TV presenters Matt Johnson and Anna Williamson today announce the launch of Mind 3000s - a gruelling challenge where two teams of celebrities and Mind supporters will go head to head. Each will attempt a nonstop 24 hour, 50km trek, across 3,000ft mountains in England and Wales.
This comes in direct response to new figures showing demand for the mental health charity’s infoline has risen by 55 per cent in two years. Anna and Matt aim to raise over £50,000, to help Mind meet this demand.
Since 2012 the number of people contacting the Mind infoline for advice and support has risen from 51,300 to 79,600 (55%). As more and more people ask for urgent help, the charity has appealed for donations to ensure it can meet this sharp increase. At present it is unable to answer 25 per cent of calls that come in during open timings and 56 per cent of calls overall.
In the same period 2011/12 compared to 2013/14* there has been a serious shift in the nature of calls, with a marked increase from people in extreme distress:
- Contact directly relating to suicidehas risen by79 per cent (1,185 to 2,123 calls)
- There has been a 50 per cent rise in calls due to self-harm (311 to 466)
- Consistently, more women than men seek help through the line, however in the last two years the overall rise in calls is attributed solely to women. There has been a zero per cent increase in men calling the line. This indicates an urgent need to support men in seeking help.
Mind 3000s will take place in May 2015. Matt and Anna are now calling for celebrities and members of the public to register** to join their teams, each comprising 24 people. Anna’s will tackle a series of 3,000ft climbs in the Lake District, whilst Matt’s team take on the same distance and gradients in Snowdonia. The teams have just 24 hours to cover 50km of the wildest, most challenging countryside in the UK. It is a test of fitness, endurance and team spirit, and the first of its kind.
Matt Johnson, a TV presenter best known for his work on ITV's This Morning, the BBC's National Lottery and C5's OK!TV, said:
When I went through a period of severe depression, I felt so alone. I pushed people away and pretended everything was fine even when it really wasn’t. Eventually, I decided to open up. My Dad was the first person I told, and he was fantastic. It was my first step towards getting better.
I didn’t know about Mind at the time - I wish I had done. I’m determined that, in taking on this trek, we’ll raise awareness and vital funds so no one has to face a mental health problem alone.
Anna Williamson, ITV Regular, Kids presenter, agony aunt and entertainment reporter for Digital Spy, said:
I know what it's like to experience a mental health problem, but talking to someone who understood was key to my recovery, in my case it was my Mum. If I'd known about Mind I could have had even more support and understanding.
The Mind 3,000s is a colossal challenge but dealing with a mental health problem is no walk in the park either. I’m passionate about the work Mind does and will give this trek everything I’ve got, to ensure it raises the money so desperately needed.
Matt Johnson and Anna Williamson, Mind ambassadors, have experienced their own mental health battles. However, when in need of urgent support, they both had people close to them they could turn to for help. Mind 3,000s will raise vital funds to help ensure Mind can answer every call.
*Figures taken from 1 April -31 March