CHARITY CYCLIST REVEALS ‘FATHERHOOD HELPED ME FACE UP TO DEPRESSION’
14th June 2012
A father who is set to cycle 400 miles from Edinburgh to London has revealed how parenthood helped him stand up to depression.
Stuart Potter, who aims to raise awareness of mental health and funds for charity Mind, said his desire to be a ‘better father’ prompted him to seek help.
This Father’s Day, Stuart will be celebrating with wife Diane and daughter Abigail, 4, before setting off on the Biggest Journey on Tuesday.
Stuart, a communications consultant for Veecom Systems, and former Fringe comedian, had suffered silently from depression for almost 20 years before his diagnosis.
The avid cyclist hopes his Biggest Journey will help challenge stigma, and inspire others concerned about their or a loved one’s mental health to seek professional support.
During his three day journey, Stuart will make Four Stops to deliver presentations to members of business organisation 4Networking, with the aim of raising awareness of mental health in the workplace.
The project has attracted the support of some high profile names from the world of Scottish cycling, including James McCallum, Katy Winton and Craig Burn.
Stuart’s venture has garnered huge support from 4Networking, his employers Veecom Systems and a wealth of friends, clients and associates.
A successful social media campaign has helped dramatically boost awareness, with the @biggestjourney twitter account welcoming more than 1000 followers.
Perhaps as importantly, Biggest Journey has won fantastic emotional support for Stuart, with dozens of people confiding their own or a loved ones’ experience of depression.
Stuart said: “One in four people suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in their lives, but still there is huge stigma and many are afraid to seek help.
“Unfortunately, I was one of those people – looking back, I can’t believe I left it so long to get help.
“Becoming a father changed everything. Every parent knows that the early years with a young baby can be mentally and physically challenging, and the loss of freedom to just escape on my bike – my previous coping mechanism – was very hard for me.
“Ultimately, it was love for my family, and my desire to conquer depression to be a better husband and father, which prompted my first step to seek help.
“It has been an incredible year and the support and help I have received from the professionals and now, through Biggest Journey, from hundreds of well wishers, has been humbling and very emotional.
“I would strongly urge anyone struggling with depression to take that first step and seek help – you are not alone and you may be surprised by the support and understanding that is out there.”
Stuart has thanked his wife Diane, who is expecting their second child in August, for her incredible support.
He added: “I am so fortunate to have all the love and support of my family, and we are very excited about becoming a family of four this summer.”
For more information and to follow Stuart’s Biggest Journey, visit www.biggestjourney.com with live updates and blog, and follow @biggestjourney on twitter.
Stuart Potter is available for interview on request via Sarah Urquhart PR on the contact details below
- Stuart is traveling from Edinburgh to London, via Darlington and Loughborough. Starting Tuesday 19th June.
- For detailed info on the route, please see the Biggest Journey route page.
- Stuart will leave each 4Networking meeting at 10am sharp and will be available to photos and short interviews just before departure.
- Mind is the leading mental health charity in England and Wales. We work to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress. www.mind.org.uk
- For more information, interviews or case studies please contact the Mind media team on T: 020 8522 1743 M: 07850 788514 E: email@example.com ISDN line available: 020 8221 0817.
- 4Networking has more than 50,000 members, in 300 linked groups across the UK.
- For further information visit www.4networking.biz
Biggest Journey couldn’t happen without the generosity and support of its sponsors, including Velo Cast, Veecom Systems, Crystal Ball, Endura, Kumo Ink, Sarah Urquhart PR, Onestop IT Solutions, Carrot Media, Blade Printing, FreeAgent, Holiday Inn, Alpine Bikes, Sponser UK and 4 Networking
For further information please contact Sarah Urquhart PR on 01875 812763 or 07966 893353 or firstname.lastname@example.org