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A personal story that is lively, interesting and real


Erica Crompton

travels from UK

Mental health speaker, activist, author and freelance journalist sharing her personal story about her progress of disease

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4.5 out of 5 stars

"Great speaker and kept the talk lively, interesting and real."

Cat Taylor - Off The Record (Bristol) See all references
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About Erica

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As a spokesperson on mental health issues and schizophrenia keynote speaker Erica Crompton is able to entice audiences with her personal story. She has dealt with her own illness for over a decade, but still manages to maintain a job as a freelance journalist. Her story is unique and can inspire audiences at your next event.

Erica Crompton is a public speaker and former Editor of Ophthalmology Times Europe. She has a history of paranoid schizophrenia with a current diagnosis of schizoaffective, and lived experience of psychosis. Her debut book written with Professor Stephen Lawrie is out in January 2020 on Hammersmith Health Books, titled ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Sanity, a self-help book for people with psychosis’.

Erica has managed her illness with medication and therapy for almost 2 decades. During those years she spent one week on a psychiatric ward in 2009 after surviving a suicide attempt in a run-down flatshare in Birmingham, UK. While experiencing psychosis, Erica has held long-term and full-time staff positions at The Daily Telegraph, John Lewis’ head office, the Mail Online and as a radio scriptwriter at UTV.

As a freelance journalist, Erica has written about her experiences of mental illness for The New York Times, The Mail on Sunday, The Lancet Psychiatry, The New European, The Independent, Metro Online, Woman magazine, and Chat. In her spare time Erica runs Medfed, a brand for people with severe mental illnesses that promotes mental well-being. She uses bright clothes, inks, collages and bespoke prints to challenge mental health stigma.

See keynotes with Erica Crompton

    Keynote by speaker Erica Crompton

    Mental Health Stigma

    • Writing in The New York Times, Erica notes that she’s been fired more times than she cares to admit and has even more resignation letters to her name. With only 8 per cent of people with schizophrenia in work (including volunteer positions) Erica knows well the stigma to her condition from employers and others and has plenty of colourful anecdotes of experiencing stigma and how, in an ideal world, others can remedy this.

    Keynote by speaker Erica Crompton

    Mental Health in the media

    • The first thing Erica thought when she was diagnosed with psychosis is that she was a danger to herself and other people. That’s because of the stereotypes the media portrays of people living with psychosis. Not immune to the myths and stereotypes herself, Erica today works behind the scenes as a ‘mad journalist’ to try to remedy some of the bleak stereotypes of people with severe mental illnesses portrayed in the media.

    Keynote by speaker Erica Crompton

    Living with a severe mental illness with CFT (Compassion Focused Therapy) – a new form of therapy, which teaches people to be kind to themselves

    • As someone who has benefited from CFT, Erica can pass on the important and life changing techniques she learned in her therapy sessions to benefit others and help them lead happier more rewarding lives. She maintains that if someone like her, diagnosed with schizophrenia, can live a happy life, so too can others.

    Keynote by speaker Erica Crompton

    Life after suicide/suicide prevention

    • In 2009 Erica was hospitalised and diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia after trying to take her own life. She can talk about how she found the strength to dial the emergency services after her suicide attempt and how other people can help those in distress under the most testing circumstances.

    Keynote by speaker Erica Crompton

    The arts and mental health

    • Erica has a degree in Fine Art from Staffordshire University and in her spare time runs Medfed an art and Tshirt brand for people with severe mental illness. She can talk about how Medfed challenges bleak stereotypes in the media and also show how many art forms – both as viewer and creator – can be a cathartic release for all people struggling or feeling low.


Erica was engaging and her personal story a very important one for girls to hear. She had clearly prepared for her audience and the contact beforehand was useful.

Kathy Hewitt

King's High School

Great speaker and kept the talk lively, interesting and real.

Cat Taylor

Off The Record (Bristol)

Mental health in the workplace and 5 ways employers can improve it

Mental illness in the workplace is costing UK employers around £30 billion each year. Stress, depression and anxiety are approximately responsible for 91 million lost working days each year.

