With over thirty years' experience as a social worker, Carolyn has worked as a practitioner, researcher, trainer and manager. Working on a freelance basis since 2006, she has felt privileged to be able to develop her interest and passion for good mental health and well-being, promoting positive approaches to managing stress, anxiety and depression as well as more severe mental health conditions.
Carolyn began her professional career as a generic field social worker, pioneering group work projects with young people in care. She specialized in innovative individual and group programs for young offenders under the Intermediate Treatment scheme of the 1980s, before moving into adult services. She set up a new team specializing in mental health and learning disability services, and later moved into quality and performance management work where she trained staff in methods to collect and evaluate service user perspectives. Subsequent experience as a senior manager in the voluntary sector broadened her own perspective on social care services and the contribution of volunteers in service delivery.
Since 2006, she has worked independently providing consultancy, research and training with a range of social work organizations. Carolyn continues to be involved in field instruction working with local universities and as an independent assessor for newly qualified social workers. She established herself as a social entrepreneur with her first business venture of a training and well-being venue in her home city, Portsmouth, and now regularly contributes to training as part of the Hampshire School for Social Entrepreneurs.
In 2012, her second social enterprise formally took shape as The Good Mental Health Cooperative, now registered as a Community Interest Company. The Cooperative supports microenterprises and community-based activities through collaborative projects and trading. Her first book was published in 2013 - The Layperson’s Guide to Good Mental Health: Your A-Z for a Happier Life, and Carolyn regularly features on local radio.
Carolyn now regularly delivers workshops on good mental health and well-being at a range of local venues and facilitates a support group for people interested in practicing mindfulness.
In seeking to convey clear messages about what good mental health means, and how people can work towards it, Carolyn uses the 5Cs framework to underpin all her work in this area. The 5Cs are Challenge, Character, Composure, Connection and Creativity, and these are fully explored in her e-learning course, Positive Mental Health.