Specialises in young people's emotional wellbeing and mental health and emotional literacy in educational settings. She is one of the world's leading experts in TOC applications for behaviour and has published both articles and a book on this subject; Storytelling For Better Behaviour. Debi has also written for the Royal Society of Public Health, creating their Adult Mental Health Course and acting as a consultant for their Youth Mental Health Course.
Debi is the voluntary UK Director for TOC For Education (www.tocforeducation.com), a not for profit organisation that disseminates TOC thinking tools to young people and those responsible for them and is also a Trustee for Students4Students (www.students4students.org.uk) a charity that provides student mentors aged 16 and above to work with primary school children who need extra support with literacy and or numeracy to transition well into secondary education.
Debi has three children and has worked in education and health for 25 years. She currently works for YC Hertfordshire (formerly Youth Connexions) as a Project Officer overseeing their RSPH (Royal Society for Public Health) Youth Health Champions Course and the Empathy Project.
I was first exposed to suicide when I was 7 years when my half brother tried to take his own life several times. As a result of this from an early age I considered it as an option within my frame of reference. This has led to a number of suicide attempts in the past. Having addressed my issues, I want to ensure that no young person feels like suicide is their only option and that they have the support to speak out. The OLLIE Foundation does critical work raising awareness of suicide, breaking the stigma surrounding it; but most importantly providing specific training to give people the skills to have difficult conversations and keep young people safe and it's a privilege to be part of it.
For Amy, working for OLLIE also has personal meaning. She said “I’ve struggled with my mental health since childhood and it wasn’t until my early adult years I began to seek help to address the issues I faced every day. Although I did find some comfort in getting the help I needed, I still continued to struggle with depression and the impact it had on my every day life. This led to a series of suicide attempts.
Following my last attempt, I have been on a crucial journey of recovery. I’d given up work but was finding without a purpose, my life was becoming too ‘comfortable’ I needed more, I wanted to use my experiences to help others. I began to research charities that worked to support mental health, this is when I came across The OLLIE Foundation. When I read the story behind why the charity was set up I was not only touched but also deeply inspired. The people behind OLLIE wanted to use their experiences with suicide to change other peoples’ lives, just as I want to. It seemed like the perfect match and I’m so glad I found them! In helping the charity, I’m helping myself as well as others to cope with the devastating effects of suicide.”
“Since TJ died my world has become an emptier place. If I can do anything to stop others experiencing this then that’s what I must do.”
Chris Sibley, Founder