Creating Change, Creating Challenge

As well as helping you to unlock your full creative potential, I aim constantly to push myself to my limits in every area I can. To that end, in 2017 I am seeking to build upon last year’s achievements of winning the Creative Thinking World Championship and running my second ultramarathon by challenging myself to compete in the blue riband of mind sports, memory. Specifically, the Dandelion Project will embrace endurance running, powerlifting, indoor rowing (as a combination of strength of endurance); creativity, mental calculation, and memory (as a blend of left brain and right brain).

You can follow all of my challenges on the blog here. But as well as wanting to know how far, and in how many directions, I can push myself, I want to use every challenge I set myself to create change. We all want to change the world, but often this is best done by dedication to changing one small part of it relentlessly and effectively. And the part I am dedicated to changing is the opportunities available to those who have been affected by mental ill health.

After abandoning my own doctoral studies at Oxford owing to a combination of mental ill health and debt in no small part caused by that ill health, I have worked on numerous initiatives related to money and mental health. Working with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mind, and Rethink, I have been part of projects such as Final Demand, providing advice to 140,000 health professionals, codes of practice for the banking industry, representation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, and training for senior staff at American Express.

In 2016 I spoke at the Oxford University’s University Administration Services (UAS) Conference on mental health in the workplace, wrote a piece for the University’s contribution to Disability History Month, and was invited to give the closing remarks for the University’s second Disability Lecture in the form of a performance poem (see below). I have written about money and mental health for One in Four magazine, Mind and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, January 2017 I spoke at the headquarters of Barclays UK at the launch of the Institute’s report Seeing Through The Fog, reported by the BBC. The mental ill health awareness training for managers that my colleague Verity Wetgate and I have developed was delivered again,  in a greatly expanded venue, at the 2017 UAS conference and has already been rolled out to three of the largest departments and divisional teams within the University.

I am working on a project for which I will be fundraising through my challenges. In the meanwhile, if you are inspired by anything here, or just want to give spontaneously, in addition to mental health charities, please consider donating to my favourite charity, Apopo, which does extraordinary work training rats to sniff out landmines (playing a major part in leading to Mozambique being declared landmine-free) and to sniff out tuberculosis in samples at a rate that no laboratory can currently match.