Posts Tagged ‘fundraising’

Firewalking for SAMH

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Supporter Stephen Fruzynski shares his experience of taking part in the SAMH Firewalk.

Over the past year I have been taking on various events to motivate and help my own mental health. After I had completed my first ever run I was completely hooked. The lift I got from completing just one short run made me hungry for more.

After I opened up about my mental health, the support that I gained from friends and family was amazing. This pushed me on to do more. Late last year I wanted to have fun but raise money for something that was close to home. I was introduced to SAMH by a few friends who had had support from this amazing team so I jumped at the chance to get involved.

After meeting the great team they asked if I’d like to try a firewalk; and again I jumped at the opportunity.

On the day of the event, the drive through was really nerve wracking! I was on my own, I had never met anyone there and I was (as usual) running late. When I eventually got there I was met by the SAMH team and straight away I felt at ease. I was welcomed in, given a t-shirt, and sat chatting away to some of the guys who were just as nervous as me.

Then Karen came in. Karen was running the firewalk and she was fantastic! We had an absolutely blast with her. I won’t give too much away, but all you need for the warm up class is a willingness to take part. Even if you don’t you soon will, as everyone else around you is doing exactly the same as what you will be doing.

The exercises that Karen taught us weren’t just fun but a great lesson on how to motivate yourself. By the second exercise I felt right at home and really relaxed about the walk.

When it was time to head out onto the streets of Glasgow I felt really pumped and couldn’t wait to do the walk. Whilst waiting each and every member of the team are encouraging you on and cheering louder than the busy crowd that had formed around the fire!

I was up about 5th. I felt the nerves a little but after shouting my name and telling Karen I was ready I was away. In no time at all you are over the carpet of embers. What a buzz! You really want to do it again! The experience was great and carpet is the best way to describe it. When your feet are pressing down it was honestly like standing on a brand new soft carpet. It wasn’t hot, it did not burn me, and it was such a strange feeling!

After we all completed the walk we headed back in for far too much coffee and cake and chatted away about our experiences. It was weird because when I was arriving I was so nervous but by the end I felt like I had known the team for months. It was a 10 out of 10 experience for me, and a10 out of 10 for the SAMH team’s efforts on running such an amazing event! Well done team!

If you feel inspired and would like to take part in the next SAMH Firewalk on Thursday 10th September 2015 email fundraising@samh.org.uk

Tough Mudder 2015: Gemma’s story

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Our supporter, Gemma, shares her story of taking on this year’s Tough Mudder in aid of SAMH and what it means to have family and friends cheering you on.

“I can’t move. I don’t see any way out of this. I’m going to be stuck like this forever.”

These are the thoughts that were in my head when I was paralysed with fear at the top of a 10 foot high wooden wall on the Tough Mudder Scotland course last month.

I’d had those thoughts before. They rang around my head like a jingle from a radio advert from years ago. I’d never been stuck at the top of a 10 ft wooden wall before, but those were the exact same thoughts I’d had so many times when stuck in the depths of depression.

I decided to take part in Tough Mudder this year to help raise funds for SAMH. Having spent most of my teenage years dealing with depression, anxiety and self harm- SAMH is a charity close to my heart.

A few years ago I’d considered myself ‘recovered’ from mental illness because I hadn’t needed medication for my depression for a while and generally felt happier than I ever had. However, after being diagnosed with a chronic illness which has been hard to deal with over the past year or so, I’ve found looking after my mental health a struggle again at times.

I’m not sure what I think about ‘recovery’ or what it even means any more but what I do know is that life will throw you a series of obstacles. There will be times when you’re trudging through mud with a stitch in your side, times when it feels like you’ve been plunged into ice cold water and even times when it feels like you are stuck at the top of a 10 ft wall with no way down.

You might wonder how I got down from that wall? It would have been impossible without my teammates. First they had to convince me that I’d be okay, they pointed out that I couldn’t stay up there forever, and of course they helped me down. As my foot landed

on a shoulder and someone else grabbed my waist to make sure I didn’t fall on my way down – relief washed over me and I knew I’d felt like this before too. I’d been helped through my roughest times by family and friends when I needed them most.

