Cycling and walking

Steve Haynes is cycling his way to better mental health

23 May 2016

Guest blogger Steve Haynes tells us about his 500-mile cycle to raise awareness of mental health, and to support the work of SANE and their Black Dog campaign.

 

As someone who specialises in workplace health, I’m passionate about all areas of wellbeing. But the one thing I forgot during my career was to take stock of my own wellbeing.

In 2013 I suffered a period of depression. At the time I tried to ignore it, maintaining that British ‘stiff upper lip’, telling myself to just get over it. I never spoke to anyone about how I was feeling, even the most important people in my life, my wife and son. It was only when things got really bad that I finally spoke to my doctor, and at that point I got a wake-up call.

Since then I’ve spoken with so many different people about the difficulties they’ve faced and how they worked through them to lead happier, more fulfilled lives. So now I want to share my own experience. Everyone has mental health and sometimes things go wrong. The most important lessons I learnt from my experience were how to spot the warning signs and how to talk to people. We must never feel ashamed or too proud to ask for help.

So on 15 June I will begin a 7 day 500-mile cycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in support of SANE and their Black Dog campaign for mental health. Unlike others before me who have taken on this challenge, I’m going to do this ride by myself, as a reminder that while mental illness can often feel like a battle we face alone, we should never struggle in silence or isolation.