Fundraise for us Fundraising stories Swimming for charity! Matthew Haycroft will be joining around 10,000 people to do the Great North Swim in aid of our organisation. This is his third time doing the competition on 8 June and feels like he wanted to raise money for a charity that is close to his heart. "Over the last 6 months I have been struggling with various different aspects of my life, I made the conscious decision to seek help from Mind. Possibly one of the best decisions I have ever made". Matthew has always been incredibly passionate about swimming from a very early age and hopes he will enjoy the open water experience. "Dealing with some anxiety issues which can affect up to 5% of the population, Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind managed to help me deal with my thoughts and emotions through talking therapies. For quite some time I had the constant thoughts that I'm just waiting for the world to trip me up and fail. I have managed to be able to feel my usual self again, rather than constantly over processing situations / emotions / thoughts". Matthew explains that contacting us was probably the most difficult, especially meeting a counsellor for the first time. Like many, he was very sceptical about the oucome of just 'talking'. "How wrong I was! I left feeling emotionally drained, but instantly happy, I actually began to look forward to future sessions with the counsellor and looking forward to a future of being back to myself and having coping mechanisms to combat negative thoughts". He hopes that sharing his experiences, will allow more people who have probably had similar thoughts and emotions to get in touch. "I couldn't recommend seeking support for your thoughts and emotions highly enough. Being able to speak about how I feel is one of the best motivators I have for overcoming anxiety". "As I've been told in my sessions - 'It's okay to feel like that' and this is what I have tried to tell people when they've said they don't feel so good". He hopes by sharing his story and raising awareness of our charity through fundraising, he can help even one person out of his friends to connect with services we offer. Doing this, he would feel he has achieved more than the donation target. "I firmly believe that male mental health is a massive issue at the minute, I am a strong believer that a problem shared is a problem halved!" "The male population are slowly becoming more accepting of amazing services provided by charities that allow them to access the support they need. We all need to work together to change people’s perspective around mental health! One thing that always stuck with me is that; 'It’s ok not to be ok'. If you would like to donate to Matthew's fundraising page, click here.