When the NHS appealed for volunteers to help during the current pandemic, I thought long and hard about signing up, but soon realised that with my anxiety and depression I probably wouldn’t be much help, so I didn’t do it.
It wasn’t a nice feeling, realising that I wouldn’t be reliable enough to help other people; and I felt guilty when I saw some of the amazing work that volunteers are doing to help their community.
This has been playing on my mind for a while now, and I have kept thinking of ways that I could help. I guess that in a small way, some of my social media posts, and the blogs I write do help, but it is hard to see the tangible effects, despite receiving some lovely, amazing comments.
Mind are currently running an Emergency Appeal to help support people during this time and in the aftermath of the pandemic.
As most of you will know, I started fundraising for Mind last year, with my ‘Adventures of an Anxious Mind’; so, as running is something I can do, I thought, why not use this to make a push to raise some more money for Mind.
A friend sent me a link for a company called The Conquerer Virtual Challenges, in particular the Camino de Santiago challenge, which is based on the pilgrim route from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port in France, to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain; in total the distance is 480 miles (772 km).
So, the challenge I am setting myself is to run 480 miles (virtually), over 16 weeks starting from 1st July 2020. It breaks down to 120 miles per month, which is 30 miles per week…..
To help me along the way, I will continue to do the Race At Your Pace monthly challenges that I currently do, plus the Milton Keynes Marathon, which is due to be held early in September (pandemic depending).
While I will be running around the village and surrounding fields where I live, the company running the challenge have a virtual map, so I can actually see where I would be, if running the Camino de Santiago route itself (they also send 13 postcards which I will share, so we can also learn more about some of the sights along the route).
About Mind’s Emergency Appeal.
Because of the pandemic more people are struggling with their mental health, in addition to the many who were struggling before.
Recent research carried out by Mind revealed that nearly 60% of people surveyed (I think it was over 15,000 who responded to their survey) across England said their mental health had got worse during lockdown, but around 31% said they did not seek help because they didn’t think it was serious enough.
We are all facing huge, and in some cases, life changing challenges ,including bereavement, adapting to new working conditions, money worries, employment worries and education worries to name but a few.
Mind are pushing the decision makers to ensure that people can receive the support that they need now, and in the future.
People can be detained against their will under the Mental Health Act, with little or no say over what happens to them; they can end up stuck in hospital where there is a greater risk in contracting the virus, and the essential support services they need are lacking or not available because of the virus.
More people are claiming Universal Credit; money worries cause enough stress, but when you add in a complicated benefits system (something I have first hand experience in), the risks to our mental health are magnified. Mind is pushing those in power, to make sure no one slips through the net, and everyone gets the financial help they need.
As well as their own work, Mind has partnered with other mental health charities to create ‘Our Frontline’, where they provide round the clock support for NHS workers, carers, key workers and those working in the emergency services.
I know it is not the best time to be asking for donations, but if you can spare any amount, then it will be greatly appreciated. Here is the link to my Just Giving page.
Since I started ‘Adventures of an Anxious Mind’, I have raised £535, so I would love to try and get this over the £1000 mark if we can.
If you are struggling with your mental health, the best advice I can give you is to talk to someone and get help; the best place to start is with your GP. It may feel like the NHS has enough to deal with at the moment, but they are still there for all of us.
Here is a link to Mind’s website, which has loads of important information on how to find help if you need it.
Take care of your mental health, and wish me luck with the challenge; I think I might need it…..
Thank you, thank you, thank you.