The former mental health champion for schools in England, Natasha Devon, is writing A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental: An A-Z for Bluebird.
Devon was appointed as the mental health champion for schools in England, but the role was controversially axed after less than a year after she had spoken out at a headteacher’s conference about how the rigorous testing and academic pressure children faced as "detrimental" to their mental health. At the time the Department for Education denied the role was axed to silence criticism.
In A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental: An A-Z Devon will draw on her decade’s experience in the field of mental health, as well as insights from leading experts, to bring clarity to the topic.
Carole Tonkinson, publisher of Bluebird, acquired world rights from Anna Pallai at AMP Literary.
Devon currently tours schools and colleges throughout the UK delivering talks as well as conducting research on mental health, body image, gender and social equality and regularly gives evidence to the Education and Health Select Committees, representing the interests of teenagers and teachers.
In A Beginner’s Guide to Being Mental, she highlights mental health issues are not restricted to those people with mental illness, and with the global mental health conversation growing, encourages people to better understand the language they're using when discussing mental health. The book will be a lead title for Bluebird, publishing May 2018.
Devon said: "I’ve had an anxiety disorder since I was ten and I also experienced bulimia in my late teens and early twenties. Since recovering, I’ve had the privilege to travel all over the UK and beyond getting an understanding of people’s views and experiences as well as to have access to some of the world’s leading thinkers on mental health. This book is my attempt to package up everything I’ve learned so that readers can understand the ways they, as well as the people around them, think and behave."
Tonkinson added: "I have always wanted to publish a guidebook book for mental health that would open up conversations and attitudes in the way Our Bodies, Ourselves revolutionised our understanding of women's health. Natasha with her in-depth knowledge, wit and candour is just the person to write it. I have no doubt A Beginner's Guide to Being Mental will be the go-to book reference book we all need. I am thrilled to be working with her."