Athletics golden girl Maria Lyle and Scottish rugby legend Scott Hastings are urging people to sign up to 100 Streets Challenge 2019 at our media launch for this years campaign.
I would encourage anyone to take part in the 100 streets challenge, it has been such a positive experience for me. I am sure the experience will be different for everyone but please give it a go as I think you’ll be surprised at just how much you benefit from it. I would like to tell you a bit about my journey, why I took part in the challenge, and the difference it’s made to my life.
I was diagnosed with bipolar roughly 10 years ago and although I’ve never really tried to keep it a secret, I have never openly spoken about it or been forthcoming with any information. I felt very nervous about anybody knowing, and if I’m totally honest, I probably felt embarrassed and a bit ashamed. People can be judgmental and for a long time I think any negativity would have broken me. I had experienced discrimination after my daughter was born and as much as I believed deep down that I was trying to be the best mummy that I could, there was always that little voice in the back of my head saying, “you’re not good enough, what will other people think”.
Actions speak louder than words, or so the saying goes. For many years now I have used my social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blog (www.teaandponders.wordpress.com) as a voice for myself and others with mental health conditions and to help end the stigma attached to them. Last year was the year I turned 40, and when I decided I would use my feet to fundraise for a mental health charity.
In the heat of early summer, I walked 20k for Support in Mind Scotland – smashing my initial £100 target for donations due to the kind generosity of friends. However, something told me I needed to do more - but what? I saw the 100 Streets Challenge on Support in Mind’s website and thought “Sounds good... but where should I do it?”
Life changes in an instant and one week in July last year showed me just how much it can. My mum had a hip replacement and my dad died of cancer within days of each other. My dad's death became an elephant in the room as nobody talked about it and my mum needed my support 24/7. This was further compounded by the sudden death of a close friend with schizoaffective disorder, which highlighted to me I needed to pay tribute to both. So I decided I would do the 100 Streets Challenge in their honour. It was also a way to have time out and focus on my own needs as I realised I wasn't looking after my own wellbeing and mental health, as well as explore South Edinburgh afresh on foot.
The pair, who have both experienced mental health issues in the past, hit the streets of Glasgow to promote the free 100 Streets Challenge as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Weatherston, 31, has played for seven professional clubs in Scotland, including Falkirk, Queen of the South and St Johnstone, and has spoken candidly and blogged about how nerves and anxiety affected his career.
Now living and coaching in Norway, the Paisley-born winger has called for players not to be afraid to seek help when they need it and he hopes more can be done in football to raise mental health awareness and provide support.
A recent mental health study involving PFA Scotland, the SFA and Dr John Maclean at the Hampden Sports Clinic produced responses from 600 players across 42 clubs in the SPFL, with 64 per cent saying they themselves or a team-mate had experienced a mental health issue.
Weatherston says he first suffered nerves and anxiety before a game in 2008. “That was the start of 10 years of this feeling and the start of what was essentially a downward spiral in my career,” he said. “The football dressing room and training ground is a very tough place to be if you have anxiety or depression. There is no place to hide. I think it’s important that if other players feel they need someone to talk to they know they can.”
Weatherston is pleased to be able to show his backing for the work of Support in Mind Scotland, and believes the 100 Streets Challenge – in which people walk, run or cycle their way round 100 streets of their choice - is a good way for people to get out and about in their towns or cities and keep physically active, which in turn can help improve mental wellbeing.
Gary Little, a regular on the UK comedy circuit who has talked about his own experiences living with depression, recently became an Ambassador for Support in Mind Scotland, and he is looking forward to tackling the 100 Streets Challenge himself round the streets of his home city Glasgow.
“The beauty of the challenge is you can do it in your own time and either walk, run or cycle. I’m a keen walker and this is a great way to get active, get some fresh air and get out and about in your community.
“The 100 Streets Challenge helps raise mental health awareness and promote the important work Support in Mind Scotland is carrying out in its services across the country. I am particularly proud to support the campaign during Mental Health Awareness Week.
“I have suffered from depression myself in the past and I know how hard it is to take that first step and talk to someone about what you are dealing with. Thankfully, charities like Support in Mind are doing a lot of work to address stigma and help people seek help if and when they need it.”
Registration for the 100 Streets Challenge is FREE. It is open from now until the 10 October and further details are available at www.100streetschallenge.com or by calling 0131 662 4349. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Pictures by kind permission of John Devlin, The Scotsman)
Support in Mind Scotland charity ambassadors Jenny and Scott Hastings led a group of more than 20 walkers and runners on a mazy route through Edinburgh and celebrated completing our 100 Streets Challenge with some well-deserved slabs of cake.
Jenny and Scott, who have helped develop and promote the challenge since it was piloted in 2016, were joined by 20 friends and supporters who had great fun strolling and jogging their way round 100 streets on a day of September sunshine in the capital.
The event showcased the 100 Streets Challenge at its best with great company, conversation and, of course, cake! (kindly donated by Di Giorgio in Canonmills).
It's not too late to sign up for FREE and arrange your walk, cycle or run, as the challenge - launched to raise mental health awareness - runs until 31 October. Please visit 100streetschallenge.com for more information, or email us at email@example.com
You can donate to the campaign or share our link using the address: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/nsfs/sims100streetschallenge
Please don't forget to share your photos with us on Twitter (@suppinmindscot #100streetschallenge), Instagram (suppinmindscot) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/suppinmindscot/)
Laura and I completed our 100 Streets Challenge across Edinburgh on Sunday and we were blessed with a beautifully sunny day! Sporting our t-shirts proudly we set off from Comely Bank and ended up in Joppa – walking over 18k.
