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April 4, 2024

Chalking Helps: a Mental Health Climbing Social

When it comes to mental health, it can really feel like a huge mountain that can’t be tackled. But it all starts with the acknowledgement of the road ahead.

Hello, my name is Luke, and I have suffered with my mental health for many years. Through an estranged childhood and big decisions at a young age, to losing my mum unexpectedly at 19; it's been a difficult route to traverse. After years of wilderness my now partner introduced me to bouldering. Sport is something I had never seen as a viable option, but a few years on I’ve got adventure in my heart and have had lifechanging experiences.

I would say that bouldering helped completely rejuvenate my approach to mental health. Making moves on the wall helps to focus the mind, if you don’t concentrate then you’re off and it’s as simple as that. When you get to the top of a route, and you realise all the micro problems along the way have been solved it gives you such a rush of endorphins! Make no mistake… you did that, you made it to the top! The physical hurdle acts as a very real representation of the mind's mountains and helped me to process things I never thought I’d be able to explore. Some mountains aren’t physical, but all are climbable. Bouldering didn’t teach me that, but it gave me all the necessary tools to overcome any problem in my way.

The ambitions with this social are ever growing and changing, and so is my want to do more for mental health services generally. Chalking Helps was contacted by Chris at York Mind and he showed real support for what I was trying to do. He supplied me with leaflets and booklets from mental health services locally and came along to one of our meets. I’ve been thrilled to also have the support of Emily, a friend turned leader of a branch of Chalking Helps in Nottingham at the Nottingham Climbing Centre.  I’m over the moon that a second session is being held somewhere else in the country. I’ll also be appearing on the Chat Chit podcast later this month, led by Chris, this an amazing opportunity to speak openly about mental health and encourage the conversation more and more. That's really what it’s all about; talking.

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