A SINGER has toured Teesside - but not to perform, but to give mental health talks to children.

Asher Knight has been touring up and down the country sharing to students how playing and performing music can help those who are struggling with mental health issues. Having been bullied in secondary school, Asher wanted to give back, especially during Covid when there has been an increase in mental health problems and isolation.

Asher visited the North Shore Academy in Stockton, Outwood Academy Riverside in Middlesbrough, Laurence Jackson in Guisborough.

He will also visit Lord Lawson of Beamish Academy in Chester-le-Street, Washington Academy in Washington, UTC South Durham in Aycliffe Business Park and Unity City Academy in Middlesbrough in August.

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Over the last three weeks Asher, who is from Bradford and now lives in London, has visited 20 schools.

He said: "I've been doing the mental health talks for a couple of years now, going into schools up and down the country, trying to encourage the kids into being open-minded and trying to understand what mental health is and a lot of the stigma that can be attached to mental health. Over the years it's been absolutely fantastic seeing the response, especially over the last three weeks after not being able to do them for the last year or so.

"It's lovely being able to see their response again and have some of the honest conversations about how they handled the lockdown. Because the lockdown has really affected their mental health."

Asher has had two successful singles released in 2021 which collated over 180,000 streams on Spotify, and performed on CBBC’s Saturday Live Mash-Up.

He speaks to secondary school children - with the talks changing for each year group and the school itself.

Asher said: "I adapt it to suit what the kids are really needing in terms of what teachers say - we've got this particular issue at the moment and I focus a lot more on that side of mental health because I know it's more relevant to the students in the audience.

"It's mainly Year 7s up to Year 11s.

"In the talks I cover I try to engage them and see how much they know about mental health and the types of problems that people suffer - depression to anxiety."

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