Our Reason

Empowering Others Through Our Shared Experiences In The Dark: Lighting The Way To A Brighter Future:

As experienced mental health professionals, we draw strength from our personal journeys with mental ill health. This unique perspective allows us to offer support and guidance with empathy and passion.

Our lived experiences give us insight into the difficulties of navigating poor mental health, which drives us to make a positive impact on the lives of others and help shine a light on the path to recovery.

Oly Newton motivational speaker from Lights On Mental doing a talk on red january run4yourmind
Oly's story

Oly Newton

Motivational Speaker | Consultant in Mental Health

Founder: Lights On Well Being | Run4YourMind Foundation

From darkness to the light

Oly lost 10 years of his life to severe mental illness. Prior to that, he was a confident and outgoing 22-year-old with endless possibilities. He’d suddenly found himself trapped and consumed by negative thoughts, OCD, anxiety, and depression. The days quickly became very dark, and all the things he used to enjoy and the people he loved to see fast become a thing of the past.

Five years ago the discovery of running “saved his life”. This allowed him to temporarily escape the constraints of his mental illness and in time rediscover his love for life again. Through running, great people, and “learning to become comfortable feeling uncomfortable”- His confidence and self-belief grew, which in time enabled him to step out of the dark and back in to the light.

Today, he’s a thriving International Lived Experience Speaker, Mental Health Advocate, and Mental Health First Aid Trainer, sharing his story and inspiring others to seek help and embrace their own journey of personal recovery. He delivers talks and training sessions on mental health and wellness all around the world, offering hope to those who are struggling with their own mental health challenges.

His goal now is to serve as a positive influence and support system for those struggling with mental illness. For World Mental Health Awareness Month this May 2023, Oly and a colleague are embarking on 100 Talks For Change, a speaking tour across the UK to raise awareness on the prevalence of youth mental ill health and promote change, empowering these young people to find their voices and be heard. Over 20 days they will be delivering 100 free talks, across 50 schools, impacting over 10,000 lives, and raising funds for mental health charities.

Through his speaking engagements and activism, he aims to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and inspire others to take control of their own wellbeing. He believes he’s proof that even in the face of adversity, it is possible with a diagnosed mental illness to reclaim your life, and find happiness and purpose.

Oly is the founder of Run4YourMind Foundation, Lights On Well Being, and co-founder of Talks for Change Co.

Kate O'Leary Lights On Well Being doing a live talk about Mental Health
Kate's story

Kate O'Leary

Consultant in Mental Health | Person-Centred Counsellor

Mental Health First Aid Instructor | Mental Health Speaker

Inspired by experience

Kate worked in marketing for some of the biggest brands in the UK for over 20 yrs. On her way to work one day, she had a panic attack. This kick-started her journey towards a career in mental health.

After many panic attacks, she sought counselling. And over time, discovered a great passion for the positive influence that counselling and psychoeducation can have on people’s lives. So started training to become a Person-Centred counsellor.

Since then, she qualified as a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Trainer, worked as a Mental Fitness Coach, and shared her journey to recovery as a Mental Health Speaker. She’s also a Mental Health Teacher in high schools across England, teaching content from globally recognised providers, and bespoke Mental Health workshops.

In Kate’s words –  “While I’m not the only person to offer mental health training, my 20 years in corporate marketing gives me an in-depth insight into your teams’ challenges. My therapist training means I’m skilled at creating a psychologically safe learning environment. And, having lived experience of anxiety and depression while working in a fast-paced environment, means I can offer practical support for the pressures your employees face.”

Tanya Marwaha Lights On mental health
Tanya's story

Tanya Marwaha

Public speaking | Bespoke Training

Workplace consultancy

Founder of a youth-led peer community

Tanya is an award-winning young person that decided to pioneer youth mental health awareness during the pandemic from her bedroom by founding a youth-led peer community Championing Youth Minds, supporting over 700 young people globally.

She has struggled with her mental health from a young age after developing long-term disabilities, Fibromyalgia and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, therefore she is passionate about advocating non-visible disabilities.

Navigating mental health support as a young female in the South Asian community has especially been a challenge due to the stigma attached to mental health, she works hard to break down barriers and raise awareness of the cultural sensitivities around such topics. She advocates for mental health education for young people and empowers others to care for their wellbeing and use their voices.

Tanya has built up an incredible public speaking portfolio, with talks focusing on Mental Health Awareness, Youth Mental Health, Non-visible Disabilities, and Cultural Sensitivity. Her recent events include – HopeForLife, Be;Live, The Economist Impact Innovation@Work Event, and This Can Happen Conference.

Her recent achievements include – Speaking at 10 Downing Street about her inspirational story and journey with Championing Youth Mind. Winning Sikh Channels “Sikh Of The Month Award. Finalist at the National Diversity Awards 2022, from over 75,000 nominees.

