Mental Health & Wellbeing Conference | Epsom College

On 21 June Epsom College hosts its inaugural conference on teenage mental health and wellbeing. Titled ‘Supporting our Young People’, the day features experts on teenage psychology, bereavement, addiction and peer mentoring, with a particular focus this year on the mental health of young men.



Keynote Speakers



Elizabeth Burton-Philips MBE QAVS

A former teacher, more recently an author, she founded the charity DrugFAM in 2006 following losing one of her twin sons to suicide at the age of 27. She is a long-time campaigner in raising awareness of the harm caused to families by drug addiction, having kept a harrowing diary through supporting her son’s addiction. She focuses on how best to help families grappling with intensely difficult problems.

Read an interview with Elizabeth in The Times (paywall)

Watch Elizabeth receive a National Lottery Special Recognition Award


Dr Aric Sigman

An expert psychologist, author, PSHE Health Education lecturer to children, parents and staff in schools, whose main interest is in protecting mental and physical health and preventing problems amongst young people such as screen time, vaping, substance abuse and body image.

Read more about Aric’s view on Screen Time



James Murray

Father of Ben who tragically died at Bristol University aged 19 in 2018, he campaigns to raise awareness with his ten-point plan of a suicide prevention pledge to improve information sharing between universities and families. He’s passionate about providing online counselling to millions of students as a vital layer of support.

Read more about Ben’s story


Ben West

A mental health campaigner, public speaker, author and social media influencer who is committed to making real change around mental health, following the suicide of his younger brother. Aged 20 years old, he’s won a Pride of Britain Award, The Diana Award and the Mental Health Hero Award.

Watch an interview with Ben on the Lorraine Show



Stefano Di Rico

As a Lower Sixth Peer Mentor at Epsom College, Stefano is a passionate mental health campaigner, specifically focussing on youth support. In October, he joined the Young Minds’ Activist programme and has spoken to Members of Parliament for the End The Wait campaign. He is co-host on the College’s student-led podcast series, interviewing other campaigners and earlier this year, he was awarded the NexGen Wellbeing Award for Services to Youth Mental Health.


Dr Dominique Thompson

A former Epsom student and a GP with two decades of clinical experience, Dom is an expert on student mental health in her role as Bristol Healthcare Professional of the Year in 2017, she is an author, educator and speaker working with schools and universities setting up wellbeing programmes.

Watch Dominique’s TED talk


Jack's Ashes - live performance

Jack’s Ashes is a new play written by Matt Banes and Tim Marriott, developed in consultation with The Australian Cricketers Association and Cricket Australia. The show has recently been performed at the Gabba, SCG, MCG, WACA and Adelaide Oval as well as at Adelaide Fringe where it won a Best Theatre Award. 

Former professional cricketer Jack gives his team talk, but wickets fall like a ticking time bomb and the anecdotes from the ashes of his career prove less than inspirational…

As Jack pads up to be the last man in to go out and save the day, Jack’s Ashes offers a humorous insight into the mental frailties that can cloud the mind and the distractions that can lead to ruin.

Developed in consultation with professional sports bodies and mental health charities, this performance is designed to engage through humour to reduce stigma and promote conversation about mental fitness.

Watch the 30-second trailer 
View the Jack’s Ashes Prologue Video

Read a review of the play


Programme for the day

9.30 AM


Registration, coffee and pastries

10 AM


Sir Anthony Seldon

10.05 AM

Drugs, Bereavement & Me

Elizabeth Burton-Philips MBE

10.40 AM

Addiction & Mental Health

Dr Aric Sigman

11.15 AM

Coffee Break

11.40 AM

I Wish I'd Been More Open

James Murray

11.55 AM

Talking About Suicide

Ben West

12.15 PM

A Pupil's Perspective

Stefano Di Rico

12.35 PM

What Can Adults Do To Help?

Dr Dom Thompson

1.10 PM


2.05 PM

Jack's Ashes (performance)

Written by Matt Barnes & Tim Marriott

3.05 PM

Panel Q&A

Featuring today's keynote speakers

3.40 PM

Conference Ends