July 27, 2021

3. Lyr Weltsman

3. Lyr Weltsman

Hear from Lyr Weltsman, the founder of Breaking the Chalk who will will take you on her journey with mental health issues and self harm and how it drove her to make a change in education and to provide direct support for children with similar experiences as well as their families and teachers.

This episode contains references to self-harm which can be upsetting and potentially triggering. If you are feeling vulnerable at the moment, you might not want to listen to this episode. If you or someone close to you is suffering with self harming here is a link to support resource: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/self-harm/getting-help/ 

Be sure to listen to the very end of the episode for bonus material.

You can get in contact with Lyr and find our more about Breaking the Chalk on:
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lyr-weltsman-education-mentalhealth/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/breakingthetaboo
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BreakingTheChalk/
Website: https://breakingthechalk.com 

A transcription of each episode as well as guest profiles and much more is available on our website www.sondership.com

Credits

Title music - Buddha by Kontekst https://soundcloud.com/kontekstmusic
Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0
Free Download or Stream: http://bit.ly/2Pe7mBN
Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/b6jK2t3lcRs 

Transcript

This episode contains references to self-harm, which can be upsetting and potentially triggering. If you're feeling vulnerable at the moment, you might not want to listen to this episode.

Lyr:

I'm Israel, but I live in South Africa.

Danny:

Okay. Well, we won't do this podcast in Hebrew, uh, it will be a little bit. Welcome to the Sondership podcast. I'm your host, Danny Attias. The Sondership podcast is all about inspiring stories from people with purpose and today's person with purpose is Lyr Weltsman. Lyr is the founder of breaking the chalk, which aims to break the way we provide education and support our youths' mental health. Lyr is also a family consultant, child and teen counsellor, educator, mental health advocate, and blogger. She's the youths spokesperson for the South African Federation of mental health. Lyr strongly believes in progressive and democratic education. struggled with mental health since the age of 14 and being diagnosed with several mental illnesses, Lyr's determined to increase mental health awareness and understanding and provide adequate support for all. Welcome to the Sondership podcast.

Lyr:

Thank you for having me, very excited.

Danny:

It's an absolute pleasure. Where are you joining us from today, Lyr?

Lyr:

I'm from Israel, I'm originally from, I live in South Africa, but I'm in Israel.

Danny:

So Lyr we start these episodes, each week with understanding our guests sonder moment. As a reminder, sonder, it's that realisation that every passer-by has a life as vivid and complex as your own, and that sonder moment, hopefully most people will relate to that and think, ah, yeah, I've, I've experienced that and it's great to have a word for it. So tell us about your most memorable or most impactful sonder moment.

Lyr:

I've had two. Can I say two?

Danny:

You can say two for sure.

Lyr:

So when I first started struggling with my mental health, I was like very confused. Didn't know what was going on, I didn't even know the word mental health or the concept of it neither did my parents and then, because I also never got any support from school or any understanding and we were quite lost, I left school because of that and I remember sitting on the couch with my dad and I was like, Abba dad there's no way that I can let another child or teen, experience what I'm going through without any understanding or knowledge or support and I was like, my end goal is to have some sort of safe space or center for kids to get their mental health support and education and a lot of freedom and safety and understanding. So that was my moment, that I knew all my work that I have to do is to support kids and make it more efficient and understanding and knowledge. And then my other one was during the pandemic, I was kind of lost as to what to do. I left teaching in like educational institutions, because I just couldn't conform into it. And I was studying ADHD and in the course, it, the one dad was saying how no one understood his child's ADHD and they would just kick him out of the school and he became very suicidal because of it and I was like, Okay, I've seen this in my work at conventional schools and I'm studying this, so I also need to do some sort of consulting in terms of education and the family to again, support the child. So that's why I opened Breaking the Chalk in the midst of covid.

