Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England CEO, Poppy Jaman, has been awarded an OBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours in recognition of her services to people with mental health issues.

Poppy’s passion for driving change in mental health began as a young woman, following her own experience of post-natal depression. Growing up in an economically deprived area of Portsmouth also helped Poppy to develop an understanding of the challenges facing people with mental health issues, particularly among diverse groups.

With around 20 years’ experience of influencing and leading change in public mental health, Poppy has worked in a number of roles which have required her to challenge the public’s perception of mental ill health. During this time Poppy also obtained a Masters in Business Administration and co-founded MHFA England and the City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), the two organisations she now leads.

In addition to this, Poppy sits on the board of Public Health England (PHE) as a non-executive director (NED) and advises on public mental health and community development, drawing attention to the connection of physical health with mental health in order to improve public mental health across the country. In her role as a NED she is also the PHE lead on Diversity and Staff Inclusion.

Through her diverse networks and non-executive board positions, Poppy has sought to make mental health a high priority for public and private sector employers throughout her career as a mental health advocate.

On receiving news of her award, Poppy said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be among the many talented and dedicated individuals recognised in 2018's New Year’s Honours for their contributions to public life. The very fact that mental health advocates are beginning to be recognised at this level is an indication of the progress our whole community has made in recent years to change public perceptions of mental illness and mental health. It’s truly a privilege to receive this honour and with so much achieved in 2017, I now look forward to building on this progress in the year to come.”