If you visit Liz Fraser's facebook page, you will see an apt and suitably amusing description:
"Best-selling author, columnist and broadcaster. Funny bird. Fast. Still has all her own teeth. Occasional outbursts of filth."
Words that could also apply are talented, driven, passionate ... maybe even stubborn in its most positive context. I first discovered Liz in late 2015, a time when I was looking at women in leadership roles as part of my alter ego as an HR and Recruitment professional. (Yes, I do have a proper job innit!!); a quick search on the phrase "women and leadership" (with best Boolean engaged) led me to a piece in the Guardian.
It transpired that the said piece (please read) betrayed a rare ability to convey a subject quite seriously, sensibly and knowledgably, not to mention side-splittingly! It also had nothing remotely to with what I had been seeking, but I was immediately a fan. "****ing brilliant" was the phrase I used, although saying it to a devout Christian sat next to me at the time probably didn't have the desired effect.
And there it was, I went back to my life of running, being mental (with a certificate to prove it!) and having a job, And then came the six degrees of separation ,,, well in fact two degrees of separation in this case; I wish it had been three, we would have added music to her considerable talents. There I am on Facebook, having posted about yet another boring marathon update and another polite request not for your pennies but mental health awareness, and I saw a comment from an old friend from Uni, whom I have not seen in more than 20 years; "Ro meet Liz, Liz meet Ro"
Now this hasn't happened yet, although I hope it will; I've still got my autograph book somewhere and I know enough mummies of a certain age that I could make quite a profit as a reseller of her books! What I hope, however, is that I will have the opportunity to contribute in some small way to the sure success of her pioneering and groundbreaking mental health project:
In the words of her own website, Headcase will "change the way we think and speak about everyday mental health issues, from anxiety and panic attacks to depression." Well thank Christ for that, change is needed as I have said often both on this website and elsewhere. I sense she's serious when she says she wants "to help blitz the face of mental health forever." I believe her as well; such a fusion of passion, intelligence, lived experience and empathy is an irresistible force and welcome.
I love the language with which the site is described; anyone who knows me will testify to my annoyance at the police of political correctness telling me what words I can and cannot use. If something's mental, I'll say so, although I prefer the MONU-MENTAL!! This is going to be a real site, a community and forum for real people to tell real stories in real words. You don't get much more Real than that, even in Madrid.
Personally, I think it is just what the mental health community needs, a fresh and brave approach, and I sincerely hope it succeeds ... and that I get an opportunity to support it. I hope you all will too.
Copyright 2016. Rohan Kallicharan. All Rights Reserved.
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