Danny:

Brilliant, so we will find out what Breaking the Chalk is and unpick that in the moment. So if I get this right, you've been working as a teacher, a regular teacher in regular schools for a period of time as well, how, how long has that been?

Lyr:

I started my career with opening, well co opening, a center for kids with mental and physical challenges, with kids who also just have learning difficulties, but also just don't conform into conventional schooling, which that was me as a student and as a teacher and then we saw like amazing success, but it kind of fell out and then I went into conventional schooling for like three years, two and a half somewhere around there. I had a very hard time because I just couldn't accept the way traditional schooling is run because I just don't believe in it and I used to do my own things in the classroom, they didn't necessarily follow the rules of the school but I would see the difference in the kids, and I was like, I'm sorry, but you can fire me, but I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing.

Danny:

So you were seeing an impact of your actions and you had the conviction to believe in yourself and believe in what you were doing.

Lyr:

Yeah.

Danny:

Iif we just go back to your first sonder moment, you had this moment where you say, Abba I don't want other kids to go through what I've gone through and you opened with growing up, you didn't know the label mental health. you didn't really understand what was going on. I assume in this moment, you now understood what was going on. Is that, is that right? Yep. Okay. Okay. So, so tell us, tell us about what it, what did it feel like not having a label, not knowing what's going on, you know, thinking most people will often think I'm I'm different in one way or another. What did that journey look like from, um, feeling different to knowing that there are differences and this is okay, and there are, there are things we can do with that.

Lyr:

I think because it was kind of such a sudden change in, in how I felt and coped that I was so lostI literally didn't know what was happening and I couldn't even describe it. Like I had, I had no words. I was just like, I just want out of everything, and luckily my parents are very understanding and God, and very supportive and they were like, okay, if you don't want to go to school, then it's okay and we'll figure it out. And I remember we kind of did a, what I am happy with in my life and what I'm not, which was very cute but I was like, no, no, no, you don't understand this is way beyond it so, so the, so not having that label, I found very hard because I just, it didn't help me understand.

Danny:

Right.

Lyr:

And now I've recently got two diagnosis, from a new therapist and it helped me so much to understand my behaviors and my moods and my emotions and I know a lot of people just don't like the label, but for me, it's, it's really helped me to understand myself and that's why I always think that the way we can break the mental health stigma is knowledge and just sharing because people just don't understand it. So I think the label helped me, because I was just so confused, I just had no idea what was going on.

Danny:

I think that's a really interesting point about labels, you're absolutely right, some people don't like, the labels, but it's, uh, it's uh, of course there are good and bad ways labels can be used. So putting a label on someone to go, oh, well that person, blah, blah, blah, they don't conform or they don't comply, or they're an outlier and that's not a good thing, but putting a label to help understand differences and, learn more and that's the important part, isn't it learn more for themselves and learn more for each other are so incredibly important. We talk about, diversity in the workplace, but if there were no labels, you wouldn't be able to measure diversity in the workplace and you wouldn't be able to get more cognitive diversity within your teams and different perspectives and you need to understand different viewpoints.

Lyr:

I think it's also, the labeling is, is really important for, for kids, and for teachers so much and for parents, because some sort of label and it, and it doesn't mean the child is that it's something that the child just struggles with and I think that needs to change perspective, but that's another conversation. I think it helps them to better know what the child is going through and for the child to understand I just, I just think that knowledge is really, really helpful for everyone. As much as I'm aware and, and it really helps me to cope and manage I still find it hard, a lot of the time to accept it because it's such a daily challenge.

Danny:

Yeah. How comfortable are you talking about your daily challenges Lyr

Lyr:

I'm very comfortable.

Danny:

Yeah Talk us through daily challenges that other people wouldn't necessarily understand or experience.

