They say it's one in four, but that hasn't been my experience. Nearly everyone I care about has been affected in some way at some time by mental illness; their own, or someone close to them.
The intensely frustrating thing is that there's not very much I can do. Every day people bring me hard problems and I attack them; my experience has been that with the right skills, resources, and determination, almost anything can be quickly solved. But that approach doesn't work here.
So raising money for Mind is my way of hitting back, a way of saying "if you're going to hurt the people I love, you have to go through me first".
Fire Hazard is a natural fit for that. In fundraising, I want to create value, not just redistribute it - to use my skills and my sweat to do something useful. And Fire Hazard's values fit perfectly: The energy in our events is an antidote to the kind of paralysing depression that can start to bite at this time of year, and the community behind them aims to build and reinforce a supportive mesh. The fun? That's a bonus.
So it's a double win. Fire Hazard will run a series of ticketed games over the next few months - with the money helping Mind to do something important.
And then, then there's the running. I haven't had to battle mental illness myself, not directly, but if I did, running would be one of my weapons. I've covered more than a thousand kilometers this year, and I am fitter, stronger, and happier than I ever have been. Everyone picks their own tools, so I'm not going to advocate too hard, but if a few people end up doing some more running, and it helps them like it helps me, then this is a triple win. This series of games will have more running than usual, and at the end of it, I'm going to run my first marathon.
So I'm determined to take a swing at this thing. If you feel the same way, it'd be brilliant to have your support - as a volunteer running the events, at the pub helping to plan them, on the track as I train to run four hours flat-out, on the donation page if you can.
Let's do this.