Social work student to raise awareness of mental health issues on charity trek
A UNIVERSITY student from Lyme Regis is planning a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for a mental health charity in memory of her father.
Louise Powell, who grew up in Lyme Regis and attended The Woodroffe School, is hoping to raise £3,500 for the charity Mind, after her father Derek committed suicide last year.
The 21-year-old social work student, who is currently in her first year at Southampton Solent University, said the challenge would be a “very personal trip”, as it was something she and her dad had wanted to do together.
Louise is also hoping to scatter her father’s ashes at the top of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, as he had always wanted to visit.
She said: “This is a very personal trip to me and is in memory of my dad who suffered from mental illnesses for many years, and last year committed suicide.
“This trip to Mount Kilimanjaro was something my dad and I had planned to do together and is very important to me. As well as raising much-needed funds for this amazing charity, I want to also raise awareness about mental health and inform people that they don’t have to hide their mental illnesses and there is help out there.”
Speaking about her chosen charity, Louise added: “In England, one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
“The charity I am fundraising for is Mind. This charity offers support for many people across the UK who are battling mental health problems. They provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding.
“It’s incredibly important for anyone suffering from any type of mental health issue to be provided with the correct information about their illness and be pointed in the right direction into getting the help they are entitled too!
“Sadly this isn’t always the case due to lack of government funding for the mental health sector and this is when some amazing charities come into place.”
Louise will head off on her charity trek on September 21st and the challenge is expected to take 12 days, eight of which will be spent hiking and camping along the route, reaching altitudes of 5,895 metres.
“The route we will be taking is called the Lemosho route. Each day will consist of long walks anywhere between five and 15 hours of walking a day and reaching extremely low temperatures, as some trekking will also be done through the night,” she said.
‘My dad inspired me’
Louise completed a similar trek in Peru when she was 18, taking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
She said: “I raised money for SCOPE, a charity for people with disabilities. The reason I chose this charity at the time was because my dad was fundraising for it, also through a trek in Morocco. He inspired me to take part in treks.”
Louise is currently in training for her latest challenge, attending her local gym in Southampton and she hopes use the coastal path for some practise walks when the weather improves. She will also be taking part in organised training weekends hosted by the company Charity Challenge, which is organising the trek in Tanzania.
Louise added: “All money raised will go directly towards the charity and will be in my dad’s name. I have paid all trip costs myself to ensure all the money I now raise goes towards the charity!
Please help me meet my target and make mental health more known to others.”
You can sponsor Louise at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/louise-powell25