Debbie Young

Hello, I'm Debbie Young

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When people ask me what I do, I say ‘Death and Sex’. They look at me inquisitively and I explain. For part of the week I am raising awareness of death, dying and bereavement and supporting people to put end of life care plans in place and the other part of the week I am working with young people supporting them around relationships and sexual health. But isn’t that a strange combination? Not at all. Many people feel uncomfortable talking openly and honestly about both death and sex. However, the skills we need to have confident conversations about both these important issues are the same.

I originally trained as a Nurse but quickly realised that my passion and interest lay in Public Health. After completing a Msc in Health Promotion and Health Education I spent the next 10 years working in the NHS and Civil Service in a range of strategic and management positions mainly focusing on teenage pregnancy and young people’s sexual health.

In 2004, I left the public sector to set up my own business. Over the years I’ve established many exciting partnerships working with a range of different organisations, including CCGs, local authorities and the voluntary sector, developing strategies, designing and delivering training and workshops and creating innovative resources.

The initial focus of my business was on sexual & reproductive health. However, in 2011, my work began to include end of life care and end of life care planning and so my passion for talking openly about death, dying and bereavement began.

For 9 years I worked as a partner at Gentle Dusk Partnership, an organisation lifting the taboo around death and bereavement and raising awareness of end of life care planning. During this time we developed Future Matters; an innovative volunteer-led service that aims to open conversations about death and that supports people to put their end of life plans in place. I also developed a range of interactive and participatory training programmes and workshops and hosted Death Cafes.

Alongside my business I also work part-time as a Contraceptive and Sexual Health Nurse at a young people’s sexual health clinic. I love supporting the young people that access the service but this experience also ensures that my feet are kept firmly on the ground so that my relationships and sexual health work always relates directly to young people’s experiences and to current practice. If you are interested in qualifications, my most relevant are:

  • MSc Health Education and Health Promotion
  • City and Guilds Award in Education and Training (formerly known as PTTLS)
  • City and Guilds Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement
  • Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health Diploma

For more information about my experience do take a look at my profile on LinkedIn.