I care about the Mental Health challenge because: I have experienced depression and PTSD. I went through a long divorce and loss of family contact. The N1H1 Swine Flu virus caused me to be severely ill, requiring sedated ventilator support for several months. Unable to walk, depressed and suffering from PTSD were some of the personal challenges that I had to overcome. Thoughts about reviving my passion for sailing encouraged me in those difficult times, expedited my recovery, and I rapidly gained strength in mind and body. Participating in the 2019/20 Clipper Round, the World Race enabled me to join a diverse team and face situations that challenged mind and body, culminating in sailing across the Southern Ocean roaring 40’s in some of the most extreme conditions that can be experienced on this planet.
Through my experience, I could visualise how teamwork and sailing could combine to enable repair of lives shattered by mental trauma. I formed the not-for-profit Community Interest Company, CraigSailing, aimed at providing innovative activities and challenging adventures, through teamwork, acquiring new skills, and sailing.
The nature of the depressive illness is for individuals to draw inwards and withdraw from social interaction.
The current COVID-19 situation with lockdown, shielding and social distancing has exacerbated feelings of isolation and depression. CraigSailing CIC is providing a second tier of innovative client activities within the mental health sector bringing together a diverse, gender-balanced, ethnically diverse group of people, and provide situations where they can recover and put their illness behind them.
Our project helps ordinary people from Young Adults to ex-Service Personnel who have experienced a psychological crisis and lack the mental strength and physical resources to engage in boating activities such as wooden yacht building, learning to sail and challenges such as navigating a yacht across the English Channel or around the UK.
By providing a supportive cocoon of project management, pastoral support and “light touch” leadership, individuals develop skills, engage with others, support each other and rebuild inner strength. Ultimately participants restore self-confidence, physical fitness, make new lifelong friends and return to being a productive member of their community once more.