Greetings! Thanks for reading why I am taking on 5 different multi-sport endurance events across Wales in 2017 to support the young person's well-being charity, YoungMinds.
The charity YoungMinds is the UK's leading charity championing the well-being and mental health of children and young people. Driven by their experience, YoungMinds creates change so that children and young people can cope with life's adversities, find help when needed and succeed in life.
I'm Yvie, a late thirty-something, debt-marred, unmarried, degree-and-a-half-holding, unemployed, divorced mother-of-three with a mental illness. That's quite a baggage title, you might think. It's also only part of my story. I'll chuck in former GB A-G triathlete, police officer and fluent French speaker too, but bringing you up to speed could take a while, so I'll short cut to the current chapter.
—I am pursuing a campaign to raise the standard of our culture of mental well-being, and this has to start with our children.
We can no longer afford to leave them behind whilst we adults focus on ourselves. I don't have the answers, but I'm willing to learn, try new approaches, even recommend that the schools stop examining the memory banks of my children to determine an intelligence rating and instead let them learn and grow and develop according to their personal mental barometer, not a government-sanctioned one.
Beginning with a run, I am taking on five (out-of-my-comfort-zone) events between May and September 2017. I haven't received any corporate support, I'm scraping together what I can, equipment, gear, training days, nutrition, etc. A true reflection of what it's like to deal with managing the mental health services, mental illness diagnoses, parenting, and navigating therapy, funding, support and anything else. We can only be prepared with what we already have, and figure the rest out a long the way.
Event 1—Running Wild, 7 days' solo running & wild camping, south to north along the Offa's Dyke trail path.
Event 2—Carry on over Cambria, 4 days' cycling from Holyhead to Cardiff Bay, and running over Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen y Fan in between.
Event 3—Paddle Buckley Round, 4 days' hiking the 47 summit loop of Snowdonia based on the infamous Paddy Buckley Round, followed by a swim across Llyn Padarn.
Event 4—Riding the Storm, a tour of mainland Wales' coastal routes by bike
Event 5—Paddle Pedal Pace, 7 days' of 3 loops of the Isle of Anglesey, circumnavigating by sea kayak, cycling as close to the coast as possible, and running the coastal path.
Covering all four points of mainland Wales, the Isle of Anglesey, the coastal path, the borderland, the three highest peaks, through the middle, and in the coastal waters.
This is a mission to raise awareness of the plight of our young, for those who need the support of responsible adults to be there for their mental well-being before it develops into a crisis point, and also to empower our children to be fully aware of their own mental health, to have the confidence to develop their emotional insight.
It takes about the same length of time for a mother to have a new child as it does for a child to finally access appropriate treatment, counselling and support—if they've managed to get past the GP ten-minute appointment and the triage session, all the while maintaining a presence at school without the Council sending out warning letters for 'truancy' fines, and functioning in society. Where you live is also a determining factor of support availability.
Can you imagine going through your entire pregnancy waiting to receive pre-natal care?
As parents we want the best for our children, but we aren't all raised as counsellors, psychologists or psychotherapists, and we also need the support to help our children in crisis. But for some reason, we've made the process of helping them extremely tough.
Taking on multiple events of endurance across all terrains of Wales is a step towards highlighting the plight of young people and parents left out on the trail, often alone, in the dark, trying to figure out the route of support, without the insight or guidance of an expert in this wilderness.
It's as close a comparison as I could muster.
If you can help, please donate. Text EV55 to 70070 with your donation amount.
Please share, please talk about this.
Please get the subject of children's mental health on the curriculum discussed at your school so that this becomes an agenda that is as naturally discussed as which sports are available and what the canteen menu is.
Mental health, physical health and nutrition are inextricably linked, we know that now, we cannot unknow that, so we really don't have an excuse to separate these three elements in school policy, or in government agendas.
Find more at yviejohnson.co.uk/challenges/challenge5alive
Also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you, diolch, Yvie x