LET'S FOCUS ON WHAT WE CAN DO
It starts with compassion, love and kindness – for each of us as individuals and for each other.
When I started The 29 Challenge in October 2017, I did so to do something positive in memory of my brother, acknowledging the 29 years of his life.
I set out to embark on a journey that was supposed to be over the course of a year – participating in 29 different runs to raise £29,000 for Mind – The Mental Health Charity.
Life takes many twists and turns and throws up many challenges along the way. Although I managed to fundraise a significant amount, I was way off my target of £29,000. So I decided to continue. I decided not to give up. The 29 Challenge is now in its third year and I feel very privileged that others have joined me in the fundraising efforts, taking on challenges of their own.
That sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ has been amazing. It has brought people together, got them active and aiming for something, got them talking. And the support has been there for everyone along the way - helping to raise awareness, raise funds and make a difference.
This week has been different to many. With the sudden passing of Caroline Flack, I have in some part relived some of the pain that comes as a result of losing a loved one to suicide. I have seen the raw emotion and disbelief. I have listened to the questions raised and been all too aware of the answers that never come. My heart goes out to her family, friends and loved ones. My heart also goes out to every single person who has lost a family member, friend or loved one in this way.
Whilst every situation and set of circumstances is unique to the individual, the quiet shock, visible pain and internal trauma for those left behind is often very similar.
Mental health issues in all forms, and suicide, are not going to go away. But we can focus on love, acceptance, kindness, and allow people to be themselves, to truly live their lives and not be shamed, ridiculed, put down or criticised for it.
We are all here for a reason and have a purpose to fulfil; there should never be a point where any person thinks or believes that their life is not of value. Whether there have been issues over many years or a single traumatic moment, every life is worth living.
The choices we make and how be behave can have a huge impact on someone else. While we can’t be responsible for the actions of others, we can be responsible for our own words, behaviours and actions. Sometimes we need to stand up for ourselves and show that we do matter, that we do have a voice, and that we have just the same right to be here as the next person.
So let’s focus on what we can do. It starts with compassion, love and kindness – for each of us as individuals and for each other. Together we can make a difference.