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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together
Douglas Connell

Five Minutes With...a Service user turned fundraiser, Douglas Connell 

Published: 31/08/2022

“Having felt lost and at the bitter end of things, my GP insisted I contacted Birmingham Healthy Minds for both advice and treatment.”

Service user turned fundraiser, Douglas Connell received “life changing” support from our Birmingham Healthy Minds service after suffering from mental health problems during the pandemic.

To show his appreciation, Douglas decided to set himself a challenge to support our charity, Caring Minds. Cycling the Pan Celtic Ultra series, he embarked on a gruelling 1,618-mile race, passing through the soul of the six territories that make up the modern Celtic Nations.

Reflecting on his journey, Douglas said: “During the recent pandemic, my fragile mental health deteriorated due to a number of factors. Having felt lost and at the bitter end of things, my GP insisted I contacted Birmingham Healthy Minds for both advice and treatment. This service was honestly lifesaving and I now have the mechanisms and confidence in place to move forward with insight and control over my mental state." 

"I decided to take part in the event as closure to my depression and to prove to myself I had the resilience and gumption to tackle any challenge. Having only cycled for a year prior to booking the event the challenge and preparation required a focused mind. The experience was incredibly enjoyable, and I certainly will be doing these events again. I took just over eight days having slept outside in my bivvy for most of the race."

"The ultra-race and cycling in general keeps me levelled and is something I called 'active meditation/mindfulness'. On the saddle is where I can truly find momentary mental clarity/bliss."

"It was my absolute drive to raise money for Caring Minds and I really hope this helps. I will likely be a lifelong fundraiser for this charity, since without this organisation and the dedicated professionals, I would not be here today.”

In total, Douglas raised an astonishing £760 for Caring Minds. If you would like to contribute to Douglas’ fundraising page, please click on the following link - Douglas Connell is fundraising for Caring Minds (justgiving.com)

Caring Minds are here to support the Trust’s vision of improving mental health wellbeing by providing funding that will enhance and add value to the service user and staff experience beyond what the NHS is able to provide. This may include equipment, specialised furniture, service user events, activities, carer’s wellbeing activities, staff appreciation events and much more.

If you or a loved one have received support from BSMHFT and would like to show your appreciation, why not fundraise for our charity? You could set up a coffee morning, hold a raffle or take part in a fun run, however you decide to fundraise, we would really appreciate it!

To get started on your fundraising adventure, please visit the following link: Caring Minds - Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust - Birmingham and Solihull mental health charity (bsmhft.nhs.uk)

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