Natasha Devon

First aid for the mind

(How to Support a Friend with their Mental Health)

Peer support was recommended by the Department for Education as a good way to combat the growing mental health crisis in young people in 2015. However, peer support needs to happen in defined parameters and many schools report the mental health of peer mentors suffering as a result of taking on responsibility for the wellbeing of their friends.
In this session, suitable for Year 9 and above, Natasha explores what good peer support looks like, mental health first aid techniques, how to listen nonjudgmentally and why we cannot ‘fix’ our friends.

Natasha Devon MBE is a writer & activist. She tours schools and colleges throughout the UK, delivering talks as well as conducting research on mental health, body image, gender and social equality. She campaigns both on and offline to make the world a fairer place.

Natasha regularly speaks at Parliament and gives evidence to the Education and Health Select Committees, representing the interests of teenagers and teachers. In 2015 she was awarded an MBE for her services to young people and in 2016 the Sunday Times and Debretts named her one of the 500 most influential people in Britain.

Natasha writes regularly for the Guardian, is a former columnist for Cosmopolitan Magazine and currently has a weekly column in the Times Educational Supplement. You might have seen her on Sky News, This Morning, BBC3’s ‘How to Live with Women’ or Channel 4’s ‘Gok’s Teens’ and ‘The Beach’. Natasha’s ‘mind manual’  -‘A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental: An A-Z’ – was published in May 2018, by Bluebird Books at Pan MacMillan.

Natasha is a patron for the charity No Panic, which provides advice and support for people struggling with anxiety. She is a qualified instructor for Mental Health First Aid England and Beat, the UK’s largest eating disorder charity. Additionally, Natasha works with charities The Mix and Student Minds. She is also a fellow of University of Wales: Aberystwyth and advises them, as well as Coventry University: London, on campus wellbeing.

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