A man who tried to take his own life is set to take part in a gruelling challenge for charity.
Ian Murphy suffered serious depression and ‘two years of hell’ with the break-up of his marriage and losing his job.
Now the 41-year-old personal trainer is taking on five gruelling challenges over three weeks to support mental health charity Mind.
During successive weekends in July, he will take on the Edinburgh Ironman, Gateshead 10k, Hexham Half-Marathon, AJ Bell London Sprint Triathlon and Whitley Bay Triathlon.
Ian, from Shiremoor, said: “If it wasn’t for me being able to get active, I really don’t think I’d be here right now.
“I have realised that I need to look after myself and that is what I’m trying to do.
“I want to raise £500 for Mind, because that will help one person go through CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), which helped me get through some dark times.
“Mental health has become more of an understood issue in the past couple of years but it is still not talked about enough or really considered as bad as a physical injury.
“But still, so many people suffer in silence – I was one of them.
“We need to remember there are so many people out there who need help and support, and we need to give it to them.
“I hope what I am doing can draw some attention to such an important issue, and hopefully provide some real-life support through the funds I raise. If it helps just one person, I’ll be over the moon.”
Ian began suffering severe anxiety in September 2014, and by December he had sunk deeper into a negative spiral of depression.
He spent Christmas alone, and after a day out with his friends watching his beloved Newcastle United play at the end of January, suffered his worst bout of depression to date and ended up taking an overdose of paracetamol.
He began self-harming, which continued over the next 24 months as he was moved through NHS mental health services and put onto prescription drugs. At one point he spent eight weeks at home without going out of the front door.
He lost his bar job in December 2016 and attempted suicide again.
Things started to improve once he began CBT, and in spite of various setbacks in January 2016 Ian began training to become a personal trainer.
Despite continuing to struggle with his demons, Ian has made a success of his business – @mpmfitness.
Ian’s end goal is to end up working with the NHS so he can directly impact the lives of people going through what he has gone through.
He added: “I am working on qualifications that will help me volunteer in organisations like the NHS. Hopefully I will be able to work within the health service at some point so I can make a difference that way.
“I have been there and felt the pain I know so many others will be going through. I want to do what I can to help.”
Karen Bolton, community fundraising manager for Mind, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to Ian for taking on this fantastic challenge and choosing to fundraise for Mind.
“Taking on such a gruelling set of events is not only an amazing achievement in itself, it’s also a brilliant way to highlight the positive impact physical activity can have on mental wellbeing.
“Every penny raised will fund Mind’s vital work including the Mind Infoline, our advice services and the campaigning Mind does to secure a better deal for the one in four of us who experience a mental health problem every year.”