Mental health professor and former Alexander McQueen designer to speak at EDP and Tortoise mental health event

PUBLISHED: 17:42 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 17:42 08 October 2019

Slow journalism venture Tortoise is set to host a ThinkIn - an open editorial conference - on solving the mental health crisis in the EDP's newsroom. Photo: Tortoise

Slow journalism venture Tortoise is set to host a ThinkIn - an open editorial conference - on solving the mental health crisis in the EDP's newsroom. Photo: Tortoise

©Andrew Testa

A former fashion designer who quit her job due to burnout and a professor of psychology are set to speak at a Norwich event about solving the mental health crisis.

Slow journalism venture Tortoise has teamed up with the Eastern Daily Press (EDP) and Norwich Evening News (NEN) to an host an event debating the topic, which has been described as "one of the great issues of our time".

Tortoise will be hosting a ThinkIn - one of their open editorial conferences - in the heart of the EDP and NEN's newsroom this week, with special guests, mental health experts, and more than 60 EDP readers and Tortoise members sharing their views, knowledge and expertise.

And ahead of the event, set to be held on Thursday, October 10, experts Marie Oakes and Nicholas Walsh have shared their views on how we can address the issue.

Mrs Oakes, 43, a former fashion designer from Norwich, who worked for brands from Alexander McQueen to Marks and Spencers, endured a "15 year battle with anorexia and bulimia".

She said: "I felt like I couldn't control the environment I was in.

"Eventually I had a breakdown and had to leave."

But she added: "I realised I could change how I thought about things.

"I love to share my story and part of that love is about how I can help other people.

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"I think its such an important thing - [mental health] can take over 15-20 years of your life. It's that understanding and for me the big thing is bringing awareness."

And Nicholas Walsh, professor of psychology at the University of East Anglia (UEA), said: "I teach the first year mental health module, and the statistics show for young people in particular, mental health problems are increasing.

"Speaking as a lecturer, we began to see how many students were having difficulties, or having to have time off, or were receiving treatment for mental health.

"It's been in the last year, or so, it's really grown."

Mr Walsh, 40, added: "We don't really measure these things but there's a pressure to keep up, a lack of sleep, social pressures like performance on social media."

"I think the world young people have grown up in is very different to the world I grew up in."

The ThinkIn will be held at Prospect House, in Norwich, from 9am.

- To book a free ticket, visit the Tortoise website.

- And for information about the EDP's Mental Health Watch Campaign, visit our website.

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