One of the obstacles at Tough Mudder was Everest. A very high, sloped and slippy wall you must try and make it to the top of. When I went to take my first run at it there was my sister, my brother in law, my boyfriend and my other teammates all cheering me on and shouting encouragement. When I’ve been struggling in the past, those same people have been there to support me, to cheer me on.Tough Mudder started as a physical challenge but by the end I’d realised how much the obstacles, and how you can overcome them, were pretty much a metaphor for life.

It’s pretty difficult to get to the top of Everest without any help. There were volunteers and other participants at the top hanging down to try and pull me over those last few feet of the obstacle. I always try to remember that no matter how hard things are and how alone you feel, there are always people around who will reach out an arm to help you up.

I took part in the Great Scottish Run 10k last year. Because of my health I hadn’t been able to train much and was really struggling at one point on the course. I’d had to stop and walk, but as I did I felt a hand on my shoulder. A fellow runner in a SAMH top ran beside me and said “Keep going, you can do this. Just remember the reasons why you’re doing this” and with that he was gone, running off again. It might not have felt like much to him. But I was able to finish that run because of his words.

You don’t have to be super fit to complete a run or an obstacle course. You don’t need to worry about how long it will take you – do it in your own time and in your own way. You don’t need a team – people will always lend a helping hand. All you need is the desire to do it, whatever your reasons. Raising money and awareness is great, those SAMH tops have sparked up a thousand conversations, I’m sure of it. But start your fundraising journey and you’ll learn a lot along the way too.

Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2015

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is one of the biggest running events in Scotland, and each year SAMH’s presence has grown and grown. This year seventy-one runners pounded the pavement to complete one of the five events. Together they have raised more than £27,000 so far – an incredible amount which will allow SAMH to deliver life-changing solutions, more opportunities and better mental health for more people. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took part – you should be very proud of your achievements, we know we are.

Many of our EMF runners have their own stories and reasons for taking on the challenge. Daniel Jones shared his story with us.

“I decided to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon this year to raise money for SAMH, having already done so as part of the Team Relay in 2014, because mental health problems touched both me and my immediate family. From my early 20s, I experienced years of high anxiety which then turned into depression, and my brother experienced depression after a severe accident which left him bed-bound for months.

“I talk so candidly about my journey because I think it’s important for everyone who has gone through the same sorts of problems to do so, as each conversation we have about the subject chips away at the block of the stigma around mental ill health, and helps everyone realise that those suffering mental health problems are no different from anyone else.

I am proof that mental ill health can be experienced and recovered from, and I wanted to run this race to raise money for SAMH to help it in its work of encouraging good mental health throughout Scotland, so that everyone who experiences problems in their mental health can return to a good quality of life again as soon as possible afterwards.

One other reason why I decided to run was that I love running, and the training in the lead-up to, and the race itself, had such a positive impact on my own mental well-being. SAMH have previously demonstrated the benefit of sport and physical activity towards an individual’s health, and I found that having a goal to focus on the race, adapting my diet to train myself to be as prepared as possible, and getting the range of positive endorphins flowing that running brings with it and my heart pumping as I trained really helped me to be and stay mentally healthy.

I can’t emphasise enough the good that any form of sport and physical activity can do for your mental well-being, so I would encourage everyone to look after their mental health by being active, whether that’s going for a walk, playing football, or taking on the next running challenge, as I’m planning to do – on to the full Edinburgh Marathon next year now!”

Feel inspired? You can join Daniel and Team SAMH at next year’s Edinburgh Marathon Festival. Sign up for the 5K, 10K,  Team Relay, Half or Full Marathon today!

Celebrating volunteers at SAMH

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

This week we’re celebrating some of the different volunteers we have here at SAMH – from one off support at fundraising events – like Fraser who gave his time to provide massages for the tired muscles of our incredible marathon runners at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, to the like of Jo who spends two days a week in our Glasgow office supporting the policy work of the Disability Alliance Scotland (DAS).

Giving your time, skills, and life experience can make an amazing difference to the work that we do. Many of our volunteers tell us that volunteering with us has been a rewarding experience for them too.

