Earlier this year local lad, George Blackwell, started his #DoSomethingMentalForMentalHealth campaign.
As we all know, the Isle of Man has philanthropy running through its veins. Every day we’re inspired by selfless individuals who challenge themselves and dedicate time to ‘giving back’. We see a range daily fundraising activity and events, yet, George’s campaign stood out to us due to the grueling nature of his campaign events.
Those who know George will know, he loves a challenge. So when he set his mind to raising money and awareness for a Men’s mental health charity, he set the bar at a stratospheric level.
To date, George has raised £8,200 via his open water swim and his equally important honest videos about his own mental health, which have reached over 16,000 views.
All money raised is donated to The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing make suicide.
We sat down with George to find out more about his next challenge…
Tell us more about your latest challenge
For the 84 weekly and 12 daily male suicides, I’m attempting to cycle 84 miles every day, consecutively, for 12 days. A large amount of these daily events will be completed on a static bike in various places around the Isle of Man, the schedule has been designed to raise as much awareness as possible. It will also give me the opportunity to meet and talk with people who might be interested in donating so I can explain my motivations behind the challenge.
Why have you chosen such grueling challenges?!
The challenges are a near-perfect depiction of my personality, traits of naivety and stubbornness, playing off each other perfectly in some weird, twisted harmony!
It’s led to me not only taking on what’s arguably the greatest one-day endurance event on the planet (Iron Man), but throwing in a near 7km sea swim, and now about to put myself through a 12-day cycling event. Crazy what can happen in a couple of months, eh?!
The context of these events isn’t something I was aware of when I started, but you have a lot of time to think when you’re spending three and a half hours sitting on a bike for an evening after work.
How are gearing up mentally and physically?
As powerful as the challenges are, being correlated to statistics of suicide in the UK, I don’t think I’m some kind of superhuman. The idea is to set myself what I see as an impossible challenge, but go in with the attitude that giving up, literally, is not an option. What I’ll be going through for only 12 days can’t be compared to the fight people have with long-term depression. What you can compare, however, is the resilience needed to draw support from those around you and not give up, no matter how bad things seem.
Letting people know how you’re feeling and asking for help. Throughout this event, I’ll be surrounded by my support network. Without the support of family and friends, I wouldn’t have the slightest chance of finishing, let alone even starting with the organisation it’s required. Saying this, I still find it incredibly difficult to offload tasks and let people know when I’m struggling or feeling overwhelmed, I see it as part of a learning curve for me and one I’m going to be as honest as possible with publicly for these 12 days.
How are you planning to manage your mental well being during the challenge?
Who remembers being taught how to deal with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts at school, college, university…No? Me neither. These things aren’t something you’re necessarily prepared for in life but can be straight in at the deep end. Likewise, I don’t see this event as something I can really prepare myself for. I have no idea how I’m going to feel by day 4, let alone day 12. In the context of life, you can’t prepare yourself for the challenges that get thrown your way, sometimes you just have to take the rough with the smooth and grind it out, and never see giving up as an option.
If you’d like to support George you can donate via the following link;
#DoSomethingMentalForMentalHealth #TeamCALM #TeamGB
You can also support him in person at any of his challenge venues over the coming twelve days.
Wednesday 17th – Noa Bakehouse (11 am – 3 pm)
Thursday 18th – Noa Bakehouse (11 am – 3 pm)
Friday 19th – Foraging Vintners (6pm – 9 pm)
Saturday 20th – Douglas Rugby Club Clubhouse (12pm-4pm)
Sunday 21st – The Blackwell Conservatory / Outdoors.
Monday 22nd – Microgaming. (11am-3:30pm)
Tuesday 23rd – Nobles Hospital Foyer. (11am-2:30pm)
Wednesday 24th – Nobles Hospital Foyer. (11am-2:30pm)
Thursday 25th – Rileys Garden Centre
Friday 26th – Microgaming. (11am-3:30pm)
Saturday 27th – TBC.
Sunday 28th – Parish Walk Course, to finish on Douglas Promenade, time TBC.