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Fraser Brown talks about mental health
Fraser Brown (01-07), Glasgow and Scotland hooker, visited the school on Wednesday 22 November. He chatted to the pupils about his career path and about the mental health challenges that he has faced.

See the write-up from the evening below.
Fraser Brown is the imposing figure you would expect from someone who has spent the majority of his life dedicated to one sport. Nonetheless, he was extremely open about his life and the difficulties he has faced, both mentally and physically, to reach the level he is at now. A Merchistonian himself, he captained the 1XV in 2006/7, and went on to captain the Scotland under 20s squad in 2009 as well. He has played a huge part in Scotland’s success, making his first international debut in 2008 for the Scotland u20 team, and many of his team mates would go on to play with him for the full national team in successful World Cup, Six Nations, Summer Tour, and Autumn Internationals campaigns.

During his visit to Merchiston, he made apparent the nostalgic feeling of the returning to the old castle and, as is repeated often, elucidated how grateful he was – and how grateful we should all be – at being able to attend such a prestigious school. He talked amiably about his time here and after school, and gave us an insight on the seemingly background details of travel to different countries during tours, and his gratitude at being able to do so with his other team mates, who he sees as close friends.

Life for Fraser Brown, however, has not always been so enjoyable. He has suffered from several serious injuries, ousting him from playing for months at a time. Due to an especially severe neck injury, Fraser was unable to play, and upon returning to the club for which he played at the time, Edinburgh, was told his contract had been terminated. To be so suddenly and violently wrenched away from his dream profession was hard to take and launched him into bouts of depression that he says can still be on-going even today.

At the time, Fraser retired to his family’s farm to find space to deal with his problems and formulate a plan to bounce back; he insists that fresh air and exercise really help, alongside meditation and even some time alone gaming. “Any moments spent being with yourself can have a massive effect on your wellbeing”, he says. And it seems to have worked: after being dropped from the Edinburgh squad, Fraser quickly regained his footing and was soon signed to play with the Glasgow Warriors after a spell at Heriot’s and Scotland 7s, and was so successful that the Evening News even described him as ‘one of the great unfulfilled talents of Scottish Rugby’.

After a successful night, I am confident in saying that Fraser inspired us all, and taught us a valuable lesson in perseverance through mental and physical battles.

Written by Will N, LVI Form


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