Amy volunteered with one of our local services – the Well-Informed Information Service in Motherwell. Here she shares her experience of volunteering at various events giving information to the general public. 

“We prepare very carefully for each stall that we do, and employ a variety of leaflets from Pregnancy or Post Natal Depression to Stress Control or Tips for Better Sleep. There is a wide variety of resources for all kinds of mental health problems and for all ages. And, of course, not forgetting the invaluable stress dots!

“Each stall at the Health and Wellbeing event I have attended has been a fantastic experience for me and it has helped to improve my confidence and make me realise how much my skills and qualities have improved.  I am much happier and more confident dealing with people, whether they are schoolchildren, staff members or members of the general public.

“Manning the stalls – whether it be at a local library or a health and wellbeing event – has given me a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment, not only because we are delivering important health information to the public, but because as volunteers I know we have carried out our work to a high standard and to the best of our ability.  We always encourage members of the general public to take away something, whether it is a leaflet, a bookmark, carrier bag or pen with them. Anything, not matter how small, helps in our efforts to raise awareness of Well-informed and the value of good mental health.”

Volunteering can be a life changing experience and not just for the people who benefit from the work.  There are many reasons why people choose to volunteer.  Here are just a few:

  • To support SAMH’s work and raise awareness of mental health
  • To do something inspiring and helpful
  • To meet new people
  • To learn new skills and add value to their CVs

If you would like to volunteer please get in touch at jobs@samh.org.uk

Edinburgh Marathon Festival Supporter running journey

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Gemma, SAMH’s Community Fundraiser, has caught up with two past Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2014 participants, to find out about their experience of taking part for SAMH. Find out what Hope and John had to say on how they found the run!

Name: Hope & John McHardy (age 17 & 48)
Race distance: Half Marathon
Sponsorship raised: £655

Running for SAMH was one of the best experiences of our lives! The support the charity gave us was amazing, from the training plans right through to the finish line. We think everything the charity stands for deserves much more recognition and we really wanted to get involved in raising awareness of them.

Mental illnesses are something very close to our hearts, as we have family and friends who have suffered with their ill mental health. They are now either in recovery or have recovered and SAMH has played a large part of that recovery for some of them.

We both had so much fun being part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 2014 for the first time! Neither of us had run distances anywhere near the length of a half marathon before and some days it was really hard to motivate ourselves to train. We tried to follow the training plans provided and on the day having everyone cheer you on made it much more enjoyable, despite the cold and rain! The other runners encouraged us to keep going and it was great to say hello to everyone else also supporting SAMH as we passed each other. We both thought the run was actually easier than we expected and can’t wait to run for this charity again in the full Edinburgh Marathon 2015!

Thank you Hope and John, for taking part in EMF and your continuous support of SAMH. And a huge good luck – you are both signing up to the EMF Full Marathon 2015…see you at the finish line!

If you want to tell us about your experience of taking part in any event for SAMH, please email the team at fundraising@samh.org.uk

Has this motivated you to now take part in EMF 2015 in one of the distances on offer; 5K, 10K, Full Marathon, Team Relay or the Half Marathon like Hope and John? We have guaranteed charity places available today, please just get in touch by emailing fundraising@samh.org.uk and we can talk you through the process, or sign up directly on the EMF website

Thank you & Welcome to Team SAMH!

Edinburgh Marathon Festival supporter running journey

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

Gemma, SAMH’s Community Fundraiser, has caught up with a past Edinburgh Marathon Festival (EMF) 2014 participant, to find out about his experience of taking part for SAMH. Find out what Daniel had to say on how he found the race!

Name: Daniel Jones
Team name: Clyde’s Cavalcade
Race distance: Team relay marathon
Sponsorship raised: Approximately £800

Daniel Jones with team mates 'Clyde's Cavalcade'

1. How did you find the run? Was it more difficult than you prepared for?
The run was a really enjoyable experience, and for someone like me who is not from Edinburgh, it was great to be able to discover new parts of the city I hadn’t visited before. My leg included a run along the beach, and I got to experience that rare thing in Scotland – some sun and a beach together!

