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  • jess-mather91

When life seemed like it was all going to plan.

When life seemed like it was all going to plan.

The last thing I expected when on a holiday in Greece, was to receive a phone call telling me my best friend Vicky, had sadly died from a fall in the Lake District.

At 24 years old, this was a lot to process and still today is something that I struggle with. At first I carried on, not accepting what had happened nor giving myself a chance to grieve. Looking back, I wish I'd have asked for support sooner.

Vicky and I regularly went on hiking adventures, and we're heading to Everest Base Camp later in the year.

For a while, the mountains became a scary place to be, and still now I have my demons. I went from a confident person, who could spend hours exploring the hills with no worries or fears. To panicking at any kind of exposure, risk and developed a heightened fear of falling. Its hard to describe the feeling of the ground falling away from you on an exposed section, but something I've learned to control.

Over the past 18 months I have found that solitude in the mountains again, and with the support of some inspiring people have got my mountain mojo back. Earlier in the year, I completed my Mountain leader training - something I want to use as a tool to help encourage people to get outdoors safely.

I love overseas adventures and have completed some wonderful adventures in Morocco, Tanzania, Nepal, India, and New Zealand - giving myself something to aim towards and focus on has really helped me over the last few years.

I work in a psychiatric hospital and something I am passionate about encouraging is exercise and time spent outdoors. I think it is a great way to self-help, reducing depression, increasing confidence & self-worth and giving you that all-important head space away from contributing factors of stress.

Mental health and Grief is different for everyone, but what I will advise is to seek support when you need it and if you notice a change in your friends or family, 'are you OK?' goes a long way.

So many people are affected by mental health and still not enough people talk about how they are feeling.

Another example of how adventure and the outdoors has helped them is @tomsheridan87 who Has used the mountains to overcome depression and a gambling addiction, after some significant events that happened - An injury that stopped him playing football for 2 years and losing his Nan.

Tom said 'When I was at my lowest the outdoors and the mountains were the only place I could go to feel good and clear my mind'.

Don't be afraid to talk about Mental Health to your friends and family. If you are looking for a route into the outdoors keep your eye out for our Summit Socials