Becky :)

Hello! I'm Becky- a loud and bouncy 18 year old from Bristol, who changes her hairstyle too often and generally resembles a toddler on excess caffeine. This year, I decided to put that energy to good use, by running a fundraising campaign called 2015in2015. Over the course of 2015, I'm aiming to raise £2015 for Mental Health Research UK. When I tell people this, I generally get asked two questions: 'HOW?' and 'WHY?'. To answer the first- in all sorts of ways! I've been doing lots of sponsored events- for example, wearing a unicorn onesie on the first day of every months, giving up things (such as meat, chocolate and social media) in different months, a recent walk from Bristol to Bath, and a year-long dryathlon- for the entirety of this year (the year in which, incidentally, I turned 18), I haven't consumed any alcohol, and I will continue with this until the 1st of January. Aside from these, I've been doing events such as quiz nights in my local area. Lastly, for my 18th birthday, I asked for people not to give me presents, but to make a donation to Mental Health Research UK.

Why am I doing all of this? There's two strands to this answer. Firstly, the bigger picture. In any given year, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem- yet only 5% of health spending goes towards mental health research. This seems wildly disproportionate and unfair to me, and makes me pretty angry. At the moment, mental health is still a relatively unexplored area. The causes of many problems and illnesses are unknown. Treatment is, all too often, a process of trial and error. Whilst recovery is, for many, entirely possible, there is no guarantee. There is no cure. There is not even a quick fix. I think we deserve better.

On a more personal note, whilst I am very much the person I described at the top, there is another side to me. I have an anxiety disorder that means that every day can be a fight- against anxiety, against my head, against a brick wall that I can't quite scale. At times, it's seemed like the dark places inside my head were going to consume me completely. It's only due to the love and support I have around me, and my own fighting spirit, that I am here. I am so, so lucky to be here- and I am determined to do what I can to help others with their own battles. Aside from having my own experiences, I've watched (and cared for) many people close to me, as they've had their own struggles. I've lost count of the number of times I've stayed up late, reassuring a friend; or tried, desperately, to help them through their battles. I'm happy to do it, and would go to the ends of the earth if it meant I could help: but it's not enough. I'm done with watching the people I love being worn down. I'm angry that, to many, there appears to be little way out and little prospect of sunshine. I'm making it my mission to do everything I can to help them, and others.

By supporting 2015in2015 and making a donation to Mental Health Research UK, you are helping to fight this beast that is mental illness. You are helping to find causes and treatments. You are, in short, helping to bring hope to others. Please, please check out my JustGiving page (www.justgiving.co.uk/2015in2015), search up the campaign on Facebook or Twitter (2015in2015) and take a look at the blog (www.2015in2015.blogspot.com). Alternately, text 'BEKS97' followed by an amount (eg, £2) to 70070 to donate directly from your phone bill.

Help me, to help others hope.

Thank you x