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Recent speaking events

Merryl Hammond promotes "Mental Health Immunity" and talks about living with bipolar disorder

Merryl Hammond promotes "Mental Health Immunity" and talks about living with bipolar disorder

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Conference #17 - Mad Like Me: Bipolar Disorder from a Patient's Perspective *UPDATED*

Conference #17 - Mad Like Me: Bipolar Disorder from a Patient's Perspective *UPDATED*

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What can I offer as a speaker?

I love public speaking, I have a proven track record with a wide variety of target groups, and I’m confident that I can assure your audience a powerful and memorable learning experience. Let’s talk!


I can offer any or a combination of:

  • keynote speeches

  • interactive sessions

  • full-day or longer workshops

  • participatory events

  • webinars

  • story sharing sessions

  • any other suggestion you may have after reading the section about my background as a speaker below!

My background as a speaker

I have always enjoyed public speaking and debating, and in fact was able to pay my way through university with a grant I won in a national speaking contest in high school.


For my entire career, I’ve been a public speaker/teacher of one kind or another. I have:

  • lectured groups of over two hundred fourth-year medical students and at age 24 was voted “best teacher” by the students (while there, I implemented a novel, interactive method of “modular teaching,” and edited 3 textbooks using this approach, published by Oxford University Press);

  • taught post-graduate doctors doing the Diploma in Public Health, and served on the Curriculum Reform Committee of the Medical School, pushing to change the curriculum to better meet the needs of South Africa’s black communities;

  • qualified in Nursing Education;

  • designed, implemented and evaluated a unique new 2-year university course for nurses and doctors working in rural areas of South Africa, the Diploma in Primary Health Care Education;

  • got a PhD in adult education, learning more about how to make learning and teaching situations as participatory and empowering as possible (my doctoral thesis was later adapted and published by Kogan Page in London, UK, under the title “Self-Directed Learning: Critical Practice”);

  • taught young children and their families about social justice and environmental issues and published a book (“One World, One Earth: Educating Children for Social Responsibility”);

  • led a national campaign to end the cosmetic use of pesticides, during which I addressed numerous meetings, protests, and government leaders including the federal Minister of Health, and published a book, “Pesticide Bylaws: Why we need them; how to get them”;

  • taught groups of Indigenous lay health workers in both face-to-face workshops and by distance education;

  • taught youth to become co-researchers on federally-funded health projects of vital importance to their communities;

  • designed a curriculum and learning materials about participatory research for international doctors;

  • addressed government agents, academics and policy makers about the need to consider the realities of Indigenous communities in their project planning and funding decisions.

Please see my CV and my list of publications for more details.

More recently, from 2014 until 2017 I was a member of Toastmasters, an international organization that promotes excellence in public speaking, and whose mission is to “empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.” I received a “Competent Communicator” award in 2015, “Advanced Communicator Bronze” award in 2016, and “Competent Leader” award in 2017. I won the “Best Speaker Award” at numerous club meetings and represented my club at many local, area and division-level speech contests, placing first in several of them. In late 2017 I retired from Toastmasters to start doing improv. I’ve found the spontaneity and ability to think on your feet that improv demands to be an excellent discipline to keep me on my toes as a public speaker.

Toastmasters Awards.jpg

My Toastmasters Awards

How to introduce me to your audience

Depending on the topic of your event, who your target audience is, where I would be placed in the program, and how much time you’d like to give to each speaker’s introduction, I will draft a suggested introduction about myself that you could simply edit and use on the day.


No hassles; no extra tasks for you to be concerned about. I’m here to help you create the best possible event!

Reach out!

To book me for an interview or speaking gig, please contact me.

Virtual Book Club Visits

I offer free “virtual book club visits” via Skype! If you have a book club that you would like me to “visit”, please email me and I will happily Skype with you during your book club meeting to do a short reading, discuss any aspect of the book, answer questions, and encourage story-sharing about mental illness.

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