Caption: Paul Meade - December 2017
To celebrate the Men's Health Week 2018, Paul Meade, Project Manager for the Newcastle Building Society, shares with you his story and his experience as a fundraiser with Tyneside and Northumberland Mind.
Paul, tell us more about your fundraising challenge
In December 2017, I’ve launch my fundraising challenge in aid of Tyneside & Northumberland Mind. I want to help raise funding for them, so that they can continue to support people in our region who suffer from mental health issues as well as providing training. My action also aims at raising awareness about mental health.
“That’s why on the 30th of December I am shaving my hair off all the way down to the wood as well as having a wet shave, then I’ll be leaving it to do its thing for a full year.”
What's the story for you behind this challenge?
We all know at least one person who has directly or indirectly suffered from mental health issues. It could be stress or depression related, anxiety or they could’ve decided that they wanted to take their own life.
A friend of mine took his own life a while ago. This was also around the time that I was going through my own issues, I had someone to talk to and got help but there are loads of people out there that don’t get help, but it is out there.
Why did you choose a shaving challenge instead of a marathon, a walk or other more usual challenges?
There is an image I find powerful behind this shaving challenge. Throughout the year you’ll all be able to see the change that is happening to me on the outside, but you may not see the changes inside.
“Mental health is hard to see. And in a year, you may not see the changes to a close friend or loved one.”
Do you think there is a particular challenge around mental health and being a man?
The challenge I see being the biggest is getting people to see and recognize that they are having mental health issues and also knowing where to go and who to speak to.
What would you recommend to men facing mental health issues?
Talk to people. I know it’s the hardest thing to do, but it’s the best thing and after you speak to someone help is so much easier to find and accept.
Back to your challenge, was it easy to set up?
It was so easy. Once I decided what I was going to do, I contacted Tyneside & Northumberland Mind and let them know. Then I linked my JustGiving page to theirs and started to promote it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The actual hardest part was convincing the wife to let me do it!!
This is a long run challenge? How do you stay motivated?
I post regular updates on social media and use a few hashtags. It’s amazing seeing some of the messages from people all over the world, people that have been through mental health struggles and overcame them.
I’m also walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall in July and planning that’ll help me to stay focused. I see this as being a hard thing to do. Like mental health issues, the struggle can be hard and very long. But with support, you’ll get there in the end.
Do you have any tips to share with people who’d like to launch their own fundraising challenge?
Contact the local branch of who you decide to fundraise for. You will find them willing and more than able to help you with anything you need. In my case for my Wall walk, Tyneside and Northumberland Mind have sorted me out with a couple of T-shirts, a banner and some flags to fly as we do our walk. They also support me on Twitter.
Any final words for our readers?
Mental health should not be something that’s just left to fester, we ALL need support in our lives and by talking. Getting help from people just like Tyneside & Northumberland Mind can make a huge difference.
If you’d like to follow my #shaveandgrow journey, then please follow me on Twitter @pauldmeade and Instagram @pauldmeade
Donating through JustGiving is both easy and safe. So, you can also support me by clicking HERE.