Clive Branson on ‘World Mental Health Day 2022’
It is an understatement to say that Motivational Speaker Clive Branson has faced some hurdles over the last few years. After a Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis, a period of severe anxiety that culminated in being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, and finally a cancer diagnosis, Clive has had to learn to draw on resilience and inner strength in ways he never thought possible.
In aid of World Mental Health Day, Clive has kindly shared with The Speakers Agency some words of wisdom on the importance of mental health and wellbeing, and how he ended up venturing into the world of public speaking to inspire others to embrace life’s ups and downs:
World Mental Health Day 2022 is taking place on the 10th of October. The theme, which is set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is “Make mental health and well-being for all a global priority”
Even in the modern era, successfully making anything a global priority is extremely challenging. However, the purpose of this theme is to raise awareness and stimulate support.
Over the last five years, my own mental health has been severely compromised. I have had to force my mind to discover hidden reserves of resilience and fortitude that I didn’t realise I had. My story so far has been an emotional and physical rollercoaster, that includes personal grief, terminal illness, psychiatric hospitals, and the total loss of confidence and identity.
This journey stole my perspective, disguised any signs of hope and allowed severe anxiety to impose its vice like grip. However, thanks to the unconditional love and support from my incredible family and friends, I was able to regain perspective. I learned to grip the side of the slide and re-discover hope, nurture positivity, and learn how to adopt a positive mindset.
This profound story, associated experiences, and ongoing life lesson is a vehicle that I choose to use, as I endeavour to inspire, encourage, educate, and motivate others.
I have come to realise that we must live life, on life’s terms. And that we can influence very little, and control even less.
Whilst I’m in danger of sounding like the sound bites on a fridge magnet, we hear time and time again, that you only live once. But actually, this well worn saying is factually incorrect. Because, we only die once, and we live life every day!
Obviously, my medical condition changed almost every aspect of my life. However, it will not define me. In my search for a new direction, I decided to play to my strengths. Having red hair and a big gob, the world of public speaking was beckoning me forward. I learned about speaker bureaus, studied successful speakers, and began to share my story with schools, colleges, universities, Premier football foundations, Police forces, and at corporate events.
This new career path is proving to be hugely personally rewarding. I have always been a people person, so connecting with my audience, gauging their reaction, and experiencing the shared inspiration and positivity as I close my presentation is something that I hope to continue for many years to come.
Mental health is thankfully discussed more now within people’s personal and professional lives. Prominent people within sports, entertainment, and the wider media have bravely chosen to put the unforgiving spotlight on their own stories. Demonstrating that fame, fortune and a filtered social media presence, often hides the challenges of real life.
We have to develop and grow as a society. To the point where we recognise, respect, and give credence to mental health, as we do physical health.
The stresses and strains of everyday life will not cease. However, striving to raise awareness and develop a general understanding of mental health must continue, the world over.
As I have already stated, sharing my story is proving to be rewarding on a personal level. The inspiration and positivity that I express to my audience, bounces straight back at me. Replenishing my reserves, and leaving me searching for my next engagement!
But this journey also exposes a harsh reality. And that is, there is a huge number of people, in all walks of life, that are in immediate need, of empathy and support. Whilst I fully accept that I am a one man drain, on the NHS. And whilst this is certain to continue, I remind myself each and every day, that I love, and I am loved.
My wife is a force of nature. And she is very well aware that I have stretched the “in sickness and in health” element of our vows. But she stands by my side, guiding me through life, whatever the weather. We have four sons, and three grandchildren, so therefore our house does not have a front door, but a revolving door.
These blessings keep me buoyant and strengthen my resolve.
Please recognise and support this year’s World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October.
And let’s work in earnest towards “making mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority!”