The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is an award-winning charity dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. In 2015, 75{5a7de17c017269d62c16f32c286dd02adb9dd8ffd446b5e5edfb3862a6069e1b} of all UK suicides were male.

 

It’s not how hard or strong you are that gives you strength!

My India golden triangle cycle challenge for CALM

When I decided to take on a challenge I had two main goals and I have to admit that one of the goals was self-motivated but needed and the other was my desire to enable change around mental health awareness. I’ll talk about why I want to create more awareness around mental health and why I chose to support CALM.

During the last 6 years I have been working as a Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapist, working with clients suffering from issues that have been exacerbated by stress and anxiety – leaving many of my clients with low moods and depression. Even though I have been seeing around 15 clients per week for the last few years, the ‘talk’ around mental health hasn’t really changed that much. I still meet many people in social environments who, when I tell them what I do, relate back to me instances of people they know who really need to deal with an issue but won’t seek help or at best are relying on antidepressants to cope rather than get better. My experience of working in the mental health industry opened my eyes and I have gone on to run hypnotherapy training courses for CPHT Peterborough, and here I have been listening to students feeding back more of the same as they start to go out and work with people. This has strengthened my belief that we need to get this message out:

‘It’s OK to feel crap sometimes’

When I decided to do this cycling challenge I wanted to align myself with a charity that gets this simple message out and does so with real purpose. Of course there are many great mental health charities that do this. I looked at a number of charities and found some great campaigns such as the Heads Together Campaign, but I also found the Campaign Against Living Miserably or CALM, launched as a campaign aimed at reducing the suicide rate among men. This struck a chord with me. I lost a close friend in 2010 to suicide and this had a big impact on me. He never let on he was in such a place, however I knew he was and I didn’t offer support – men often don’t. We don’t ask and we don’t offer, it’s a bit of a stand-off. We don’t want to appear weak or soft. IT GETS IN THE WAY!

This event was one of the big catalysts for me to train as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and many who knew me then laughed at my decision! I’m not soft, fluffy or very emotional, well that’s what they thought, as like other men I kept a ‘check’ on the real me – caring, empathetic and compassionate. Learning to be ‘me’ has made me strong, resilient and capable of enabling others to cope with life and move through the tough times. So you can see, even though I’m passionate about all of the struggles I see within the mental health world such as PTSD, Anxiety in Children, Stress at work etc., committing to support this cause will spur me on to get on my bike and get across India…

My next blog will be about why I’m helping myself in helping CALM. If you or someone you know is suffering right now call your local Inspired to Change Hypnotherapist or contact the CALM helpline.

Gary Johannes

 

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