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Talking FreELY & Ely College host teen mental health awareness event with MBE guest speaker

Talking FreELY and Ely College are working together to provide an event ‘by students, for students’ with the aim of encouraging them to talk openly about their mental health.

The mental health of children and young adults has been increasingly in the news in recent months, with organisations such as Young Minds campaigning for the government to place more emphasis on preventative measures and to give young people a voice when it comes to their own mental health.

The event will follow a similar format to events held previously by Talking FreELY, on this occasion, with the signature ‘talking volunteers’ and pop-up cafe being run by Bishop Laney Sixth Form students, as they invite younger students and other local schools to join in the discussion as part of their annual PLEDGES and Futures Day.

Anthony Sigrist, CEO of Talking FreELY, says ‘We are delighted to be working with Ely College. Incidence of mental illness amongst young people is increasing more rapidly than within any other age group yet it is often overlooked. Projects like ours are essential in supporting our young people and making a lasting impact on how society perceives and tackles mental illness, now, and in the future.’

Principal, Richard Spencer added to this: “Talking openly about mental health is critical to identifying issues and targeting support. We are so pleased to be working with Talking FreELY, and are honoured to welcome Natasha Devon on 22nd January as we celebrate another positive PLEDGES and Futures Day centred on personal well-being. We hope that this event will bring together Ely people to share perspectives, experiences and solutions.”

From 4pm the event will open to the general public with a Talking FreELY pop-up cafe and a discussion hosted by renowned mental health writer, campaigner and pundit Natasha Devon MBE.

Natasha tours schools and colleges throughout the UK, delivering talks as well as conducting research on mental health, body image, gender and social equality. She regularly gives evidence to the Education and Health Select Committees, representing the interests of teenagers and teachers. In 2016 she was named one of the 500 most influential people in Britain by The Times and Debretts and was awarded an MBE for services to young people in 2015.

The event will be free of charge, for all to attend. This event is not just for teens and their parents. Join the conversation as other local mental health and wellbeing organisations will be attending to share information about their projects.