25% of the UK population will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year. 20% of the population say they are always or often lonely which increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%. 33% of young people are suffering from mental troubles. 49% of workers reported working from home at some point in the seven days up to 14 June. It’s not surprising that a mental health charity like MIND BLMK is struggling to cope with the increased demand – especially since lockdown started. Mental Health was being talked about more before lockdown, and even more since.

I think a lot of the above is connected. Kids in their bedrooms staring at devices worried about missing out from every chat, tweet, insta or even worse – getting bullied online. Financial pressures caused by losing a job or being stuck in the house during lockdown. And a healthcare system that is overloaded – and doesn’t always understand or have the time to focus on mental health and joined up care.

This is really personal to me. My dad has been ‘self-isolating’ for nearly 10 years. Pretty much since our first daughter was 9 months old. He has anxiety and depression linked to other conditions. He doesn’t want to go out, he doesn’t want to see people, doctors, whoever. I think he has seen our 3 kids aged 9, 7 and 3 a handful of times in 9 years. He can’t break the cycle. We can’t break the cycle. We moved to Bucks 6 years ago. He hasn’t been to our house. To put it bluntly it is totally shit. I feel guilty about it, my mum feels guilty. But on the flip side he also has to help himself – but in his own mind he can’t. Every week for 8 years he’s said he thinks he is going to die. And he has thought about making it happen too.

That’s why it means so much to me that Ledger Bennett has made Mental Health the focus of this year’s Corporate Social Responsibility effort. I did have a hand in that! We’re calling it A Day to Make a Difference. It’s where individuals can do their thing – whatever that is – for Mental Health and loneliness. Our MK Team is supporting MIND BLMK who’s people are doing really positive things for people like you and me, who are anxious, depressed, lonely, worried about money or whatever their challenge is.

So what’s my day?

Well. I looked at those % stats at the top. They add up to 153%. I converted it to the miles I am going to try and ride in 1 day – the 27th august. Solo. Like lockdown it will be easy to start with. I like cycling, but I know that it will be a lonely effort. Like people stuck at home with mental health challenges it will no doubt put me in a dark place at times.

Please join the cause, help me smash my fundraising target of £153. Click here to show your support