Lara is one of amazing women who took part in my “Discover YOU” series. Her mission is helping others understand the mental health and spot the signs when they need to reach out for help. I loved connecting with Lara and watching her transform into this gorgeous and incredibly beautiful woman she truly is.
My Discover YOU series showcases extraordinary women who wanted to share their stories and celebrate their lives in this very moment with a portrait experience. Here is Lara’s story, some of her beautiful images and a behind the scenes video from her session.
Following a mental health breakdown in 2011, I have learnt how to try to control my emotions and thoughts. I worked hard on myself, learning about mental health and became part of the management team for a mental health recovery service. Following this I trained to become a qualified mental health first aid instructor. I now teach others how to understand mental health and how to help themselves and others when in need.
Who do you want to be and what experiences do you want to create?
Overall in life I want to be happy, I have previously lived and worked in Spain and would love to be fortunate in my future to do so again.
What would you do differently in your life if you knew nobody would judge you?
I would simply have shared that I was mentally struggling and needed help a long time before I hit rock bottom, rather than worrying how I would be perceived by others. Knowing how it feels being there is knowing I never want to go there again.
Tell me more about your work at Mind Health Solutions:
Mind Health Solutions was developed by Ryan Ridgway and myself following our own mental health struggles and not knowing where to turn, this then leading us into careers within the mental health sector. We teach companies and individuals how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health in themselves and others, how to have understanding and the confidence to step in, support and signpost help and assistance.
What would you advise someone who struggles with mental health but is not sure how and where to look for help?
Talk to those around you such as friends or family, ensure you reach out and ask for help, this could be via GP, charities such as Mind or many other services available, it is the hardest but the best step forward. Remember recovery does not have to be isolated and fast, focus on taking consistent steps in the right direction and most importantly have HOPE.
What do you want most out of life?
For myself and my daughter to be happy, mentally and physically well and build a good life. I also want to continue to teach mental health first aid and help people understand that mental health is as important as physical health.
What do you want to do more of each day?
I would like to spend more time with friends, the past year has really defined how much I enjoy social contact and I am most definitely a hugger!
Who inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired by those who have had struggles and continue to develop themselves and build a life they want. I am lucky to have some amazing friends that support me and my daughter and check up on us. I have the best business partner in Ryan who is also one of my best friends, we know each others strengths and weaknesses, share workload and encourage each other to have an equal work/life balance.
Why were portraits important to you now?
I wanted the photographs to bring me confidence in myself during my 40th year and have a memory to look back on.
How did you feel seeing your finished portraits?
I felt truly overwhelmed that Renata had captured such me looking so vibrant and well, I never thought I could look at photographs of myself and smile.
See Lara’s behind the scenes
If you need or know someone who needs mental health help, you can contact Lara at Mind Health Solutions
Photo & Retouch Renata Clarke
Makeup & Hair Styling Aleksandra Guz
New 40 over 40 campaign for women in their 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Click here for more info.
Renata owns a boutique portrait studio in Worcester, UK, providing full service photography experience for everyday women and female entrepreneurs. She specialises in high end portrait and boudoir photoshoots and personal branding photography. Her main focus is to empower women through the tailored experience and beautiful fine art portraits and to help business owners build their brand and attract ideal clients. . Get in touch to reserve your complimentary consultation and talk about your personalised photoshoot.