Last year, a good friend of mine took her step-son to climb Yr Wyddfa to watch the sunrise. She had said to me how beautiful it was and that we should go together next year (now this year)... to my surprise, I found myself agreeing to take on the challenge. Now, for her, she is fit and healthy, whereas I am overweight and not so healthy. In June 2022 I injured my fibula by jumping onto a rope swing - a definite case of my mind being younger than my body - and in August I fell down the stairs and sustained a grade 3 sprain to my ankle which hurts on a daily basis. So what really pushed me to say 'yes' to what is for me, going to be the challenge of a lifetime?
My 'why(s)'1) My son, nearly eight years old, has struggled with anxiety since the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. This has snowballed since then and has become a daily battle for him. From the panics of him losing his dad and me, my parents and my partner's mother to him feeling like he 'is having a heart attack' before bedtime, seeing him with these struggles at such a young age breaks my heart.
His school has been fantastic in working with us to help him to manage his thoughts and fears. He has been put forward to the Thrive programme - a programme that is so valuable in schools in this day in age but is not readily available to every child. At home, we encourage him to complete his daily journal (which can be found here) that helps him to reflect on the good and not so good things that happened in each day. Not only does it help him to regulate his thoughts, but it also helps us, as his parents to find other ways to help him. But is this really enough? With waiting lists for both children and adults mental health services at an all time high, is this really enough? In all honesty, no, I don't think it is - but aside from what we can do at home and in school to help give him the best childhood possible, there is little to no access to support for our children who have been caught up in a snowball effect of anxiety or poor mental health.
2) Working in Further Education with students with additional needs has taught me that there is little access to young people who struggle with their mental health. After sitting with students who have openly discussed suicide and have handed over sharp objects to you as an adult whom they trust, it is evident that our young people are not getting access to the support that they need in order to look after their mental health. It is heartbreaking to think that there are so many young people are in crisis because the funding for services is inadequate. Change needs to happen, but unfortunately falls down to charities such as Young Minds or Childline to provide the resources aimed at helping individuals [at the very least] to cope.
Back when I was 16 (some 20 years ago now), online bullying, negative influencing videos/websites were not on the radar. I mean sure, bullying was around, but with cyberbullying a whole new dimension is added to the lives of our young people. As if every day school and college life isn't already a minefield with social groups, academic achievements and expectations, social media is a minefield that can be the good, bad and the ugly all mixed into one.
3) I could do with the challenge... I started training with my first hill walk in January. This challenge will not only be a positive step in helping our selected charity, but will also help me to train and get my health and fitness back on track. Plus it will be an experience of a lifetime... I mean, who doesn't want to climb a mountain in the dead of night to watch the sunrise?
I will climb for Young Minds along with a group of friends. A date is yet to be set for August, but regular updates will feature on my page.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and for your support.
Over and out. L x