The run itself was over quicker than I would have liked it to be. As part of a relay team, you get into that frame of mind of thinking that you’ve got to get to the crossover point as quickly as you can, as you’ve got three other people counting on you. It was all over in the blink of an eye, but seeing so many people around me running for so many worthwhile causes made the experience a really positive and fulfilling one. 

2. How did you prepare for the run?
To prepare for the race, I began to run around three or four times a week, working up to my target distance of 13km over a time of around seven weeks. I also began to adopt a more healthy diet, rich in fruit and vegetables, and I drank plenty of water to keep myself hydrated well in advance of the race.

3. How did you find running for SAMH?
I loved the experience of being able to run for SAMH. I ran the race as part of a relay team, with three colleagues of mine from the Scottish Government. We decided to hold a bake sale there to raise some donations in aid of SAMH, and all of our efforts were gone by the end of the day, with almost £100 raised from just our baked goods alone! Seeing how generous our colleagues were and how many other people were running for SAMH on the day itself was a really enriching and rewarding experience that is testament to people’s kindness and willingness to support a deserving good cause.

4. What made you decide to run in aid of SAMH?
All four of the members of our relay team decided to run in aid of SAMH. For me, the reason behind this decision was because I had experienced my own difficulties with my mental health and had come out on the other side, thanks to the support, love and care of a strong network of friends, family and professionals. It was about giving something back to all of those people who had voluntarily been there for me for when I needed them the most.

5. Would you do it again?
Absolutely! Now that the lactic acid and muscle pain has subsided, I would love to do it again!

6. Any advice for our other runners?
Keep a positive frame of mind and always remember the reason why you are running – that will help see you through to the finish line. Train well, eat well and enjoy the experience of the race!

Thank you Daniel!

If you want to tell us about your experience of taking part in any event for SAMH, please email the team at fundraising@samh.org.uk

Has this motivated you to now take part in EMF 2015 in one of the distances on offer; 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, or the Team Relay like Daniel? We have guaranteed charity places available today, please just get in touch and we can talk you through the process, or sign up directly at: http://www.edinburgh-marathon.com/

Thank you & Welcome to Team SAMH!

Our Glasgow Firewalk

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Seonaid Mason, Supporter Care Fundraiser at SAMH, recaps on the success of our recent Firewalk event in Glasgow.

The 5th November 2014 is one that some of our supporters will certainly always ‘remember remember’ as they took part in SAMH’s first ever Firewalk.

This was an event that appealed to us as we were looking for a challenge that was a bit different, but one which people could take part in without having to dedicate too much time to training or preparing.  Not that many people can say that they have walked on fire! Firewalking also has a great link to mental health, as the challenge is all about increasing your confidence, self-esteem and breaking through limiting beliefs while transforming your fears into positive action.

The night began with our supporters arriving for their pre-Firewalk seminar.  Some of them were nervous, some of them were excited; some weren’t sure how they felt!  I was a bit of all three as we didn’t know what to expect – a two hour seminar was about to begin and none of us, including me, had any idea of what we were getting ourselves into!

Suffice to say, it was brilliant.  I can’t reveal the secrets of the seminar but by the end that quiet bunch of nervous individuals had turned into a rowdy ball of energy ready to take on the Firewalk!  Everyone was raring to go, full of positivity and fearlessness.

We left the seminar and made the short walk to St Enoch Square where the Fire Team had already lit the embers.  We turned the corner and I was taken aback.  At the very least I hoped for about 20-30 people ready to watch their friends and family members complete the Firewalk.  In reality, this crowd was so big that we had to fight to get through to the fire! There were people all around the 30 foot diameter barrier, all cheering and excited to see our Firewalkers take their first ‘Fire’ steps.

The walk itself went brilliantly, and the crowd loved it.  We cheered and clapped as each supporter stepped up, shouted their name and answered a resounding YES to  the question “ARE YOU READY?” before completing  their challenge.   Afterwards, we invited our supporters to join us for tea and cake, and celebrated all of the money  that had been raised for Scotland’s mental health.

