InsideOut have announced their annual list of senior leadership role models and I am honoured to be included. From first-hand experience I know the importance of one’s mental wellbeing and the negative impact it can have on work and life if it isn’t taken care of proactively and thoroughly.

Daryl Woodhouse

Below is more information about this fantastic initiative if the topic interests you.

07 OCTOBER 2021 – Mental health action group InsideOut has today launched its third annual list of senior workplace leaders championing mental ill-health issues in the workplace. Dame Kelly Holmes and former Premier League Footballer, Clarke Carlisle, feature on this year’s list along with senior leaders from Deloitte, PWC, NatWest, JP Morgan and Sanofi.

Known as the InsideOut LeaderBoard, the list recognises business leaders who are open about their mental health journey to encourage their employees to talk about, share and protect their mental well-being. Since its inception two years ago, the list of role models has expanded exponentially to 210 leaders featured in 2021 – showing how conversations about mental health in the workplace are becoming less taboo.

This year, 100% of the senior leaders on the list had experienced bad mental health issues. They have been strongly advocating for encouraging the conversations surrounding mental health, which showcases the commitment of smashing the stigma of mental ill-health in the workplace. It’s a pivotal time for businesses to take care of their employees’ mental health and well-being, when the world is bouncing back from the pandemic.

Jen Fisher, Chief Well-being Officer, Deloitte US said: “As a leader and a colleague, I know that being open and honest about my own mental health challenges creates a safe space for others to also speak up and ask for help. The LeaderBoard provides me with a platform to help break the stigma and encourage others to create more psychologically safe workplaces.

For the first time leaders from outside of the UK – including leaders from the US, Australia, and China – have also been included on the list.

Individuals on the list are selected by the InsideOut LeaderBoard on the basis of applications or nominations solicited from across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Role Models are CEO or 3 stages removed; have experienced a period of mental ill-health personally or via a direct family member and in a period of management and recovery.

“The LeaderBoard is so important to actively encourage those who are making strides in this area. It shows that their hard work is being acknowledged, as well as encouraging them that there are others alongside them in their drive for systemic change and progress”, said Clarke Carlise, Former Premier League Footballer, Speaker & Mental Health Advocate.

InsideOut’s founder Rob Stephenson, who experiences bipolar disorder himself, said: “I started the InsideOut LeaderBoard to celebrate senior leaders who were playing their part in challenging the stigma of talking about mental health in the workplace. In just two years, the list has gone from 42 to 210 role models, which shows how times are changing. Mental health is an issue we all face, and the stress of the pandemic has taken a toll on all of us at work and in our personal lives. The more senior leaders share their experiences, it will encourage other staff to be open about how they’re doing and ultimately, build a healthy workplace culture where everyone feels connected and supported.”

InsideOut is a social enterprise launched by Stephenson in 2017 following the StevensonFarmer report, which identified that every year over 300,000 people lose their job due to mental ill-health, costing the UK economy £99bn.  Building on these findings, an updated 2020 report by Deloitte established that for every £1 spent by employers on mental health interventions, they get £5 back in reduced absence, presenteeism and staff turnover.

The full list can be accessed via

The Impact of COVID-19 on mental health

A recent forecast model from the Centre for Mental Health predicts that up to 10 million people (almost 20% of the population) will need either new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the crisis. 1.5 million of those will be children and young people under 18. [Forecasting needs and risks in the UK, 1 October 2020]. This will have huge financial implications for UK businesses. Analysis by Deloitte [22 January 2020], found that poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion each year. This was calculated before the impact of COVID-19.