Mental health volunteer to cycle 145 miles for charity

By Tom Oakley
BBC News

  • Published
Image source, Darren Atwood
Image caption,
Darren Atwood volunteered for the charity after it supported him through his mental health struggles

A mental health charity volunteer who has battled "crippling" depression after being abused as a child is taking on a mammoth cycle challenge.

Darren Atwood will ride 145 miles from London to Melton Mowbray on 24 August in support of Unlock Your You.

The 36-year-old, from Melton, started volunteering after the charity helped him through his mental illness struggles.

He will complete the challenge over four days - cycling 36 miles a day.

Mr Atwood, who is training to be a counsellor himself, said he would be "forever grateful" for everything the organisation had done to support him.

"For years I have struggled with my mental health after suffering from historic child abuse," he said. "I started to develop severe anxiety and PTSD due to the extreme trauma I suffered, leading to regular panic attacks on an almost daily occurrence.

"I desperately needed something to make it go away, so I started drinking heavily to try and make the pain go away and for it to stop.

"When I turned 30 I was feeling isolated, trapped, and terrified; I contemplated ending my life."

Mr Atwood has already raised £1,000 for the charity and hopes to raise awareness of its work during his challenge.

He added: "I knew with my beautiful wife and two amazing young children to consider, I had to get help and I needed help fast.

"I can't believe how close I came to losing everything - this bike ride is for Unlock Your You who and all the amazing volunteers who helped me through it all."

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