Today, I was here:-
A community centre in Shepherd’s Bush, West London, was the venue for Allen Brooks to give his considered opinions and thoughts on mental health and well being.
So how all this come about? Remember that short video I provided the link for? Well, someone commented on the video (favourably, I might add), and we linked up for an event he was hosting, called Brovember, Launch Party. The gentleman concerned is running a group of events at this venue in the month of November, especially centring around men’s mental health.
Today was a get together of the local populace, to share ideas and to network. It was, from someone with experience of taking part in such events locally, extremely well organised and put together. We had about 30/40 people attending and they all were interested in the upcoming events. And they weren’t all men either. Some women, and some families too.
So onto my input. The organiser wanted me to speak about mental health, relating to my recovery journey, my autism diagnosis and things that keep me on the straight and narrow. Like a nervous actor, I was kept waiting for a good while until I got the go ahead to speak. And a fair few people (20-25) stayed on to listen.
A bit of initial nervousness, but once I overcame that, I was into my stride and away. I invited questions and I tried to answer them as best I could. I tried to be honest, upbeat and positive as I could manage.
Outcome? Excellent feedback. Quite a few audience members were impressed with the content and me for having the guts to get up in front of a set of complete strangers and talk. So impressed were a couple of people that I’ve shared my contact details as they want me to speak again at future events.
How do I do it? With limited preparation, but armed with knowledge of the subject. I try and be concise as possible and hopefully, honest. People respond to real life stories and I hope that the 20-25 people who stayed on got something out of it. Don’t forget also that I’ve travelled across London on a busy Saturday, and for free. It’s important to stress that I do these things purely for spiritual and emotional gain, and not financial. I did worry the organiser when I jokingly made reference to being paid!!! As I’ve said before, I gladly do these short talks for nothing. If people come away with something from what I’ve said, then that is so much more valuable than any kind of remuneration.
Excellent afternoon and even being on a packed Underground train coming home didn’t worry me. I’m just enjoying the afterglow of doing something I enjoy doing. Relaxing at home with a pizza and a glass of wine. There will be more work to be done. And with such selfless individuals as the organiser, hopefully more men will be able to speak out about their problems instead of keeping it to themselves.