Lara Rebecca motivational speaker and keep smiling podcast host and lights on mental health speaker, on Steph's packed lunch
Lara's story

Lara Rebecca

Motivational Speaker | Eating Disorder & Mental Health Awareness Advocate

Podcast Host |  Determined to Raise Awareness, Educate, Uplift & Inspire

The Keep Smiling Podcast host

Lara Rebecca is an accomplished Motivational Speaker, Mental Health and Eating Disorder Awareness Advocate. She uses her previous experiences of anorexia nervosa, depression, and anxiety disorder to raise awareness, educate, and inspire.

Lara first captured a following through her self-titled YouTube channel, accumulating over 50,000 subscribers and 8 million views within 3 months of launching. More recently, she hosts and independently produces ‘The Keep Smiling Podcast’, featuring honest and uplifting discussions focusing upon mental health, wellbeing, and mindset, alongside well-established guests, which has now accumulated a global audience.

At 22, her contribution within this field has earned her opportunities to collaborate on global campaigns, feature in documentaries, and work alongside international media organizations including BBC, ITV, Channel 4, PureGym, S4C, and Snapchat.

Oly Newton and Rochelle Kenyon from Lights On Well Being delivering a mental health first aid course
Rochelle's story

Rochelle Kenyon

Mental Health First Aid Instructor

Support Worker | Anti-racism Advocate & Educator

From experiences of racism leading to severe depression to becoming a Mental Health First Aid Trainer

Rochelle’s mental health experience began in her early teens, when the effect of racism and childhood traumas led to 10 years of living with severe depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

Her life changed when she sought therapy, opening her eyes to the transformative powers of empathic communication. Determined to become the change she wants to see in the world, Rochelle gained a degree in psychology and psychotherapy and has since dedicated her life to helping others to help themselves.

Rochelle brings a plethora of experience in the mental health field. She has provided 1:1 support to those experiencing poor mental health, and their families, as a support worker; provided therapeutic support to children and young people as a volunteer counsellor; created mental health strategies and supported employees to bring their best self to work in an HR role, and is part of an advisory group for mental health research at Kings College London.

As a mixed-raced, queer woman with a hidden disability, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of everything she does. Her projects include: a series of workshops and educational pieces on racism in the UK and how to improve, numerous podcasts discussing intersectionality and mental health, founded a Black British Book Club supporting people of black heritage with their mental health through learning about history and creating a safe space to chat, consulted with schools across the UK to diversify their curriculum, and delivered training and talks on unconscious bias, the power of language and diversity, equality, and inclusion.

Rochelle truly believes that every single person has the ability to help others with their mental health; we just don’t have the knowledge and the vocabulary readily available. Being a part of lights on will help fix that.

George Evans Lights On Well Being on a pride march
George's story

George Evans

Trans Speaker | LGBTQ+ Activist

Mental Health Advocate & Trainer | Business Support & Consultancy

Just a regular guy, born different.

In 2022, George decided to share his story on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network. His story went viral overnight and has since been viewed by more than 6.5 million people. His story is about living your life authentically, and above all, with hope.

George is transgender, meaning he was assigned female at birth, and at the age of 19 chose to begin his journey to transition from female to male.

He decided to post on LinkedIn in the hopes of educating old colleagues that never knew that part about him, and to show others that trans people can and do lead regular lives too – not what the media has always portrayed. Little did he know that by using his voice, his public speaking journey was about to begin. Now on a mission to support others in the LGBTQIA+ community and share his message far and wide; George strives to be the voice for those that are too afraid to speak out.

With over 10 years of lived experience as a trans man, and 1 viral post later, George has been given opportunities to speak to several organisations across the world, sharing the journey of his transition, along with his struggles of having anxiety and depression from a young age.

George is available for Lived Experience Talks and will be leading our ”LGBTQIA + Inclusion at work”  workshops. He also offers specialist business support on a consultancy basis.

Harrison Ward "Fell Foodie" Lights On Well Being public speaking
Harrison's story

Harrison Ward

Motivational mental and physical wellbeing speaker

Addiction and recovery educator | Wellness speaker | Outdoorsman

Fell loving foodie

Harrison Ward, perhaps better known as Fell Foodie, is an inspirational speaker, mental health advocate and outdoor cook who loves to recreate restaurant-style meals on minimal equipment (usually a campstove) in remote locations.

His life was very different just some short years ago. Struggling with a clinical depression first appearing in his adolescence, Harrison’s life spiralled out of control. At its worst he was consuming in excess of 20 pints daily, was a full time smoker and had ballooned in weight to over 22 stone. The end of a relationship and a personal breakdown lead to a major life change. Harrison is now over 6 years sober, has thrown himself into fitness and hiking and merged his passion for food into his new routine. He now frequently delivers talks at festivals, on podcasts, workplaces and as a keynote speaker about his personal battle with depression, suicidal thoughts and journey from an overweight, alcoholic, smoker to the fit, fell loving foodie he is today.

His talk touches on moments of resilience, not being afraid to ask for help, change management and the power of the outdoors for mental and physical wellbeing.

