Year of Mudding and Marathons for Mental Health

As we journey further into 2024 and the cobwebs of our yet-to-be-completed New Year’s resolutions are swiftly dusted off and forgotten, I’m delighted to have the opportunity to take on the role of the over-enthusiastic and slightly pedantic parent who tries to get you back on track after a not-so-dry January! Before your quads start groaning at the thought of getting back on the treadmill or into the gym – bear with me – it’s for an amazing cause.

Throughout the year, I will be using my days off from Thirty47 and studying at Swansea University to complete 1 challenge every month on behalf of MIND: an incredible mental health charity.

The challenges are as follows:

  1. January – 75 Hard
  2. February – The Reinvented Marathon
  3. March – The Ultra Loop – 30K
  4. April – Stratford-upon-Avon Marathon
  5. May – 10 Peaks Challenge Brecon Beacons
  6. June – Swansea Half Marathon (with Weighted Vest)
  7. July – Tough Mudder 1 – Manchester or Lincolnshire
  8. August – 3 Peaks Challenge
  9. September – Tough Mudder 2 – Ragley Hall
  10. October – Coast2Coast Cycle
  11. November – Alton Towers Half Marathon
  12. December – Christmas Day Cracker Ultra Marathon Run

It’s easy to dismiss mental health challenges as part and parcel of an increasingly stressful, modern work environment where the worries don’t log off for the day at 5pm when we do. But it’s clear that the current measures we are taking to address our mental health are falling short of the need to offset the current well-being crisis:

  • 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.
  • Depression affects around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over
  • It is estimated that 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS.
  • 20.3% of 8 to 16-year-olds had a probable mental disorder in 2023.
  • 39% said their mental health had declined since beginning university.

Our lives are also becoming increasingly revolved around our work, and our well-being becomes more and more difficult to detach from our satisfaction in the workplace. Gratitude is an important proponent of strong mental health, and I am extremely grateful for the support I receive in the workplace that facilitates a sustainable work-life balance. Sadly, it is easy to be thankful for this as such measures are infrequent, and it is time that businesses universally start taking accountability for promoting the mental health of their employees.

By providing resources such as employee assistance programs, counselling services, and mental health training, businesses can actively promote positive mental well-being. Additionally, implementing flexible working arrangements, promoting work-life balance, and encouraging regular breaks can help reduce stress levels and prevent burnout.

MIND endeavours to create an environment where we can unite across ages, cultures and genders to talk, take action and support each other openly in discussions of our mental health. They play a fundamental role in providing support and resources to those who are struggling with their mental well-being. However, these organisations heavily rely on fundraising efforts to continue their important services, including counselling, therapy sessions, helplines, educational programs, and community outreach initiatives.

Now, as much as this news may shock many of us, it is still only February, and 2024 is just lacing up its boots. Sometimes life truly does get in the way, but for many of us, it is a lack of confidence and belief in our ability that causes us to give up on our goals before the end of January. So we are given an option: resign to the declaration that ‘2025 will be my year’, or take action to help fight the mental health battle on the front lines.

It’s with this in mind that I extend an open invitation to join me in any of the events mentioned above. Each event is also an opportunity to meet with new and familiar faces and build relationships, another important facet of mental health. With this in MIND (sorry), no headphones are allowed, as we seek to do our bit to promote connection and conversation.

The more people involved, the more awareness and funds we can contribute to what I hope you agree is a remarkable cause.

If any of the events are for you, get in touch with me by email: [email protected] or by text: 07928267448. Also more than happy to help create a personal fundraising page.

To learn more about the events or donate to the cause, click this.

Here’s to a year of compassion, understanding, and breaking through the barriers of mental health.

Wishing you all the best in 2024,
Harrison – Intern @ Thirty4/7 Communications