Geared up for mental health challenge

Last week I was contacted by a constituent who has just completed an epic journey to raise money for mental health charity SAMH.

On Saturday October 29th, Abi Wingate from Edinburgh completed a 7 month, 15,000 mile journey from Thailand to Edinburgh covering an astonishing 11,000 miles on her bike.

Beginning as a throw away remark amongst friends, the idea of the bike journey quickly grew into a way for Abi to begin to cope with her own experiences of depression and the suicide of a close friend.  In light of this, Abi chose to fundraise for the Scottish Assocaition of Mental Health (SAMH) and has so far raised over £9,000. 

Abi chronicled her journey, including encounters with wild dogs, dangerous drivers and broken bones, on her website CycleInstead.  The journey, and fundraising efforts are a massive accomplishment and I would like to congratulate Abi on her success. 

One in four people in Scotland will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives but a significant number of people do not wish to talk about their situation.

For people living with a mental health condition there is a real fear of stigma and discrimination particularly in the workplace or at school.  SAMH are one of the organisations behind the See Me… campaign which is helping to tackle stigma by dispelling the myths of mental ill-health.

SAMH are also involved as partners in the ‘Suicide. Don’t hide it. Talk about it’ campaign which encourages people to talk to someone about feeling suicidal as the first step towards getting help. 

In 2010 there were 781 deaths by suicide. Serious talk about suicide can reduce risk however the stigma of the issue prevents many people from speaking openly about it. 

The campaign’s website is a great resource, signposting where people can get help if they are feeling suicidal or are worried about someone they know.  The website also provides a wealth of information dispelling the myths that surround suicide.