Lockdown project in aid of the mental health charity Mind
The Covid-19 pandemic which hit the UK around February 2020 has caused untold physical, mental and economic suffering. Over 5.5 million people worldwide have died (as at January 2022) and new variants continue to emerge.
In July 2020 during the first lockdown I produced a photobook of (hopefully) inspiring and interesting images to raise funds for a wonderful charity that is striving to relieve the mental suffering caused through the devastating loss of life, the impact of lockdown and loneliness, and the economic and lifestyle impacts. Mind is one of the biggest national charities in the UK addressing mental health. The charity provides advice and support to empower anyone experiencing mental health issues, and campaigns tirelessly to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. Never have their services been in such demand and nor have their fund raising activities been so challenged as now.
I also have a personal story prompting me to raise funds for mental health causes. About 12 years ago, I was struck by depression. From a very happy family environment, in good health and doing well in my career, I pretty much fell off a cliff and suffered three years of utterly dark times. I used every bit of medical help available and with a wonderful supportive family, I managed somehow to cling to some normality. Depression can take a huge toll obviously mentally but also physically, and it took me another three years to feel as if I had recovered. I have broken all sorts of bones and ligaments, but absolutely nothing in my life has compared to the anguish, despair and desperation I felt then.
In recent years, mental health has been a little more openly spoken about, perhaps thanks to people like Stephen Fry (President of Mind), royal support and so many people on the front line, but it has forever been an under-invested area. Covid-19 has brought about further huge suffering of course and so I felt mental health, Mind in particular, was my clear cause to try to raise funds and help during lockdown and beyond.
The photobook, called Window on the World, is full of images I have taken over my digital camera years (2005-2020 plus one image from 1982) that I hoped would be both enjoyable and interesting. I was also fortunate to have the support of a number of well-known people including Stephen Fry and Dame Emma Thompson from the art and acting world, Sir Richard Branson from business, and from the sporting arena Sir Alastair Cook, Dame Kelly Holmes, Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, Dan Biggar and Marcus Trescothick. They were all kind enough to sign limited editions of the book to help boost sales. The net result is that just over £12,500 was raised and sent over to Mind (my contribution being book production time and the print/postage costs). The project is closed now though do email me if you would like to buy a copy and contribute to Mind.
If you'd like to learn more about the work of Mind, please click on the logo link above.
World Mental Health Day
As part of the promotion of the Mind charity Photobook, I created a video to help highlight the difficult realities of the Covid pandemic, but also finding optimism about how we can help. The video was released in 2020 on World Mental Health Day, during which Mind’s theme was “Do One Thing for Better Mental Health”. A pretty good message for us all at any time.