Nathalie Richards - Founder Of Edukit And Wellbeing Advocate For Young People
Edukit is a platform that serves as a space for young people and students to discuss their wellbeing and mental health, with no judgement. Founder Nathalie Richards shares her journey from her own experiences to starting their app.
Founded in 2014, Edukit has supported thousands of students across the UK. Now in 2021, they are partnered with schools and launched a mobile app.
Growing up Richards endured a tough time at school, being the victim of frequent bullying. "I was bullied a lot during school, both primary and secondary school. In my case, I was always the only child in my school who was from an ethnic background. It was something that was a theme," said Nathalie Richards.
On top of suffering bullying, her home life was a challenge as her family were presented with challenges of their own. "At home, there were some challenges, there were loved ones who had issues with mental health and substance abuse."
However, despite facing many challenges early on in her life, it was during her teenage years she was able to find an outlet, after joining a youth organization. It was at this point, Richards began to build connections and understand how many organizations as such were available.
"One of the things that was helpful to me when I was a teenager, was that I got involved in a youth organization. I got to spend time with other young people and build relationships. I realised that there were lots of these organizations out there."
One of the reasons Richards founded Edukit was because she wanted more action rather than conversation. While the dialogue for mental health is continuing to open more, Richards wants more than just a conversation.
"There is a piece where we have to move that conversation to action, how can I find the tools to support my mental health and wellbeing. We need to move from good intentions to positive actions, decisive actions."
Richards elaborated that young people have a voice, now more than ever and that they need to use it as early as possible, otherwise the ramifications could be costly. "Young people can speak out and they can get support. It is trying to deal with things on your own that leads to the worst consequences."
The transition from school and college to university or the world of work can be a daunting prospect for a lot of teenagers. Richards explains that they need to be provided with more opportunities, making them aware of what is available post-school.
"We need to make sure we provide them with an understanding of the options available to them."
Finally, sounding off by talking about her aspirations and goals for Edukit, Richards wants to continue to connect with more schools and students, as well as developing the app along the way.
"The app was released 12 months ago in order to respond to the crisis we have seen in the past year. One of our students said it was like having your school in your pocket! We just want more schools and students to benefit from it. We’ll continue to partner with schools and develop the app."