NATASHA DEVON mbe
‘Working as an advocate for young people’s mental health, I give talks to students at schools and universities. By 2016, I’d worked with over 75,000 young people and I was named a mental health tsar by the Department of Education. But after I spoke out against their policies, I was sacked. The ensuing media storm pushed me over the edge. The anxiety I thought I’d dealt with in my early twenties resurfaced. The day I had a panic attack lying on my bed, I knew it was time to seek help again.
With hindsight, I can see that the days when my anxiety left me housebound have actually made me better at my job. They reminded me just how brutal mental illness can be.
In the 18 months since, my recovery has involved a lot of trial and error.
But with the help of a counsellor, I’m back to a place of relative balance.
NHS provisions for mental health aren’t poor simply because of a lack of awareness – Government spending cuts play a part, too. So now we’re talking, I want to encourage everyone to get their voice heard. Sign that petition; write to your MP; go on a protest. We’ve all started something – and it will take all of us to keep pushing forward.’ A Beginner’s Guide To Being Mental: An A-Z by Natasha Devon (Bluebird) is out on 31 May
‘Take action – we’ve got a long way to go’