Whilst we had a map, a list of the of the first 20 streets we’d go to and a general idea of where we’d like to get to, we didn’t plan the whole route in advance. Instead, we wanted to take the opportunity to explore the city we both grew up in and look for quirky little places we’d always wondered about – or had never even heard of! We met several people on the way who asked us about the Challenge and Support in Mind Scotland. Many more of our supporters commented on the need to raise awareness of mental health issues and ensure that not only are these issues talked about, but that services are more available and accessible to those needing support.
We really enjoyed the challenge and we’re pleased to report that, whilst we set an original fundraising target of £250, as of today we’ve raised £868.75 in donations (including Gift Aid) through Just Giving https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-dewar
Laura and Maureen's 100 streets
Comely Bank to Joppa, Edinburgh, 13/8/17
Here is the uplifting Blog he wrote about his experience on LinkedIn....
The challenge which was successfully piloted in 2016 by Scotland and British Lions rugby great Scott Hastings and his wife, Jenny, was reimagined and recreated in a novel way by me for its first outing in 2017.
My 100 Streets challenge, #ImStillDane saw me walk 100+ streets over a planned route between Edinburgh, the Lothian's and Fife continuously from Monday 10th July to Monday 17th July with a strong purpose …
The purpose being on having open and frank conversations about mental health, in a fun, uplifting way with an engaging twist … I had each person I met (whether passers-by, acquaintances, close friends and family) sign my T-shirt with their name, a message or smiley face - whatever they wanted! This was to signify that they too supported open and frank conversations about mental health and how poor mental health can affect any of us.
I’m pleased to report that my challenge was a MASSIVE success! It raised 10x my beginning financial target - raising a staggering £1,070 (and STILL rising!) total for Support in Mind Scotland. The challenge captured the hearts, social media pages and £s from my close and wider Fife, Edinburgh and the Lothians loved ones, supporters (David Sole OBE) and professional circle (Arts & Business Scotland, Fife Chamber of Commerce, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, BMG Office, Thomson Cooper Accountants - to name but a few!). I am forever grateful to them all (and you reading this!) for the unwavering, continuous support. THANK YOU!
The challenge had lots of rich personal and professional learnings for me, which I’d like to reflect on and share with you now.
1) Looking after myself is key
I am well on the road to recovery now since I wrote my last article. I feel more positive, optimistic and driven. These are the fruits from the (hard at times!) labour of me taking better care of myself. What I have learned about myself is that when it comes to a challenge, a personal or work-related project, the thing that upsets me more than anything is letting people down. I knew that specifically for this challenge, I had to make some positive lifestyle changes to possess the stamina to complete and excel these 7 full days of walks.
Live challenge example
Modifying my diet
I ensured my diet particularly that week involved me eating my '5 a day' fruit and vegetable counts. I incorporated fresh fruit for breakfast, plenty of water and time allocated for small, proper meals during the day. I noticed that on the days I strayed or had less of these, my energy levels plummeted and there were times I felt faint. I did however take a sensible approach. I took regular breaks, I replenished and then carried on. I really learned that week (and it sounds cliché) … ‘you are what you eat’.
2) Thinking on my feet
I’ve always been a ‘think on your feet’ person. If a problem presents itself to me, I adopt an open question approach asking, “what can I/we do to solve this?” and then my mind bubbles away with ideas and I then get to work to solve the problem …
Live challenge example
T-shirt Signature cancellations/rescheduling at last minute
I was very lucky that during my challenge, there were very little signature cancellations. When they did happen (which was fine, I completely understood), I thought sharply on my feet and made full use of social media ‘checking in’ functions to let my network know where I was, how long I was there for and subsequently planned visits on the spot. Through this action, I ended up with even more signatures - some from people I hadn’t seen in years! Had I not made full use of social media, I could have been in places just wandering around aimlessly wasting time.
3) Keep things simple – don’t do too much at once!
I’ve learned as I grow as a person and in professional experience, the simplest of ideas and things really do work the best. Why complicate things?
Live Challenge Example
For the #ImStillDane 100 Streets Challenge, I worried that it would sound too much about me, so I created the #MySignatureStory as a platform within the challenge for people who I met to share their stories and experiences about mental health. Effectively what happened was that the conversations we had were so touching, poignant and (at times) precious, that they’ll never be shared beyond our moment on the challenge. I think that’s what made it so special and why people connect with me as well as they did. They knew they had a safe space to just talk about whatever they wanted to.
You can contact Dane at: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @daneybash88
Support in Mind Scotland Ambassadors Scott and Jenny Hastings, and Dane Thomson, helped launch the 100 Streets Challenge at our Edinburgh resource centre - the Stafford Centre - on 29 June.
We were blown away by the media coverage we received on the day, including a live link to the Stafford Centre as Kirsty Gallacher of Sky Sports News interviewed Scott. Kirsty's Sky Sports colleague David Tanner was at at the Stafford Centre on the day and we are grateful for his continued backing of the Challenge.
The Edinburgh Evening News splashed on Jenny's inspiring story about her recent battles with mental ill health, while there was also excellent coverage on BBC Scotland (Reporting Scotland and John Beattie radio show), STV News, The Scotsman, The Herald, Daily Mail, Scottish Sun and Scrum Magazine.
Thank you to all who highlighted the challenge and, of course, to all of you who signed up in the days and weeks that followed.