Overcoming mental ill health in men through taking up cycling.
One persons experience.
How did I find cycling?
I found the start of lockdown very difficult. I’ve had struggles with my mental health in the past, so when I had a chance meeting with another cyclist when I was looking for a bike on Gumtree, his love of cycling and its benefits encouraged me to take it on. I hadn’t cycled much before the lockdown but soon started
riding 50 miles a day, every day.
How the documentary started
His enthusiasm also inspired me to make the video. I have a BA in Sports Journalismso I began the process of making a documentary. I saw the positive benefits that cycling was having on my own mental health and quickly found lots of amazing men whose passion for cycling was also infectious, but who have also been affected by various mental and physical health issues.
How I found the people in the video
Cyclists are a diverse group of people bound by a common love.
Each of the people in ‘Braking the Cycle’ has a different story as to how we met: Peter and I
met through Gumtree, Jim has been a friend for many years, Ellis and I met via Twitter,
and then the rest was just via word of mouth.
Why the focus on men’s mental health?
The suicide rate in men is increasing, with men more likely than women to take their own lives:
in 2019 in England and Wales, men aged 45 to 49 years had the highest suicide rate at 25.5 per 100,000,
with the biggest number in age group 40 to 49.
The stress of lockdown and the consequences of the pandemic on jobs and lives has also had a major
effect on people’s wellbeing. Cycling during lockdown has been a huge help to many of us in overcoming this by,
as Peter says, “cleansing the mind” and acting as a distraction from the ongoing crisis.