Would you like to write about your own experiences?
I’d love to host/publish your piece here. Whether you want to identify yourself fully, partly, or not at all, is entirely up to you. If you want submit something to be published anonymously I will not flag up any contact details or identify you in anyway. You needn’t even identify yourself to me. All I ask is that pieces are in good faith and will (hopefully!) contribute to discussions of how cycling and various mental health issues can interact. There are some guidelines at the end of this post.
I’d love to be able to host a diverse range of stories as possible. If there are those of you out there for whom other factors play a significant part – sexuality, gender, ethnicity, beliefs, physical impairment, grief, illness and/or long term conditions – I’d be glad to hear your voice. Most of the pieces so far have been around depression but any mental health/wellbeing subject is welcome. This could be risk-taking, mindfulness, suicidal ideation, happiness, anxiety, setting of high standards, exhilaration, mobility and transport, commuting. It doesn’t, however, have to be about *riding* a bike. If you work in the bike industry, run an LBS, frame-build, or work in a mental health-related bike setting – as physical and/or mental therapy – your thoughts on teh subject would be equally valuable.
I see this blog as being a space where we can continue the sorts of discussions that happen at the BikesandBrains evenings but also somewhere those who aren’t able to attend to have a chance to contribute. It’s less about raising awareness than doing something practical. For me, the more important part is being able to join other individuals and organisations in doing something practical to open up discussion and lessen stigma. Mental health problems, particularly depression is recognised by WHO as being perhaps the biggest challenge to health across the globe. Stats for the UK fall somewhere between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 people having some form of mental health related illness each year. (Citation needed! Link to be added here in due course) The issue is huge. Services desperately need more funding. I’ve seen particularly stretched services (statutory and non-statutory) in the London borough I work in. It’s incredibly frustrating when you see the level of need.
Having spoken about my experiences in the past and working in mental health means it’s pretty straightforward for me but I’m conscious that I have quite a privileged position in that regard. Many of you out there can find it difficult to know where to start and how to begin these conversations, whether with friends, partners, family, or colleagues. If you feel that simply writing something down and getting it out there *waves vaguely out of the window* then I’m happy to help!
Here are some guidelines if you want to write something to be featured on the blog or have already written something that you are happy for me to re-post here:
- Contact me and let me know your preference in terms of how you want to identify yourself.
- Include links to any of your sites and networks in relation to cycling and/or mental health if you wish to invite people to check out other work you’ve created. I will reserve the right to omit purely commercial links though, especially if they have no relevance to the subject areas.
- Include up to three images if you can – one for the featured image and one to be set amongst the text at least.
- I am giving as few restrictions as possible when it comes to the actual body of the text. It’s important to have your voice, whatever angle you are coming from. Write as much or as little has you feel able. Try and be as honest as you can though. If might be helpful for some to use the process in a therapeutic sense.
- I’ll plan to edit your piece as little as possible. I might modify layout and punctuation very slightly in order to bring particular attention to certain things you raise. Heck, I might even highlight some bits in bold.
- Isms, however, will not be tolerated – I won’t dismiss work out of hand but instead give you the chance to edit sections which I am not prepared to publish here.
If you have any questions about the above drop me a line via the Contact page or email