The celebrity speakers headlining Northamptonshire Health and Care Partnership’s Virtual Wellbeing Festival for 2021 have been now been announced. The festival, running from Monday 28 June to Friday 02 July, is a free, online event for all health and social care colleagues in Northamptonshire. We are welcoming six exciting and inspiring keynote speakers, including well-known faces from the world of television, sport and literature.

Ruby Wax holding 'the mind'Ruby Wax, the award-winning television, stage and radio star and well-known mental health advocate is joining the festival this year. She has spoken openly about her own mental health experience and is an expert on psychology, human behaviour and communication.

Ruby, a leading speaker on mental health issues, is also the best-selling author of ‘Sane New World’, ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’, ‘And Now For The Good News’, and ‘How To Be Human’. Awarded an OBE in 2015 for her services to mental health, Ruby will appear twice during our week-long festival: first at midday on Monday 28 June to talk about her own experience of mental illness, then again at 2.30pm on Friday 2 July to facilitate a ‘Frazzled’ session – where she’ll show us how to ‘de-frazzle’ with simple changes that give us time to breathe, reflect and live in the moment.

Amazin LeThi - ready for actionGlobal Vietnamese LGBTQ+ sports and human rights advocate and thought leader Amazin LeThi is joining the Virtual Wellbeing Festival at midday on Tuesday 29 June. She will be talking about her personal journey of homelessness to becoming one of the most visible and influential LGBTQ+ advocates in the world.

Born in Saigon where she was left in an orphanage by her mother, Amazin is a transracial adoptee who grew up in an all-white background. After being bullied constantly as a young child she went into bodybuilding at the tender age of six, going on to become a competitive bodybuilder in her teens and then qualifying as a strength and conditioning coach.

Andy Cope wearing a 'Happy' T-shirtBest-selling author and happiness expert Andy Cope appreciates that his ‘Dr of Happiness’ label is terribly cheesy but it affords him an important media platform. In times of rising depression and an epidemic of ‘busyness’, Andy believes there has never been a more appropriate time to raise the happiness agenda, and he’ll be discussing this and more in his keynote session at midday on Wednesday 30 June.

Andy has spent the last 10 years studying positive psychology, happiness and flourishing, culminating in a Loughborough University PhD thesis. His books such as ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’, ‘Be Brilliant Everyday’ and ‘The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager’, address how to be a happier, more motivated and positive person.

Efrem Brynin and Dan Cross from StrongMenDan Cross and Efrem Brynin both appeared on Channel 4’s SAS Who Dares Wins and will be using their appearance at this year’s event to chat about recovery from mental health issues.

Dan and Efrem, who met on the C4 programme, say it was clear they both had the same vision to help others based on their own experiences. The pair, who are scheduled to speak at midday on Thursday 1 July, have both endured significant loss. They founded the bereavement support charity StrongMen, where they use the synergy between good physical and mental health to aid recovery. They are passionate about using their experiences to help others by focusing on fitness, nutrition, resilience and the bond created by people suffering the same loss.

Sports star, Gareth ThomasSports star Gareth Thomas, one of the most iconic and respected figures in world rugby, will be sharing details about his life and experiences and discussing LGBTQ+ issues during his Festival appearance at midday on Friday 2 July. Gareth was the first high-profile sportsman in the world to come out as gay whilst still playing. In 2019 Gareth Thomas further inspired when he announced that he is living with HIV. His revelation was welcomed as an important step in breaking down stigma and helping the world better understand the subject.

… and lots more festival activities to enjoy!

As well our six fantastic keynote speakers there’s lots more wellbeing activities on offer at this year’s Virtual Wellbeing Festival for
colleagues to enjoy. It’s a fully online event with live sessions accessed through Microsoft Teams and pre-recorded material accessible
online on the Virtual Wellbeing Festival website.

If you don’t get the chance to join live, you’ll be able to watch all the sessions back at your leisure.