Lyr:

Yeah. And so it's kind of, and I was saying, it's, I'll be, I'll be completely open and I was saying it to my therapist. I was, I was kind of saying, I wake up and I'm like, oh my gosh, I don't know what mood I'm going to be in. I struggle with, I have bipolar, so it's very much, am I going to wake up down or am I going to wake up hyper? So it's a lot of that. It's a bit scary to not know how your day's going to go for example, yesterday I have a bunch of work to do, and I was like, no way, I just can't handle this. And I just sat in bed the whole day that I went out don't talk to me, don't look at me. I can't handle today. So a lot of the time it's, how am I meant to get through my day if all I kind of want to do is lay in bed and I can't fathom doing anything else.

Danny:

Is there a, is there a part of you in that moment that's looking you going, this is Lyr on a bad day, I wish you'd snap out of it, but she's on a bad day, so is there a, almost like a, a conscious part of you observing this almost independently, recognizing that there are differences?

Lyr:

Yeah. I've, I've become very aware and I know exactly what is kind of going to happen if I feel a certain thing? So I've become very aware of that. Also if like certain behaviors I start to see, I can't necessarily stop them, I can just kind of manage them, but I know exactly what's going to happen so I'm trying to deal with it as much as I can, but it's exactly that it's okay, Lyr, don't judge yourself, give yourself like a break for the day. I'm I'm still learning how to not judge myself to be honest,

Danny:

For sure. And self-care is such a huge, important part of that. Isn't that? So that awareness and that self care, I assume these are the types of things that you are trying to use to educate and support young people.

Lyr:

A hundred percent, yeah, it's exactly. It's do I kind of say do what you, you need to do, um, to, to help yourself because otherwise it's just going to go downhill from there to be honest.

Danny:

Great. So, Lyr tell us about Breaking the Chalk, what is Breaking the Chalk? What are you trying to achieve?

Lyr:

So I'll explain the name, chalk is kind of how we doing things, working with kids now in terms of education, how are we providing education and how are we supporting and looking after their mental health, so the whole way is to break that and to change it and to advance it. So the one part of it is education, which I'm very, very passionate about and the other part is mental health also very passionate about. So I've always learned how to mesh the two together and that's where breaking the chalk came in. The one part is education, which is providing learning everything's online, everything's virtual, so it's providing education and learning support and academic support in a very much learner directed, very much freedom in a sense, very creative, interactive, a lot of progressive learning, which is basically also teaching life skills on top of just learning from a textbook. And then the other part is the mental health, which is consulting with families on how to help the kids that struggle with mental health or just creating that awareness and also providing, counseling, for children and teens. and yeah, there's products coming out to help with your child's mental health, so that's quite exciting. The main aim is, which is the kind of slogan, is to break the way we provide education and support I use mental health and it's just the awareness parts a lot of the time. So it's just meshing the two concepts together, which I lacked the support from school, and the understanding of it and my health.

Danny:

So you're creating something that you would have wanted to have had.

Lyr:

Exactly.

Danny:

Yeah.

Lyr:

Because I think if I had the support and understanding from my school, I wouldn't have need needed to leave it which was a huge breaking point for me.

Danny:

Your beneficiaries are the kids, you're trying to help the kids with their own development and their own mental health, but is your audience more than that? So are you providing services, tools for not just the kids, but their teachers for their families, for their friends?

Lyr:

Yes. So the consulting parts and the progressive education is how to incorporate progressive education into your school and kind of teaching that awareness because I just think every part of society and just live has progressed so much and changed, except the way we provide education. So it's giving schools and teachers the tools on how to do that and the other part is to also help the parents and the schools to help the kids with their mental health and creating that awareness very practical and informative, but it's very much the triangle of child, teen, the school and the family, which is, which helps inevitably the child

Danny:

And Lyr you mentioned this is online is this looking to help kids, teens in South Africa, in Israel, all over the world? What's what's your audience?

Lyr:

I started in South Africa and then I got someone from Mozambique to help and I changed it virtually for two ways, I'll be Frank. The one is because I find staying in one place very hard so seeing face to faces doesn't really allow me that, but it's also because if it's online, I can reach more people and help more people. So that's why I did virtual as well.