All in all, it was an amazing, memorable night.  So amazing, in fact, that we’ve decided to do it all over again!  The 26th January 2015 is Blue Monday – apparently a  day noted for being particularly depressing.  We’ve decided to challenge this by making Blue Monday Red-Hot and holding a second Firewalk; this time in Edinburgh.  The venue and timings are still to be confirmed, however anyone interested can get in touch with fundraising@samh.org.uk or call 0141 530 1028 for more  information.  We’re hoping to make this even bigger, even better – and with a few surprises!

100 Half Marathons

Monday, October 13th, 2014

On Sunday 5th Ocotber I completed my 100th half marathon, finishing the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow in a time of 1 hour 39 minutes. It wasn’t my fastest time – in fact it was almost my slowest time – but I really enjoyed the race and was delighted to reach this landmark.

This week I have thought quite a bit about the various half marathons that have made up my 100. I ran my first one at Irvine Valley in 1990, a couple of months after taking up running. I had only started to get myself a bit fitter for refereeing football matches, having just sat the SFA referees’ exams. Soon I found that I enjoyed the running more than the refereeing, so joined the local running club, Troon Tortoises, and gave up refereeing. I’ve never looked back.

Joining a running club was one of the best decisions I ever made. I met some great people and thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie of the Tuesday and Thursday night training sessions. We pushed each other hard in these sessions, and very soon I started to see my times come down. I made some very close friends and would spend many weekends travelling round Scotland taking part in races. I’ve been a member of quite a few running clubs, reflecting the fact I have moved house fairly regularly. After leaving Troon I joined Central AC in Stirling, then moved to Strathearn Harriers, then on to Harmeny AC in Edinburgh, and I am currently a member of Portobello Running Club. I’ve made new friends at every one of those clubs.

Over the years I have run half marathons in some wonderful places, including the islands of Arran, Mull, Coll and Islay (where the post race refreshments were provided by the local distillery!) Inverness has always been one of my favourites: I’ve travelled to the Highland capital 17 times to run the half marathon, and had my second and third best times there. Glasgow is another favourite, which I’ve also run 17 times. My best time was at Ayr in 1996, where I finished in 1 hour 17 minutes. One of the most memorable was the Forfar Multi-terrain half marathon, particularly the quarter mile section of the course where we had to run through a waist-high, freezing river!

I feel incredibly privileged to have been able to run so many half marathons, in so many wonderful places, with such great people. For me, running has been the perfect way to unwind from the demands of work and other aspects of life. I hope to be able to run many more.

Ian sits on the SAMH board of trustees as Vice Chair. He is Chief Operating Officer of Lindsays Solictors, and non executive Chairman of Scottish Athletics.

Getting Active, whether you run a half marathon, or go for a short stroll around your local park can all make a difference to your mental health and wellbeing.

Common benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced risk of depression
  • Protection against anxiety
  • Improved concentration and self-esteem

Find out more by visiting the Get Active pages on our website.

SAMH volunteer wins top award for ‘Mental Matters’ magazine

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Mental Matters’ is a Scottish based recovery magazine and was launched earlier this year. It was the ambition of student Holly McCormack to start-up a publication in Scotland dedicated to promoting key anti-stigma messages and providing a platform to share stories of recovery relating to all aspects of Mental Health.

Editor Holly McCormack, who also volunteers for SAMH, scooped the illustrious Student Journalist in memory of Anna Sargent for 2013 award. It was presented as part of the Mind Media Awards which are now in their 20th year on the 18th of November at the BFI Southbank, London. Radio 1 DJ, Scott Mills, presented the award to Holly on the night.

Currently there are four editions of the magazine available online with the last two containing features on fundraising ventures past and present for SAMH. It also takes a look at topical issues such as Mental Health First Aid, impact of social media within mental health and in the last edition reviewed some key performances from the Scottish Mental Health and Arts Festival.

The magazine looks at recovery in mental health from some debilitating conditions like OCD to coming through a period of depression. Student mental health is a key focus of the last edition with much more planned in the future.

Holly said: “The magazine was started as part of my Journalism degree at the University of the West of Scotland.

“Although there has been industry recognition of the magazine after the first four editions, I know that there is a long way to go in regards to developing the magazine and engaging with a larger audience across Scotland.

