Spotlight on Sarah Brown: putting a face on and saying everything was fine
Sarah’s approach to mental health is refreshing as she talks openly and candidly about the reasons behind her passion for the subject.
Like many of us, Sarah Brown was brought up to put a face on and say everything was fine. To pick herself up and brush herself down. To carry on regardless. That approach served her well for twenty eight years. She had a beautiful daughter, a successful career in the police, a beautiful home and a busy social life. You get the picture. To the outside world she was THE STRONG ONE.
Sarah thought she was invincible and secretly believed she was Wonder Woman (the costume is now only for fancy dress purposes). But taking on too much, not saying no, living life in the fast lane and ignoring the signs that she needed to ask for help (something that she thought was a weakness and now she recognises as a strength) eventually took its toll. She was diagnosed with severe depression, a result of undiagnosed post-natal depression from the birth of her daughter four years earlier. She admits to ignoring the feelings of despair and cracked on because that was ‘what you did’. After all, she’d just given birth to a beautiful baby girl.
She openly admits that back then mental health was not on her agenda. It wasn’t something that was spoken about or discussed. And some of those closest to her just didn’t get it and told her to shake it off. It wasn’t their fault, just a lack of education and awareness.
Going through CBT was the start of Sarah’s development journey and a model that she is a big fan of to date.
The lessons that Sarah learnt from that stage in her life have been invaluable. She believes she is a better person and is now equipped to help people without judgement and with empathy.
Whilst she has turned her experience into a positive, she also says that she lost twelve months of her life; something that she doesn’t want anyone else to go through.
Her development journey didn’t stop after her CBT treatment though. She felt so passionate about educating people that she eventually left the police and pursued a career in Learning and Development.
Trained in NLP, positive psychology, management and leadership, CIPD, Mental Health First Aid and coaching means that she can not only bring her own experience to her training, but also the theory and science too.
Sarah has experience of coaching people professionally and personally, and has seen some amazing results in the change of people’s behaviour.
She is also a Mental Health First Aider, Mental Health First Aid instructor and a volunteer for Action for Happiness.
Sarah has delivered numerous Mental Health and Wellbeing workshops to varying audiences from schools, businesses and charities. After each one of these she knows she’s achieved something, as everyone leaves with the confidence to talk about it openly and are eager to spread the word.
Sarah explains that mental health and wellbeing underpins everything we do at work and in life. Looking back at her experience, she believes that if she had been equipped with the knowledge about topics such as self-awareness, resilience, mindset and time management, then she could have proactively managed her mental health and spotted the signs early on.
These skills can easily be dismissed as ‘soft skills’, but Sarah prefers to call them the Human Skills and believes that they are fundamental to everyone’s wellbeing. Sarah’s passion for these skills is infectious. She has first-hand experience of delivering these workshops and seeing the benefits that they bring to people.
Sarah also says that when we talk about mental health, it doesn’t always have to be serious. She feels this is the reason people still treat it like a taboo. Depressed people do have a sense of humour. She's a great example of that and states that doing fun things, laughing, and learning to laugh at herself is what helped her the most. After all, they do say that laughter is the best medicine.
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