The Cost of Bravery: Meeting Allan Sparkes OAM CV

Not everyday do you get to meet your heroes, but when you do, sometimes the experience can be your most overwhelming.

Back years ago, I read a book called ‘The Cost of Bravery‘, which is an ex-Copper’s reflections upon the events which caused him his mental health.

Today, I met Allan Sparkes OAM CV who is one of Australia’s 5 recipients of the Cross of Valour for his actions in saving a little bit from raging floodwaters in Coffs Harbour. For years, he has been one of my heroes of hope, that anyone may bounce back from mental illness to achieve incredible things in life.

As part of the NSW Government Graduate Program, Allan came to speak about own mental ill health and his recovery to become the Deputy Commissioner of the NSW Mental Health Commission, and to provide us with wisdom in how we can care for ourselves throughout our careers. Allan is not only a wonderful orator, but one who speaks from his heart and soul and I was so honored to be able to sit down with him for half an hour to speak not only about my own experiences but how I want to help to create a better, more mentally healthy Australia.

Today was an incredible milestone in my life, and I’m still overwhelmed by the experience so I’ll write more about it later. More so than everything else, I am hopeful for our future.

Allan Sparkes

Not pictured: Me ugly-crying with Allan afterwards.

2 thoughts on “The Cost of Bravery: Meeting Allan Sparkes OAM CV

  1. I think you fail to realise how important it was for me to meet you Elisabeth. Many people suffer from mental illnesses at various times of their life and sadly, some suffer from them all their life. There are those who decide those illnesses will rule their lives and others who decide to rule those illnesses. And then there are those like you who want to use their experiences to help. Not just themselves to learn how to live a more enriched life but to help others. And that is the most important thing you can do. Use your experiences to help others, particularly young women who are trying their best to live through challenging times as they progress through adolescents and into early adulthood. Whilst we can all hope there are sufficient resources available to help us cope and overcome mental illnesses and being suicidal, the reality is, there are not enough at all. We have to inform others how to cope, how to manage when the darkest of clouds envelope us. You have and continue to show exceptional courage in the work you are doing. You have my utmost admiration and respect.

    Liked by 1 person

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