THE CAUSE

THE CHARITY MISSION

The mission is simple: to promote mental health awareness, so suffering people will take action, seek help—and get physically active via sports or exercise!

Tom is passionate about raising £50,000 over the course of his row, for the charity Mind, a charity that provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. With a mission to not give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets support and respect.

THE WHY

“At the end of 2020 my girlfriend, Hatty Harrison, was tragically killed in a car collision. In that moment my whole world fell apart. I had never experienced grief like it.

Hatty was an incredible person and a big advocate of mental health awareness. She had been through several battles of her own in her younger years and fought through tough times to become an incredible woman. I admired so many qualities in her loving, caring, happy personality. She had developed her own resilience and was always working to explore new ways to develop herself and her mental well-being. From meditation, yoga, exercise, reading, writing gratefulness diaries, and helping others in any way she could. She had raised funds for Mind charity in the past and I hope that in her memory, I can also do the same with this new challenge. 

Good mental health is key to life enjoyment. I would love to be able to use this extreme test of my physical and mental endurance as a platform for getting people to talk about their mental health and to talk about issues that may be affecting their well being. Keeping positive and strong whilst communicating with the outside world will be an important part of this journey. My goal is to share my own experiences and coping strategies that have helped and hopefully encourage others to take up sports or new challenges, to help develop and discover new ways to help mental well-being.” Tom

MENTAL HEALTH

Too often, we try to face grief or recover from trauma alone. To be sure, there are certain times we must process things internally. Solitude may be the appropriate approach at times. But anyone struggling with their mental state of well-being should talk to a professional, ask for a diagnosis, and request a treatment plan. 

Why do we sometimes hesitate to do that? Because, even in 2023, there’s a lingering “stigma” about mental health. If we break a bone, we’re sure to visit the doctor, aren’t we? Of course! We’ll see a doctor for virtually any medical problem, from our eyes and ears to our bellies and bottoms. So why is it that when our thoughts are troubled from a difficult life experience, we try to put the pieces back together by ourselves? We have to break that habit of going it alone because it’s a mistake. A mistake with disastrous consequences! 

40 milion years of disability

Did you know—the UK’s suicide rate has spiked alarmingly in recent years, in tandem with a staggering rise in mental health problems? In fact, mental health problems don’t just contribute to suicidal tendencies; they’re a leading cause of the world’s entire overall disease burden. 

Per MentalHealth.org.uk, mental health issues (such as depression and anxiety) and behavioural problems (like substance abuse) are the primary drivers of global disabilities. If added up, these problems are responsible for 40 million years’ worth of disability for 20 to 29-year-olds alone! 

What does depression have to do with poverty, war, and workplace accidents? It’s a leading cause of disability. And depression is only one of countless mental health issues any of us might encounter. Statistics vary, but per Hopkins Medicine, “as many as 1 in 4 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.” 1 in 4! Yet we’re still shy about openly discussing these common problems? 

Luckily that’s slowly changing. To change things faster, Tom’s doing his part to raise awareness in the hopes others will take action. For those in need of mental health assistance, the first step is seeking help from a professional. But one thing we can all do—today—for both prevention and self-help is to get out there and move. Literally! Modern lifestyles have made us more sedentary than ever, but the human body was made to be mobile. Sports and physically challenging activities not only keep us more fit, they offer tangible benefits to our self-confidence and overall mental well-being. 

benefits of sport and physical challanges
  • Aid with better, deeper sleep
  • Boost your mood and reduce depression and stress
  • Grow leadership and team-building skills
  • Improve your state of mind and focus
  • Increase self-confidence
Tom Waddington skiing