As news of the coronavirus continues to dominate the headlines, questions around mental health awareness continue to rise to the fore. With this in mind, we’ve selected one of our favourite interviews which primarily deal with this subject. We sat down with Scott Stevenson, founder of The Stevenson Way to discuss mental health support strategies and creating a support mechanism for your emotional wellbeing. Check it out!
Like many entrepreneurs, Scott Stevenson didn’t set out to follow a career in business. The mental health advocate now champions emotional wellbeing as a full-time career – a path which ended up following after suffering with various mental health issues throughout his life. These issues continued right up to as recently as 2017, when he had a “Road to Damascus” moment and made the decision to transform his lifestyle and outlook on life. In an admirable openness, Stevenson shares that at one point, he felt that his life was going to end. “The Stevenson Way is essentially my charting from that point to where I am now – the happiest, smiliest clinically depressed man you will ever meet.”
Scott admits that he has no shame or stigma about what he has gone through in the past. This allowed him the freedom to “own it”, moving out of a well-paid career in the health service to pursue life as a keynote speaker, delivering mental health workshops across the country. His goal is to highlight mental health awareness, and transform public perceptions.
Scott himself started his recovery in 2017, and quickly admitted that he had been getting it wrong for over 20 years. “Everyone is unique – so why are we trying to fit everything into CBTG, or therapy and anti depressants? I set about discovering what worked for me and brought this together and I thought that others may benefit from this. If trauma was an olympic sport I’d be an olympic gold medalist, and that gave me great perspective to speak on these issues,” he shares. Scott also adds that he is a neurodivergent and present on the autism scale – a quality he shares with his children. Living with neurodivergent tendencies, according to Scott, means that he views life as a series of challenges and problems to be overcome.
Summing up his business and approach to mental health, Scott describes The Stevenson Way as the six-step program he himself embarked upon, “going from the very worst to feeling good again”. This has involved identifying what worked for him and including it in the plan, and excluding those things that didn’t work. Scott argues that the first step is to admit there is a problem, and to commit yourself to doing something about it. Fighting the stigma behind mental health.
In a more personal moment, Scott shares with us the experiences which led him to suffer from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Deployed to Northern Ireland at the young age of 19 to serve as a police officer, Scott experienced the worst excesses of the sectarian conflict when he witnessed the death of a man as a result of an IRA bomb attack. This however, marked only the first page of trauma in Scott’s life. The young man then took part in the Gulf War; the Second Gulf War, Kosovo and further military campaigns. He didn’t realise his autism until later on in life – a diagnosis that is still in process. Like many victims of PTSD, Scott attempted to hide his issues with the help of alcohol.
According to Scott, the awareness is everywhere. However, few meaningful conversations happen around this issue. Until we do have these conversations, the health service will struggle to cope with the ongoing mental health crisis – especially in Northern Ireland which is currently fighting through what has been described as a “suicide epidemic”. Indeed, the welfare advocate highlights that having these conversations with the people we love is the first step towards transforming public perceptions. “If you can have those conversations on a daily basis, you are far less likely to fall into the worst of places.”
What comes next for Scott Stevenson? He shares that his first book should be published by the end of April this year – an important milestone from him. The next step will be to publish a total autobiography about his experiences, whilst continuing to grow the business. “For me, it’s about encouraging intervention, rather than simply building resilience. It’s about making these issues as visible as possible – and this is why I’m here speaking to ProfileTree TV”.
We wish Scott Stevenson all the very best with The Stevenson Way, and we wish him the best of luck with his continuing journey. Our viewers can find out more about The Stevenson Way via the official website, or by contacting Scott directly via his professional LinkedIn profile.