Andrew Robertson will scale new heights for mental health by challenging himself to a skydive for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind.
On Friday 18 May on Mental Health Awareness week, Andrew (Rob) will jump 15,000ft out of a plane to give back to a local charity who helped him out of a dark place.
“I want people to understand mental health, especially employers – there’s a lack of understanding and awareness around it. Just because its not visible, doesn’t mean it’s not there”.
Andrew suffers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression and other mental health issues and is honoured to be the first fundraiser who will skydive for the local organisation.
Although he has severe anxiety, Andrew is determined to push himself to overcome this with support of family, friends and the local mental health charity, he is optimistic he will complete this challenge.
Andrew has always liked the idea of extreme sports and pursuit’s and has wanted to experience new activities for a long time however he hasn’t been able to do this due to his conditions. His last experience was paragliding off a mountain in Turkey approximately five years ago and he loved this. He feels the sky dive is the next ultimate challenge.
“When I went paragliding I just loved the freedom I felt and found it quite relaxing it gave me inner peace. That’s when I decided a skydive is something I’d like to do and raise funds for a charity close to my heart. I’m hoping this will show people to get out there and do it, do the crazy things and enjoy yourself”.
Andrew feels his condition is beginning to improve now after receiving psychological therapies and support through the Open Mind Therapies service which offers talking therapy through one to one support.
“Mind have been fantastic. All the staff care about you and they helped me improve my confidence and begin to feel like myself again. I want to give back and make a difference and I’m so proud that I’ll be the first Sky Dive fundraiser for Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind”.
Andrew explains for a man with mental health difficulties and known as a prankster to friends and family, it can be hard to be open and talk about how you are feeling when you are expected to be strong.
“People don’t see that your suffering with something. It was very difficult for me to admit I wasn’t coping, I didn’t want to even admit it to myself. I used to always put on a brave face and smile, nobody knew I was suffering inside. This got too much to keep from people and now looking back, I’m so glad I spoke out”.
Andrew has a very close bond with his friends and family but feels workplaces need more of an understanding of mental health, so colleagues can be supported.
“All workforces need some sort of mental health training, so people know where or who to go to for help. I think having someone there to talk to and trust, would make a big difference. I hope my donation and sharing my story will allow more people to receive the help I did”.
If you would like to support Andrew on his fundraising journey, you can donate here.