I’m also aware that only 7% of people with schizophrenia, like me, are in employment – including voluntary positions!

Analysts have established that £8.4 billion each year is lost by businesses due to mental illness, plus another £15.1 billion in reduced productivity. A further £2.4 billion is lost replacing staff who leave work because of mental health.

I’m always surprised that employers don’t make it a priority to promote positive mental health at work.

As a full-time fashion writer at John Lewis’ head office in London, I received very little in the way of support for my mental health, despite that it was always and increasingly apparent that I did suffer from a severe mental illness. Emails I sent to occupational therapy were often ignored. It was different when I sprained my ankle and I received an hour of rehabilitation.

One big barrier to support is stigma, despite that it’s now well-known that one in four of us will suffer from mental illness at some point in our lives.

Causation of mental health problems often takes place in childhood and are often beyond the control of employers. But there are many ways in which employers can help:

◻️ Flexible work patterns allow an employee to take time off when needed. For me, starting later and finishing later means there’s no problem if it’s hard to get out of bed.

◻️ Line managers can be supportive by listening to concerns and monitoring workloads to ensure variety and to safeguard against excess stress!

◻️ Specialist mental wellbeing helplines (such as LawCare) make listening and and impartial, trained ear accessible and confidential.

◻️ Business owners can create a quiet space for employees should they need to talk or take some space.

◻️ Google use the Headspace app for their employees with success. “Using Headspace regularly has reduced the turbulence in my life, so a typical day seems to go just that bit smoother. In the workplace, Headspace can be used both proactively to set people up for the day ahead and reactively at any point to meet the day’s challenges. It’s reassuring to know people have a tool they can go to whenever needed.” states one employee.


Interview with Erica Crompton

What was your primary goal when setting up Medfed?

Medfed was conceived in 2009, after a spell hospitalised with paranoid schizophrenia. So much had gone wrong in my life and I felt things were only going to get worse post-hospital. So, I decided to do something positive and began painting with bright colours and glitter. I made tongue in cheek outfits and objects to turn insults and bad vibes to my advantage and into wearable art for myself and to decorate my home. From here, I decided to call this collection ‘Medfed’ and keep going with it. It’s inspired by a cool Japanese-based fashion label called Milkfed, the difference is I’m on medication…

Do you think there is a move in a positive direction in the perception of Mental Health in media?

Overall yes, but I think there is some way to go with psychosis and schizophrenia as these are labels that get bad press, still. It’d be nice to see more successful faces with the label and I’m sure they’re out there. We need more Elyn Saks and perhaps also more people with schizophrenia who do more than just mental health campaigning.

How do you prepare for speaking engagements?

I usually start with online research into the organisation or company I am speaking too. It’s also nice to have a talk with the booker about my audience. My story is a colourful one and I also studied at Chelsea College of Art so more often than not, I use fine and contemporary art to illustrate key feelings, emotions and situations.

Who or what inspires you most?

As a journalist, I think other people’s stories inspire me a lot. Also, I’m eternally inspired by the arts and how they can represent our beautiful struggle. I find some of my most inspiring moments while reading a book or in a gallery, when the artist conveys in one line, or a brushstroke, a feeling that’s lay dormant in me for some time.

What three tips would you give someone working on a freelance basis?

Freelancing (or freestyling as I call it) is a little like applying for several jobs a day and sometimes getting nothing back. I often feel like I couldn’t solicit a moth to a flame, let alone a commissioning email from an editor. Keep going! Journal your successes and refer to them in moments of self-doubt. It can be a slog but the work-life balance it can afford you more than makes up for the inevitable daily rejection.

See keynotes with Erica Crompton
Non-binding request for Erica Crompton

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Erica Crompton

4.5 out of 5 stars

"Great speaker and kept the talk lively, interesting and real."

Cat Taylor - Off The Record (Bristol) See all references

Keynote topics with Erica Crompton