At CALM, we’re constantly bowled over by the wonderful things our supporters are doing to raise awareness of the fact that suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK. One fine example of this is #10Mountains10Months, a challenge that Sophie and Jess are taking on with their incredible dog, Toby.
Sophie, tell us about #10Mountains10Months…
We are completing a challenge called #10mountains10months which involves myself, Jess and her dog Toby climbing 10 different mountains around the UK – of varying heights and difficulties – over 10 months. So far, we have completed three and our fourth will be well underway soon. Last year I climbed Scafell Pike with a huge bunch of friends for CALM and Jess and her family completed the Yorkshire Peaks for PAPYRUS.
What’s the thinking behind the challenge?
We are completing this challenge to raise awareness of the high rate of suicide in young males, after both being closely affected by this. I lost a very close friend, Rob, last year and Jess lost her brother Phil in 2015, both having taken their own lives.
It is something that we are fighting strongly for to try and encourage men to open up about their feelings, and for others to take into consideration the feelings and emotions of those close to them, helping them to talk through how they are feeling.
This is all in the hope that we can dispel the stigma that surrounds men not being able to be open about their emotions, having to “man up”, and we would like to see more people talking about the high number of suicides in the UK rather than dismissing it or not tackling the problem. We believe there is not enough help out there for people who are having suicidal thoughts, or are struggling in life.
— Toby (@tobyyonekenobi) January 4, 2018
How has the challenge been going so far?
It has gone really well so far! We have so far climbed Coniston Old Man, Mam Tor and Moel Famou. Our next one will be Kinder Scout, and the ones following that are mainly in the Lake District – and of course Snowdon is on our list! That will be our final one.
Due to the weather it has been quite difficult to battle the elements but we have stuck it out and have been working hard. We use the time to talk about our favourite memories, and about how difficult we found it to cope with our losses. Myself and Jess have been friends for about 22 years now so it’s very easy for us to talk through our feelings but it gives us nice places to do so. We always have such a laugh when we are out and about, which is the main part.
We are excited for the mountains we have coming up in the next few months, but we know how hard it will be. We keep ourselves fit to give us the best chance of completing our challenge! Toby carries our first aid kits in his backpacks just in case one of us gets a bump or scratch. We have got a brilliant magazine called Wunderdog who are following and promoting our story, they are a fantastic magazine who offer all things dogs, but are also huge advocates of supporting mental health. Jess also has a great online blog that she updates regularly and always includes our adventures; it is read by people all over the world which is amazing!
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