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Hi! I'm Caitlyn, a History student at University of York, and I'm taking part in the Great York Walk 2021 to raise money for mental health, as well as raising awareness about the link between chronic illness and mental health conditions.
The Great York Walk is a challenge walking event that will help to transform mental health by raising funds for Mentally Fit York at the University of York.
Through this challenge, I also hope to raise awareness about the link between chronic illness and mental health conditions. I have fibromyalgia, and it took me 10 years to be finally diagnosed aged 19. I have been living with chronic pain for as long as I can remember. From the moment I wake up, to the minute I fall asleep, I am in pain. Feeling out of control of my body, and with no treatments to cure or even treat fibromyalgia, has definitely taken a toll on my mental health.
I had hoped that finding a name for the pain I had been feeling would leave me with a sense of relief. But when I was diagnosed, I struggled with the realisation that my pain would never stop. I was lucky that I was able to receive mental health support through the University of York. This support was vital, and that is why I am taking on this challenge to fundraise for mental health initiatives.
Chronic conditions and mental health issues cannot be seen - but this does not mean they do not exist.
Mental health issues do not discriminate and right now, mental health has never been more important as the social implications of coronavirus begin to unravel. So together with loads of other people - some with a connection to York, some with no connection - I'm going to be counting my daily steps for the next three months (10th May - 31st July) to contribute to a 25,000 mile walking goal. That's the equivalent of a walk around the Earth!
With my fibromyalgia, this will definitely be a challenge, but I think this is definitely a worthy cause.
Please donate anything you can to help my target and improve mental health in York and beyond! (P.S. If you want to join me on the walk, you can sign up here.)
My walk will be in aid of Mentally Fit York, which will promote good mental health on a local, national and international scale. Your support will be used to fund initiatives such as 24/7 mental health support for York students and research projects to further our understanding of mental health issues and the barriers to accessing support services.
Your support may also go towards providing suicide prevention training, Mental Health Nursing Scholarships or it could contribute to a range of other initiatives which are decided by an expert panel of mental health and wellbeing researchers, practitioners and advocates. Find out more about what Mentally Fit York has supported here.