Scaling the heights to raise awareness of mental health

Hannah Ray
Hannah Ray

Exercise is the best drug to combat mental health issues, according to a University of Brighton student who is taking on a trek across 3,000ft mountains in aid of the charity MIND.

Hannah Ray, a 23-year-old PhD student of Exercise Physiology at the university’s Eastbourne campus, suffered a breakdown last year and she believes support from friends and relatives, plus regular exercise, helped her recover quicker than had she used medication. And on May 5, she will be joining celebrities in a 50km trek, climbing the four highest peaks in the Lake District, to increase awareness and raise £50,000 for MIND, which provides advice and support and campaigns to improve mental health services.

Two teams of 24 will go head-to-head to complete a non-stop 14-hour trek and Hannah will be joining TV presenters Anna Williamson, Denise Welch, and Gail Porter and newsreader Emma Crosby. The teams currently are £14,000 short of their target.

Hannah said, “Last year I suffered a nervous breakdown and developed bipolar. Being a student of physiology, I have a good understanding of how the human body works but I couldn’t understand why my mind and body were attacking me with constant anxiety, skin crawling and heart racing.

“I could no longer function let alone study toward my PhD or exercise. I hated who I had become.”

Her recovery, she said, was the ‘hardest and most exhausting’ fight but added, “With the love, support and help from my family, friends, PhD supervisors and a few influential people, I am back on track.”

To donate to Hannah go to: