Her name is Laura Burke, and if you do not know her or what she does already, you will by the time you finish reading this blog. But before you go any further, check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23a18HKYLW4. Ok, so here we go.
Recently it was my privilege to present Laura with the first ever youth award in the Champions of Mental Health Awards history. And she is a worthy recipient. She has worked hard to get well and to stay well. She takes her challenges head on and addresses them. She does not look for pity or solace she looks for recognition of her strengths. In short, she fell down, she got up, she dusted herself off and she began all over again. Kudos!
I am not sure if this is what the legion of resilience researchers are talking about or not. It seems that not a day goes by that I do not read about a new program or a new direction that will transform the lives of young people by enhancing their resilience. Usually this is achieved (or more properly said to have been achieved without the solid evidence we need to critically determine the outcomes) by some kind of learning of how to be resilient, taught no doubt by a well meaning and well paid human services provider.
And what about people like Laura. How did she become so resilient? Maybe she had it in her all along. Maybe everyone does. Maybe we need to work at ensuring environments support the development of that. Maybe we need allow young people to fall down gently, so that they can learn to stand up, dust themselves off and start all over again.