Danny:

That's great. Well, we love digital. Uh,

Lyr:

Yes.

Danny:

You can definitely influence more people you can spread one Lyr a lot further, can't you? All over the world.

Lyr:

Brilliant, I like that, yes.

Danny:

Lyr from what kind of age did you start to become aware that things were a little bit different for you? You were experiencing the world differently to other people?

Lyr:

So I became, as the psychiatrist called it, I became quite manic with my studies which means that I would study until like three o'clock in the morning and then would wake up at six to go over my work before I went to school. So it became quite intense and a lot of self-criticism started to play and my parents were like, okay, it's a bit weird that she studying for so long what's going on. So they took me to a therapist and she was kind of, yeah, switch off the lights. She had no picnic. I was like, that's not going to help. But anyway,

Danny:

What kind of ages is this?

Lyr:

This is when I was 14. So just after high school started, and then, and then I had a major dip, I was like, don't one to go to school, hate everything. I went completely out of life and I became quite suicidal and I became suicidal and I told my family and one of my cousins and she was like, okay this is, this is now getting a bit serious. So she booked me a psychiatrist appointment and she spoke to my, to my mum about it. I had no idea what to say and that's where the intense journey started. I started to see psychiatrist and I started to be on psychiatric pills. Still had no idea what was going on. I literally just didn't know how to cope with it. So for a good three years, I was literally on the couch, that's all I did, didn't want to go anywhere. Struggled to look after myself in terms of hygiene, I completely detached from my friends. So I didn't speak to them and we still friends today. And I always ask, I was like, I dunno how you still friends with me to be honest, but I literally, I was like, I don't want to talk to you. And they would call my mum and they'll get an understand and again, that's the mental health awareness that was lacking for them as well and then I went into psychiatric hospitals and I started to understand a bit, but I still didn't know how to cope with, with life really. Um, I'll put a trigger warning for anyone with self harm, uh, as I started to choose self-harm a lot. Um, and I had trigger warning. I had, um, suicidal attempts, quite a bit of them. Um, yeah. And, and I think. It was just very hard for everyone, everyone was also just panic, like everyone was just in panic mode and obviously so was, it was, it was very, it was very, very scary. Um, and I really think that if I had, and I've only recently thought about this, but I really think that if I would have had awareness as my parents, as the school and to understand what it is and to kind of know the signs of it would have really changed how my whole journey started and how we'd moved on. Um,

Danny:

And that's awareness for you again, for your parents, for your support system.

Lyr:

A hundred percent. Yeah. And my school. really as well, um, they didn't even realize I left the school, but anyway, so literally they didn't notice. Um, so I, I started, uh, to, to, to study a bit, I had like tutors that would come to my house and everything. I started with the therapist, I would see her three times a week. really and I had psychiatrists and I, and I love my therapist really she, she said my life a lot of the time, um, specifically with psychiatrist, I never felt that they truly understood me a lot of the time. I felt like they were minimizing my struggle, which really pissed me off because I was like, you know, you don't, you actually don't understand what's going on. So, so yeah, I, I think, and That's where, when I went to psychiatric hospitals, I would see, I was obviously in the youth sector. So I would see other kids that they were going through it. Yeah. I was like, wow there's, there's more people that, that actually experienced this. I've never met anyone with this.

Danny:

That's that's a really interesting point, isn't it? It's knowing that other people are going through what you're going. It's that point you realize that you're not experiencing alone. Uh, right. So also meeting people and actually having conversations with someone who understands, literally understands your experience, um, better than anyone else you've ever met.

Lyr:

Exactly, and I started to go on Instagram quite a bit, and I would like put a hashtag of like depression, for example and I found people who also struggled with it and I actually still follow one of the accounts who I really felt a connection with and I actually messaged her but again, that was other people that extra struggle with it and they understand. I always say as much as you study theory for seven years, you never actually fully understand it until you go through it and that's where the, you know, kind of relate to someone. Oh, you also have this struggle. And what does F what did that feel for you? Um, so it really, it was like, wow, there's other people. Um, and then that made me click there's other people more than just the people that I meet in clinic and on Instagram.

