Sam grew up in a house where every day was a violent one due to an alcoholic and paranoid schizophrenic stepfather. From a young age Sam wondered if everyone with a mental health issue was dangerous.

Years later, after gaining an MSc in Psychology, Sam realised that not all those suffering from mental health problems are dangerous. Moreover; the majority of those suffering are actually in desperate need of support and help. Sam became a mental health advocate and spent eight years campaigning for the basic fundamental rights of those who were being stigmatised.

Sam heard many tragic stories during her career. A career spent helping those in need in prisons, rehousing the homeless and helping clients with detoxification and rehabilitation issues. Then one day her raison d’être was taken from her. Sam was made redundant.

With her job loss her identity dissolved too. Within months, Sam changed from being a confident outspoken woman, to a hurting mess who was happy to down a bottle of wine a night and fight with the world. Her life spiralled out of control. In one final desperate bid to save their relationship, her fiancé begged Sam to talk to a doctor. It became apparent that Sam had suffered a mental breakdown and was diagnosed with clinical depression. That was the day Sam truly understood what mental health was all about. The mental health professional had become the client.

Sam started a blog of her journey of recovery, during the months of insomnia and delusions. Her battle lasted two and a half years and included three suicide attempts, five different types of medication and therapy.

Sam’s blog got attention but not all of it was positive. She was criticised as a “professional” for being so brutally honest about her own experiences as both a health worker and patient. She realised mental health stigma was rife inside and out of the profession.

Sam will share her journey to show people that having a breakdown, having depression, or any other form of illness is not the end of the road. People can get through a day. Sam will use poetry and humour to tell her journey to get people shifting their perspective.

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Sam Edwards has spent the past twelve years advocating on behalf of those at risk of homeless due to mental health problems and drug addiction. A mental health professional herself, she currently holds a BSc and MSc in Psychology and currently working towards BACP Accreditation as a psychotherapist while completing another MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Sam regularly blogs about her battles and now helps others win the battle with anxiety and depression through public speaking, art and poetry.