into freediving so it is no longer a chronic disease.

“Immediate past president, Amanda Clack, also gave some insight into how the industry will change to meet the demands of the future, particularly around population growth, and how working towards a RICS qualification could help them prepare.”

Skanska Internal News LetterMay 2018

“Helena managed to tackle and present the difficult topic of mental health really well.  Generally, people do not like to talk about mental health, however she managed to make it less of a “taboo” by making the talk relevant to the audience and at the same time including occupation and personal history.  I have seen a few presentations on mental health and well-being and none of them had as many questions afterwards which shows that she developed a genuine interest in the subject matter.

The afternoon “breathing exercises” were a really good way to focus everyone after lunch and everyone seemed to have fun as well.  Learning to do something as basic as breathing properly could benefit some of the attendees in the long run as well.”

March 2018 @ The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Edward CSkanska Graduate Quantity Surveyor

“Very interesting to have a guest speaker talk about real life experiences outside of the construction industry but with related content”

March 2018 @ The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

GuestCommercial Developement Forum

“It was our immense pleasure to have Helena talk at the launch of Mulberry Freedivers.

I am not sure what I expected but I was blown away by an honest, frank yet often entertaining account of how freediving helped change and continues to help her on a personal level.

Great imagery and explanation of the sport and a true inspiration for what it is possible to achieve even in a person’s darkest hour!

I came away inspired and many of the club members have since spoken to me about how Helena has inspired them and to reach for their dreams.”

Selsey, September 2017

Anya FramptonMulberry Freedivers

If you are interested in having me talk to your business, school, club or society, please contact me to discuss your requirements.

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