Danny:

That's your, sonder moment.

Lyr:

Yeah. Yeah.

Danny:

That's the point where you realized that other people are experiencing the kind of things that you're experiencing and their own things so much deeper.

Lyr:

Yeah as a teacher in conventional schools, obviously I cared about this, the academic success and their learning, but the first one was to connect with them and know their interest and build that relationship that I'm a safe person to come and speak to rather than just I'm the teacher and that, and they, the students in terms of like that hierarchy of that distance and I really saw that, that they would come to me and told me their interests and it was just amazing. And I was like, wow, I wish, I know this sounds a bit like ego, but I wish that I had me as a teacher and that was really my goal that I will be the teacher that I wish I really had and needed.

Danny:

That's not ego, that's fine. That's that's that's purpose. As you said your trying to create what you felt you needed at their age so you are embodying that service or that solution or that opportunity.

Lyr:

It's exactly that and I saw that and actually I asked them how it was they experienced with me as a teacher and it was exactly what I needed to hear in terms of, okay. I'm kind of doing it right and it was, I wasn't so stressed or I wasn't so anxious you always cared about us you know, so is that okay? I'm kind of doing something that I am, that was my purpose.

Danny:

So these things that you were doing when you were a regular teacher that were a little bit different and you said, well, they can find me, but I know this is the right thing to do. What, what kinds of things were you doing?

Lyr:

So for example, I'll give you one big class that I had, it was this Jewish, very religious school and they were great. So they were like max on there, you know, hallway change and everything that was going on and I would, and it was like 25 boys, um, against me and I, and I'm quite the softie. So, you know, they were like, okay, we can, we can take advantage of it and I was teaching them Hebrew, which I mean maybe three out of the 25, we're going to take next year.

Danny:

This is in South Africa.

Lyr:

yes, this is in South Africa, so they didn't really care. Let's be honest and they would walk out of teachers' classrooms and teachers would walk out crying. They just couldn't handle it and when I was in the interview, she was like, dude, this is a really hectic class. Can you handle it? Of course.

Danny:

Okay.

Lyr:

I was like, oh my God, At the first lesson, they literally didn't listen to me and I came home as like, I need to change everything. I'm not gonna, I need to adapt myself to how they are. So I sat down and I was like, Okay we're going to do shows. And we going to do plays and I'm going to go and I'm going to buy them like costumes and, you know, I try to, to change the whole way I do things and when I started to do that, I was like, not doing the curriculum, I'm going to do the basics of Hebrew because no one actually cares, but I'm going to do a basics of Hebrew, but I'm actually going to get them to do it. Yeah, so we would play games and I would, like, I spent half my salary on buying them chocolates. We would do like colors. Um, so I'll just give an example. We'll do colors and I would buy rapping, like chocolates that have different kind of wrapping paper and we would kind of put, and they would literally wait for me outside the classroom um, and the teacher's like, I don't know what you did, but like, they can't stop talking about you.

Danny:

You filled them with sugar. You tapped, you tapped into their creative side.

Lyr:

and I really adapted myself and the teachers and the principals were like, you need to follow traditional schooling I didn't even reply to the email, I'm not going to do it.

Danny:

Good for you quite frankly you turned work into play, no one wants to do work, everyone wants to play and if you can turn, work into play, then, then life is fun. And, um, it's all about the results that you're trying to get.

Lyr:

And that's why I'm so passionate about progressive education it's because when I do something like that, I see the difference. I just don't understand why no-one does it, but our kids today are so different, you know, they have technology and they have everything and I just feel like they so misunderstood and I think I was really misunderstood as well, because I would sit and I'm like, I don't understand why I'm studying this. I kind of really don't care. And, and I'm so proud of it, but why can they see my work, you know, acknowledging it. I think the way we need to kind of change it is to meet their needs as youth of 2021. You know, they're very different.

