I am a registered psychologist who has worked with adolescents in an independent school for over ten years. I have now observed James speak to our Year 11 cohort two years in a row. He conveys a clear message to the students with regards to the importance of mental health and does this in a passionate and convincing manner. I especially like his focus on stress and how it can affect the body if experienced chronically and I think his explanation of the hunter gatherer way of living compared with our modern fast paced existence is impactful. He then provides his young audience with eight practical ways in which they can make lifestyle choices that support mental health. James is an engaging speaker because he is close in age to his audience but also because he is obviously very well-informed, has a charming personality, and speaks with authenticity. Both times he has spoken to this large group I have watched the captivated looks on the faces of our students. The spontaneous laughter they exude when James makes a light-hearted comment from time to time I think is testament to how enthralled they are with his presentation. I have no hesitation in recommending James as a worthwhile presenter to students in any school.
— Dr Lee-Ann Prideaux - Psychologist (Coomera Anglican College)
James delivered the presentation in an engaging and informative manner that allowed our male Year 11 students to connect with his messages. They walked away with a greater understanding of the importance of looking after their mental health, as well as the mental health of their friends. Your enthusiastic approach engaged the boys interest and promoted discussions regarding this important issue.
— Matt Carroll (Head of Year 11 at Marymount College)
The representative from Breakingfree was informative to listen to. His personal experience made it easy to understand the long-term effects of poor mental health, and inform about the impact it can have on those close to you. It was reassuring to be given the available steps and resources in order to prevent and maintain stable mental health, as well as how to assist others who are going through a rough time.
— Student who wishes to remain anonymous
It was very difficult for the public school I work at to allocate anything outside of curriculum time. In the short space of time available at an assembly James Peterson positively and empoweringly addressed year 11 and 12 cohort together (approximately 600 students) about how and why it is so important to look after our mental health and well-being. James had nothing more than himself and a microphone with no access to his usual powerpoint presentations in this instance.
James captured and held everyone’s attention in that hall and his ability to relate this awareness to us all, staff included made everyone realize that looking after our own mental health is vitally important and actually impacts on us all and not just another person, someone else or someone they don’t know. Students and staff alike have commented that they would like to hear more from James and the messages he has to share and were disappointed that they didn’t get to hear all of his messages due to time constraints.
For James to have had such a positive and powerful impact with only himself and a microphone in a short space of time is all that needs to be said.
— Anonymous school mental health nurse