“I’ve just looked at student mental health but the next edition is going to focus on sport and mental health.

“Inspired by the ‘Get Active’ campaign set up by SAMH, it will take a look at both how exercise can benefit your mental health and also how the importance of those in the sporting profession talking about their own experiences as this will help to break down the barriers that it’s ok to talk about mental health.

“I’d encourage anyone who wants to be involved with contributing or sharing stories of recovery or fundraising to get in touch as I truly believe that everyone’s voice deserves to be heard.”

If you would like to view the current edition or past editions then head to www.mentalmatters.co.uk - the online publication is free to view or download and is currently being released on a bi-monthly basis.

Dundee Flower and Food Festival – the event itself!

Monday, September 9th, 2013

And show day arrives – hear what SAMH Service Manager Kevin Bruce has to say!

Friday – Day One

The hard work is over and the results are in - drum roll please:

The Evergreen ‘Potager/EATS garden’ received a Silver Medal

The Chrysalis ‘The Amazing Sky Garden’ received a Silver Gilt Medal

SAMH’s ‘A Place To Sit And Talk’ garden received a Silver Medal

Quite a haul when you think about it, congratulations to one and all and thanks for all the hard work, blood sweat and tears. The opening day of the show is usually a quiet chilled out affair, with the big crowds coming in on Saturday and Sunday. Public reaction to the gardens has been fab so far lots of folk commenting on how innovative the designs were. A great deal of positive comments about SAMH as well and I must say hardly anyone this year is saying “what is SAMH”? people are now saying “oh SAMH, I saw the adverts on TV” so the power of the little grey box in every living room seems to have worked. Also got home at a decent time today! Looking forward to the rest of the show now…

Saturday – Day Two

Saturdays at the flower show are by no means the busiest day (that’s usually the Sunday) and I was only scheduled to do a “half shift” but as the day went on it became increasingly busy at the SAMH stall with lots of people asking for info on mental health and taking away lots of leaflets and materials.

The interest in our show gardens continues, people are taking lots of pictures and commenting on how lovely everything looks. Some ladies even ventured into the white garden to take photos…really wish they’d taken their shoes off though as the white decking is now a dirty shade of mud!!

Christine Walkden (The One Show gardener) had a brief wander around and Dave Ross from Evergreen managed to get a pic taken with her! We are hoping she will visit our section tomorrow for a chat, I also had two “glamorous assistants” today as Judith MacKinnon (Director of HR and National Programmes at SAMH) and Karen Gibson (Operations Manager at SAMH) pitched up to talk to the public, hand out leaflets and gardening advice!! I think they may even have sold some herbs!!

Looking forward to tomorrow, final day of the show and then the clear up begins!

Sunday – Day Three

The final day always has a tinge of sadness about it. It’s usually the busiest day so by 4pm we are thinking of tidying up and leaving the site for another year. I also like to review what we achieved so ask the following questions;

Did the public interact with our gardens? Have we handed out more than half of the promotional materials? Were the public inspired by our gardens? Did the majority of visitors recognise SAMH? Did we all have a good show?

The answer to all of the above is a resounding yes, lots of photos were taken, lots of questions about gardening and SAMH and this year, we genuinely had hardly anyone ask what SAMH does which is a big change from previous years.

Today Kirsty Keay (Suicide Prevention National Programme Manager) was interviewed by Bill Torrance of Radio Tay (and gardening guru)! He was also kind enough to pose for photographs with us both. Bill used to present the Beechgrove Garden and he has a lot of responsibility for me taking up horticulture in the first place, he’s always genuinely interested in our displays each year and is an all round “good lad”!

So after yet another extremely busy show it’s all over again. We have dismantled most of the stands and packed everything away to go to Kirkcaldy tomorrow. In February 2014 we will start the whole process again asking our gardeners what they want to do then the designs then the planning and before we know it we will be back at Camperdown Park setting up and constructing and having another cracking time…

Oh and we donated our prize money to SAMH’s Suicide Awareness Campaigns £400 in the bank for Kirsty and her team… Check out the website and find out more about the work of our suicide prevention team.