Danny:

So you're in South Africa with these kids not wanting to learn Hebrew, what age are you at this point with this experience?

Lyr:

So I was 20. No, lie, I was 21. I opened up my education centered 18 with, with a colleague.

Danny:

Talk to me about this education center, because we were talking about how age 14 to 17, you were on a couch, largely ignoring your friends and then 18 you're opening up an education center. What happened from 17 to 18?

Lyr:

So 14 to like 16, I was on the couch and I was in and out of hospital and then slowly started to kind of grasp what's happening and kind of figuring it out so I had more coping skills. It doesn't take away that it was still a lot to handle and a lot to deal with, but I started to understand it more and I had a bit of the tools and the support system, which I think is very, very important and that's also why I'm passionate about having all the child sectors, you know, on top of everything. So I had a tutor that would come to my house and we just had a connection and I was like, I don't understand why I'm studying this I don't want to study it. And I saw that she has the same perception on education as me. And I kind of said, I really want to do something with kids can I work with you? And she was like, Yeah sure. And we started to, to kind of get kids and kids and kids. And we were getting so many kids. I was like, we need to open up something. So we had a space where everyone would sit together there was no grades, there were no like age differences. Everyone had their own timetable there was, you know, kids with depression and anxiety and there was chronic fatigue and there were kids who just were so over school. So they would all come and it was very much freedom you kind of do you and we kind of there to guide you. We weren't so much teaching them, but we would guiding them and self directed their learning, which really, really changed it. And we really just adapted to their needs and we saw a huge change in that. So it was really quite inspiring to see.

Danny:

What you've just described reminds me of a wonderful book called the art of possibility by Ben and Roz Zander and it really talks about not having grades it talks about creative play it's a truly wonderful, wonderful book, which I'd highly recommend to anyone listening, who's interested in this kind of story and this kind of experience. So what flipped from, so actually I think, I know, you know, you said you had this tutor that you had a connection with and that due to they kind of made you realize I want it be part of this journey that you're role modeling for me, the kind of thing that I want to be doing. You know, so many, so many stories go back to that teacher, to that one teacher that helps the child see their potential It's a profession that is just underrated. I think it's probably been valued a little more during the pandemic.

Lyr:

Yeah. but I always say, and I think it's quite true is that a teacher can make or break a child

Danny:

Yeah.

Lyr:

Because you'll always remember. I mean, think about it, you, with them at your whole stage of development and growth and finding yourself and you know, all of that. They are there most of your day for like years, so they really can make or break you? I mean, I had a teacher and it was when I started to be, you know, struggling at 14 and I would beg her to go home, like I have to go home like, you don't understand I'm sick. She was like, no, you can't go and I had nightmares about it when I left school. I felt that trapped, I used to have nightmares about her. My dad still brings her up. Um, but it, but it was rarely, she like traumatized me in a sense, because I felt so trapped. I was like, I have to leave this place. Um, and she kind of, she didn't break me in a sense, but she kind of made me feel very helpless and hopeless, you know? So it, it really is the, the break or make a child.

Danny:

You sound like you have a very supportive family, which sounds wonderful.

Lyr:

I do. they're amazing thank God,

Danny:

And how, how is this activity helping you personally? So you're out there helping other people. How is this helping you?

Lyr:

I think my work is really my life. It really is. It inspires me every day and these kids just, I actually, I know this is random, but I have a tattoo and the tattoo is in the shape of a tree and it's big hands, of the tree is, uh, open hands. And what makes the tree are hand prints of different shades and of different sizes and people are like, what is that? And I explained that I'm the trunk of the tree and I can't be a treat without the hands, without them. So I literally be me without, without my work and people ask me, what are your hobbies? And like the kids, like, I don't know. So yeah, I think how it helps me is that I understand myself more. They just make me, you know, a lot of the time, I, I really struggle with getting through the day, I really do. And during the times where I do my work and I'm with them, everything fades away. I'm just so happy, and I always say if I could just be with kids 24 7, I would just be the happiest.

