29 MAR 2018
Each year the Matrics chairman is given the task of raising £5,000 for their chosen charity. This year, I am raising money for the mental health charity MIND.
MIND is one of the many great charities out there, doing great things in raising awareness and trying to address the stigma associated with mental health. First and foremost, their offer to be there for anyone who needs them.
Mental health is still woefully misunderstood, misrepresented and the poor cousin to other illnesses, although things are starting to change as people, companies and government start to take notice of the harsh effects it can have society. The most striking statistic that made me stand up and take notice is that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45. However, mental health affects us all either directly, as most of us will suffer at some point in our lives, often through life events which may affect us for shorter or longer periods, or indirectly, as we will undoubtedly have friends, colleagues, acquaintances who will be experiencing mental health challenges right now.
My Chairman’s Challenge is to cycle from John O’Groats to Land’s End (about 920 miles) over seven days in May. And I’ll be doing this solo. I’ve chosen to do this in May (12-18) as it coincides with Mental Health Awareness Week.
I decided upon the challenge for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to do something that would really be a challenge, that I’d have to push myself and train to do and hopefully people would think so, too. Secondly, as a national body, I thought a challenge that crosses lots of RICS Matrics regions was nice symbolically.
I want to raise some money towards a good cause, but more importantly I think it is about raising awareness. While attitudes are changing, societal pressures are only increasing, particularly for younger generations. We need to do more to address the issue of mental health in order to prevent it deteriorating further.
That sounds very grand and perhaps overly ambitious for a chairman of RICS Matrics but my aspirations start smaller. Ultimately I want people to look after themselves and for friends and colleagues to be aware, supportive and sympathetic towards people who may be experiencing mental health problems.
If you would like to support my challenge, please donate here.