By Rebekah McVey and Charlotte Dryburgh
A fundraiser in memory of former Stirling student, Colin Dalziel, who took his own life earlier this year has already surpassed its £3000 target.
Former members of the University of Stirling Athletics Club undertook a 24 hour relay around Airthrey Loch in aid of the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH).
They started at 6pm last night, with up to 20 people participating. Six runners working in pairs ran through the night, despite heavy rain and exhaustion. This ensured the relay continued without breaks.
When the sun came out this morning, it provided a huge morale boost to all those taking part.
Malcolm Harvey and Jed Bartlett, friends of Dalziel, explained they took part in a similar event when they were students to raise money for the athletics club. They decided the relay was a good way to honour Colin’s memory.
“The news knocked us for six,” Harvey said, as he explained how they managed to gather former team member from around the country to participate.
Dalziel had suffered from mental health issues for a number of years and Harvey explained he had experienced depression himself. He believes the “charity is a really good cause that helps people in serious situations. He feels that “mental health and suicide are such universal issues that people are happy to support the cause.”
The event’s Just Giving page states that “everyone who met Colin found him to be a warm and generous person and a good friend to have. He was funny and charming and always made time for others.”
Bartlett added “Trying to do something good out of something extremely sad became very cathartic. The camaraderie between the runners stayed high with everyone focusing on the team rather than individual success.”
Both Harvey and Bartlett completed 12 laps, equivalent to over a half marathon, by 11am this morning and both intended to do more running before the 24 hours runs out.
SAMH aims to combat the stigma that surrounding mental health and campaigns for a positive approach to supporting people with mental health issues across Scotland.
The charity operates in over 60 communities and services across the country.
1 in 4 people in Scotland will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime and every day in Scotland 2 people take their own lives.
The Scottish government budget committed over £1 billion to mental health expenditure including a £35 million fund to employ 800 new mental health workers across Scotland. However, the mental health budget share has reduced from 8.6% in 2015/16 to 8% in 2017/18.
SAMH believes that mental health requires greater investment to combat the rise in people requiring support from mental health services.
Students who are seeking support with their mental wellbeing can make an appointment with their GP or the university counsellors upon completing a registration and pre-assessment form.
The Samaritans is a 24 hour helpline which offers emotional support their number is 116 123.
Breathing Space is a similar organisation people can contact when feeling low, anxious or depressed. Their number is 0800 83 85 87.