Danny:

So this is, this is interesting because when people think about illness, they think about cure, but it's not about, curing it's about coping is not the right word or enduring it's about living with and embracing. So you don't expect to go through a program and then that's it. You don't feel down anymore. You know, you're going to have your ups and downs, but you also know it's happening. You have coping mechanisms, you know how to deal, or you have better ways of dealing with it and immersing in your work, helping other people is part of that.

Lyr:

Yeah, it's almost like my healing is almost my, my work. I kind of take my struggles and make it into something that inspires me in a sense I'm very love, hate relationship with mental illness.

Danny:

Tell me what's next for Lyr?

Lyr:

A hard question, I think I really want to grow breaking the chalk, I just opened it so obviously I'm trying to reach as many people as possible, I've wanted to create a product for self-harm for quite some many years and I think I really want to do it as someone who, who does struggle with self harm. So, quite a bit of products basically to help on like daily, so yeah, just growing it.

Danny:

I mean, that sounds incredible people in support network who have people who are self-harming generally don't know what to do. Um, and, and, and, and, and are just so confused because they can't relate to it, they don't understand it.

Lyr:

I just have to put a trigger warning, when I started I actually had no idea how it even came about, but I told my mom straight away, she was like, okay and then my dad found out about it and he was just distraught. Like my dad is the kangaroo and I'm in his pouch basically that's how we are. So he was distraught and he would just sob and they didn't judge me for it, but they tried every way for me not to do it. So they would sit with me in the shower. They would like if I was in the bathroom, they would knock on the door. I couldn't sleep alone. Like they just try to prevent any way for me to not do it. But obviously I'll always say, I know this is really bad, but a self harmer will always find a way. So it's a way for them. And it's so misunderstood as attention seeking, but it really is. It's, it's almost, it's like, you know, how an opioids gives you that like release it's, it's exactly the same, but just, it's a way to, to express. I know it's harmful, but, but it's to express what's going on inside, it really becomes an addiction to be honest.

Danny:

How can people find out more about breaking the chalk or get in touch with you to either be supported or support your cause?

Lyr:

So I have a website, just breakingthechalk.com and you can see all about it. What about me and contact? Also Lyr Weltsman on LinkedIn and my blog is on Instagram and Facebook called breaking the taboo and I share my mental health struggle. Very not politically, correct?

Danny:

So, if you want to find out more about Lyr's story, then definitely look up breaking the taboo and her blog. If you want to follow her, you can see her on LinkedIn and if you want to know more about breaking the chalk, then have a look at breakingthechalk.com. Lyr Weltsman, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story and thank you for being an inspiration for so many children, in South Africa and seem to be across the world and we wish you the very best in everything that you do.

Lyr:

Thanks. You too.

Danny:

Say thank you and congratulations to your father because he's been incredibly supportive throughout this, from what I can tell from your story.

Lyr:

Yeah, he has, thank God. I wouldn't know what I did without them, to be honest.

Lyr Weltsman

Counsellor and Educator

Lyr Weltsman is the founder of Breaking The Chalk. The company aims to break the way we provide education and support our youths’ mental health. Lyr is a family consultant, child and teen counsellor, educator, mental health advocate and blogger, and the youth spokesperson for the South African Federation Of Mental Health. Lyr strongly believes in progressive and democratic education. Struggling with mental health since the age of fourteen and being diagnosed with several mental illnesses, Lyr is determined to increase mental health awareness and understanding and provide adequate support for all. Through Lyr’s experience with school and mental health, she strives to change education and mental health conduct. Mental health acceptance and knowledge by with her work and experiences, controversially and authentically.