Harrison has featured regularly in the media inc Countryfile Magazine, Men’s Fitness, Metro etc. He is a brand ambassador for Volvo Car UK, recently appeared on the BBC in Dame Mary Berry’s latest series ‘Love to Cook’ and was named an Ordnance Survey Champion in 2020.

Shaun Flores Light on Mental Health wearing a brown shirt
Shaun's story

Shaun Flores

OCD Advocate | Power of the mind

Mental Health Speaker | Educator

From survivor to thriver. 

At 27 years old, Shaun was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Since then, he has used his experience to help dismantle dated and untrue beliefs about OCD by partnering with various charities. Additionally, this diagnosis ultimately led him down a path of self-discovery; from being consumed by fear and depression to recognizing himself as an advocate for those affected by OCD. It took the assistance of a therapist to whom he promised to help others as a to thank you for Shaun’s healing journey to begin – but now it is safe for us all to say that Shaun has gone from survivor to thriver with OCD.

He is also a public speaker with two TEDx Talks, TEDx 2022 & TEDx 2018. In 2018 Shaun gave a TEDx Talk about the education system and how we can do more to ensure no one is left behind.  His second TEDx talk was on “The straitjacket of masculinity and male mental health” in 2022.  His third TEDx entitled “The revolution is through the mind, the power of the upcoming psychedelic revolution” about why drug policy and drug laws are preventing the research into psychedelic treatment that could potentially help many individuals with their mental health struggles.

Shaun started as a fashion model and he has great success featured in many world-renowned magazines. Alongside catwalks at London Fashion Week and worked with commercial fashion brands such as ASOS, Papa John, UBER, John Lewis and Peleton.  Since then Shaun has spoken out about the dangers of the modelling industry that left him with disordered eating, which drastically changed his relationship with his body and mental health. From being positively affirmed whilst at his very worse physically, Shaun engaged in restricted eating in an attempt to achieve the desired “model look”. 

Shaun delivered a lecture at the BAME conference at Roehampton University in 2017 about diversifying the curriculum. Shaun was selected as a student orator at his Master’s graduation at Goldsmiths University. After two successful campaigns for Papa X cheddar drop and their Papa John’s Fresh Soul range, Papa John’s asked Shaun to host Papa Johns’s global music gig partnered with NME magazine. 

Shaun recently appeared on Unapologetic on Channel 4, which is hosted by Yinka Bokinni and Zeze Millz, as Black guests talk freely about social topics. Shaun has also published his story in BBC News, The Metro, and I News, He is a regular contributor to the Metro Newspaper.

Shaun made an international appearance in his home country of Trinidad on CNC3news where he spoke about masculinity and the importance of mental health following the death of Stephen Laurel “tWitch” Boss who was an American freestyle hip hop dancer, choreographer, actor, television producer, and television personality.

He has also appeared on other British platforms discussing societal topics such as Yanga Tv discussing fatherlessness,  London Live TV about the YouTube Vlog star challenge & debate shows and featured on BBC Sounds to speak about OCD.

Alix Waterhouse Lights On Well Being
Alix's story

Alix Waterhouse

Advanced Mental Health Advisor, Pilates Teacher and Nutritional Therapist

Workplace Well-being Consultant | Pilates & Yoga Instructor | Well-being Speaker

Overcoming chronic pain through nutrition, pilates and meditation.

Alix is a Pilates Teacher, Rehabilitation Specialist, Nutritional Therapist and a Mental Health Advisor. She worked as a creative and commercial consultant in the music and fashion industry, with the UK’s leading recording artists, before two bereavements and a back injury resulted in chronic pain that she couldn’t ignore. Alix retrained as a Pilates teacher and in 2017 founded the first on-demand marketplace in the UK for Pilates and Yoga.

Twelve years ago, Alix lost her father and best friend within a six-week period. Her own well-being had been affected by her demanding career and she was in constant physical pain. To manage her health, she trained in Pilates and Meditation. It had a profound impact, curing years of chronic pain and anxiety. As a result, Alix set out on a mission to empower others to ‘find their method of well-being’.

Managing a business during the pandemic brought a new set of challenges. Supporting the well-being of staff and 250 teachers, whilst pivoting the business through uncertain times highlighted the importance of positive mental health in the workplace. Alix felt the impact on her own health and has since trained in Mental Health, Stress Management and Nutrition.

‘Managing stress and personal well-being is an on-going responsibility that I have to myself and those around me. It takes support, knowledge, and practice to overcome life’s challenges and stay well. I am constantly learning and evolving so I can make the most out of my life. My passion is sharing the tools and techniques I learn with others.’ 

Keeping busy

LATEST NEWS & WORK

Young Minds Matter

Sue Roberts from Young Minds Matter (YMM) reached out to our founder Oly earlier this year after seeing some of the work he’d been doing

Kate O'Leary from Lights On Well Being running a mental health first aid course

Sky TV Workshop

Kate headed over to the Sky TV HQ in Osterley, London to facilitate a stress workshop for the Sky Mobile team in preparation for the