Your fundraising helps us continue to be here, 24/7, for anyone in the UK who needs urgent support with their mental health.
Here, we speak to Shout Volunteer, Peter, about the fundraising challenge he set himself - to climb the height equivalent of Mount Kilimanjaro in a representation of the uphill battle people struggling with their mental health face.
As a Shout Volunteer I have supported many texters in crisis and realise the importance of the service we provide. I am fundraising to make sure we can be there 24/7 for everyone who needs support.
Why did you decide to virtually run Kilimanjaro?
The idea came to me towards the end of a Shout Facebook challenge. I’ve always believed that if you’re going to fundraise you need to challenge yourself, particularly if you’re going to the same people for support. I’ve done distance challenges before, so felt a real challenge would be height.
I’d seen Shout promoting a Kilimanjaro charity trek, which is when the idea to run the height of Kilimanjaro using the hill near my village was formed.
Using Strava, I worked out how many times I would need to run up and down to achieve the height required. It turned out to be 20 times a day for 10 days. It did seem a bit far fetched and part of me thought it was a daft idea, perhaps even impossible, but that's the challenge.
What motivated you to fundraise for Shout?
As a Shout Volunteer I have become increasingly aware of how many people really need help and support.
The idea of them being able to get help via text is amazing. The hard part of volunteering is seeing how many young people find themselves in crisis, with many saying friends and family have no idea how they are feeling. As a parent, I hope my kids would know they can come to me no matter what.
The more shifts I did for Shout, the more I felt I needed to do more - not only to let people know that we are there as a service, but also to look out for each other. It takes a lot to reach out and ask for help.
For me, this challenge was also an opportunity to raise awareness. The more we talk about mental health, the more people will realise it is ok to reach out for help and support.
Did you find the challenge beneficial for your own mental health?
It can be hard supporting loved ones who are struggling and going for a run usually gives me the mental strength to be able to be there for them. I do find it helps when I have a target to achieve and so training for this challenge, building up distance and including more and more hills was definitely beneficial both physically and mentally.
The challenge itself saw a range of emotions. The first run in the dark after work was tough and I wondered if I would be able to complete the whole thing. I suppose adrenaline must have kicked in at some point because I got through. Mentally, getting half way each day was good, but it also meant there was still a long way to go. Covering the same ground and counting the laps felt harder than going for a run of the same distance.
The daily uphill battle represented what our texters are going through. Many are thinking about suicide, self-harm, or struggling with anxiety or depression. These are ongoing battles that need regular support.
Do you have any tips or advice for spreading the word about fundraising to businesses and individuals?
As an engineer, a couple of the places I regularly visit to maintain and repair machines usually support me in whatever fundraising challenge I’m doing and were happy to support me again this time.
I usually ask if the businesses are able to donate and if I’m able to leave a sponsor form for anyone who might want to support my challenge. It always has the Shout logo on and a bit about the service - in itself, that might save someone’s life.
Social media is a great tool for letting people know what you’re doing. Tagging as many people as possible in posts is one of the best ways to get seen. Talking to friends and family directly is even better. Some are happy to donate online and others would rather give cash, so it’s great to offer the option. If anything, make sure you're challenging yourself and let everyone know the reasons you’re doing it.
My biggest tip would be to talk to people about it as much as possible - don’t rely on social media! If you can enlist the help of local groups, that’s great.
In total, Peter raised more than £900 for Shout, which can help to cover the cost of 90 conversations with children, young people and adults in mental health crisis.
If, like Peter, you've got a great idea for a challenge, find out more about fundraising for us here.