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Lily Asch is a mental health advocate, storyteller and social entrepreneur.

As a teenager she was considered ‘unsafe to self’ and admitted to a psychiatric ward. For a long time she was ashamed of her experience, until she opened up and discovered the power of conversation.

Having gained experience working with the likes of FreshSight and TEDx University of Edinburgh she’s since gone on to found Real Talk, a social enterprise dedicated to mental health storytelling and wellbeing. Real Talk supports individuals in connecting to their narrative around experiences of mental ill health and crafts safe spaces for these stories to be shared to an audience, fostering conversation and connection.

We talk about her background, her mental health journey, the vision for Real Talk, her views on mental health today as well as our favourite topics – legacy, purpose and changing the world.

00.00 Trailer

00.15 Introduction

01.30 Lily growing up

03.00 Schooling in the US

05.00 Lily’s earliest mental health experiences

07.20 What led to Lily being taken to a psychiatric ward?

09.50 How was Lily labelled ‘unsafe to self’?

12.00 What was the ward like?

15.00 Does Lily think she should have been there?

17.15 What was the recovery process?

19.50 Lily’s self education around emotional awareness

22.30 How did Lily end up in Edinburgh?

24.40 Ways Edinburgh differs from the US

27.00 How did Real Talk come about?

30.00 How does Real Talk work and what is the format?

32.00 What does storytelling mean to Lily?

33.40 What is the vision for Real Talk?

36.00 Lily’s views on mental health today

39.00 Technology effects on mental health

40.20 Doing TED talks

42.15 Speaking advice

45.00 Lily on her purpose

46.30 Lily on legacy

47.20 What is Lily most grateful for in life?

47.50 If Lily could master a skill what would it be?

49.10 How does Lily define success?

50.20 Is Lily successful now?

51.20 Who or what inspires Lily?

52.50 Lily’s life goals

55.45 Best piece of advice

56.45 What would Lily say to her 14 year old self

57.20 Changing the world

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