In May 2017 Alastair Campbell, 34 yr old tech salesperson at C-Tech and life adventurer, will be climbing the highest mountain in North America to raise awareness and money for Men’s Mental Health in New Zealand. Read on to find out how he plans to do it, and more importantly, why.
“From a young age I was pretty sure that I saw the world a little different perhaps my history shows this. Not being the best at academics I struggled in the more traditional teaching environments but flourished in the more creative or free things classes. Leaving Uni early I went to the Whitsundays to work as a diving instructor but ending up wanting to sail the ocean rather than swim in it for a profession.
The following 10 years took me aboard cutting edge race boats, luxury super yachts and high performance dinghies – I had made a career out of racing boats and I was stoked. The work was almost entirely abroad spending 6-8 months a year travelling between work destinations. Whilst this was exciting to begin with it was testing on friendships and very hard on relationships.
Nearing my 30’s, being a homeowner, and with the credit crunch, times had been tricky but I had survived fairly well. However a sequence of events involving a traumatic breakup, being removed from a particular job I had given everything to and an event that meant I didn’t know if I could trust my closest friends sent me in to a steep downward spiral – my world felt bottomless.
For months I was deeply unhappy not trusting myself to take on everyday tasks. However through the perseverance of some friends and close family I slowly climbed my mountain to regain confidence in myself and those who had picked me up. Whilst ultimately I sought therapy years later to truly mend the damage it was those people around me that made the difference when it mattered the most.
I have two new mountains to climb – Denali, North America’s highest mountain (6,190m). It is regarded as one of the 10 hardest mountains in the world to summit and if I’m being honest I’m as green as they come. I have committed to intense physical training and whilst I have summited much smaller local mountains it will be my career in sailing that will best prepare me for the kind of exposure and endurance required to be given an opportunity to summit. However, there is no easy way up this mountain. The altitude, long lasting storms and extreme temperature (-40C) pose a serious danger. For these reasons, the success rate on Denali is around 50%, 30% lower than Everest. Add in the 75kg of equipment I’ll be hauling and undoubtedly – Denali will be by far the greatest physical challenge of my life.
My other mountain to ascend is to START MEN TALKING. Men’s health is just as important as women’s health and true wellbeing all starts in the mind. Women over the decades have done a fantastic job of creating a social space and acceptance for them to voice their mental and physical health concerns. Men are just as deserving of this domain and it’s time we used it, however we can’t ask for it, like women, we must make it our own – without it we are weaker.
Poor mental health is a weakness just as a physical injury would be. However, to show your weakness is the greatest show of true strength. With your support and the work of Men’s Health, men can show just how strong they really are.
I want to raise money to help men’s mental health in New Zealand. Many farmers and industrial workers experience significant hardship and isolation in their environment, the result can be significant mental stress. This can turn in to family troubles, drinking, gambling, substance abuse or the even suicide. I want those men that feel alone and overwhelmed to know that they have support and people that care on hand.
Males account for 71% of suicides in Aotearoa, this is believed to be a result of the tradition that men do not discuss their concerns. The Men’s Health Trust and I want to change this, men the world over deserve a voice and a space to say what troubles them. Can you provide support and empowerment to this charity and the men of New Zealand bringing peace and deserving harmony to men and their families across the country?
I have a big mountain to climb and a formidable challenge but it is nothing compared to combatting poor mental health. Together with your support we can make the change and help good people that deserve better.”
Click here to SHOW ME YOUR SUPPORT and make a donation
Click here to follow my adventure on FACEBOOK
Alastair’s aiming to reach the Denali summit on 1 June, what an incredible way to begin Men’s Health Month 2017. Find out more about what’s happening in MEN’S HEALTH MONTH.