Real Talk

Lily Asch wants to tackle the stigma around mental ill-health with Real Talk, a mental health storytelling social enterprise. She was awarded £500 seed funding as part of Firstport's partnership with Good Ideas Academy at The Melting Pot.

1 in 4 people suffer from mental illness at any one point in their lives, it is a statistic we’ve all heard before, yet experiences of stigma and discrimination around mental ill health are still rife. It got me thinking, what can I do to change this?

Lily is a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh. During her second year at university, she gave a TEDxUniversityofEdinburgh talk sharing her experience with mental illness as a young person. She said:

Not only was it powerful for me to share my story but I was amazed by how it opened the floor for others to share their own insights and experiences with me.

That’s how her idea for Real Talk started to develop.

Real Talk is a mental health storytelling social enterprise. It creates safe space to speak and to listen about mental ill health.

Their main activity is running mental health storytelling events, where real stories are told by real people to an open audience. They also deliver bespoke storytelling and wellbeing workshops and consultancy for organisations. In the future they hope to build and deliver a corporate well-being training programme.

Real Talk benefits both the people who are telling their stories and the audience listening. The process of crafting and telling your personal story can be incredibly powerful. Hearing another person share their story, being honest and vulnerable, is a moving experience and can spur more open conversations about mental ill-health.

She has already run 12 Real Talk events, including expanding to run sessions in Glasgow, and has received great feedback and engagement. 44 participants have now shared their story to over 450 audience members, with several audience members coming back to speak at subsequent sessions.

Lily used her £500 award to help build a website for her enterprise, which you can visit here.

If you had £500, how would you use it to change your world for the better? Find out more about Pounds for Purpose, our new competition for 16 to 26 year olds.