A 21-year-old endurance adventurer is currently climbing the highest points in all 100 counties of the UK – and will be heading up The Cheviot tomorrow.
Alex Staniforth is taking on the challenge to support the mental-health charity Young Minds UK. He started in his home county Cheshire last month, during Mental Health Week, and is continuing throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, finishing on Sunday, July 23, on Moel Famau in North Wales.
Young Minds UK is particularly close to Alex’s heart as he has suffered from mental-health issues since he was a boy. His ambition is get more of us talking, and crucially, doing something about it, as he feels it’s still a taboo subject for many people.
“Mental illness is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with – far more difficult than climbing Everest,” he said.
“It’s fantastic that people like Prince Harry are speaking out about mental health, to show that mental illness can affect everyone, all over the UK. But we need to do something about it.
“Everyone has their own mountain to climb and my big message over the next few months is that if you’re suffering from mental-health issues, please speak out, tell someone you trust, visit the Young Minds website and seek help – it’s not a sign of weakness. Talking about it is a sign of strength.”
He has already attempted to reach the peak of Everest twice, only to be thwarted by Mother Nature in the shape of avalanches, the second of which killed three of his colleagues two years ago.
For Climb the UK, Alex is aiming to raise £10,000 for the charity and is already well on the way thanks to the generosity of the public. People can donate via justgiving.com/fundraising/climbtheuk