We all have a Mission. A Purpose. A Why. Our lives are filled with meaning, even if the depths of mental illness seem to hide it at times. What impact could be made if the conversation around mental illness was normalized? What would the result be if no one felt the stigma of receiving the care of a mental health professional? What if we as a community of human beings rallied around each other, built one another up, overcame suffering together, provided support, taught resilience, held one another accountable, and cared for each others mental health? Imagine the difference we could all make together…
We are Mind Mission. A nonprofit organization in Columbus, Ohio dedicated to promoting mental health awareness through fitness and adventure, fostering community, and providing resources. What began as a single biking and kayaking fundraising endeavor has grown into a mission to model the strength in taking care of your mental health. We know the struggle of anxiety, the depths of depression, and the importance community support plays in recovery.
For 3 years now we have traveled hundreds of miles across Ohio by bike with the goal of normalizing seeking mental health treatment and fundraising to support local mental health nonprofits. While traveling across Ohio with nothing but a bike between us and the beauty of Ohio, it dawned on us that that there was beauty in the struggle of working towards peddling to our destination. Some of the observations we took note of through our expeditions are:
- Traveling hundreds of miles through the hills and winding roads of Ohio is damn challenging and painful, but that is minuscule to the challenge of coping with a mental illness. Every single person living with a mental illness is resilient, strong, and hardened in ways that are incomprehensible.
- We ride together knowing that there will be pain along the way, but the joy of completing the mission together outshines the hardships along the journey. There is power in overcoming both physical and mental challenges together as a community.
- You can see parts of Ohio that you would never see without being on the bike and we found a sense of peace being in the open country fields of Ohio. We want to lead youth and adults who may benefit from a new experience and environment and instill hope and confidence.
- All of us who ride are either living with a mental illness, have someone in our family or friend group that is, or work with individuals who are. Mental illness is far too common for a stigma to exist, and we must work together to provide resources and fund and support research that will improve the lives of those living with a mental illness.
We look forward to having you along for the journey and invite each and every one of you to join us. I leave you with a quote from author and professor Andrew Solomon, whose words have served as a constant reminder of hope and strength during some of the most difficult of time:
“Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason.”Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression
In Strength and Resilience,
Derek Davis, Founder, Mind Mission
Note: Mind Mission does not offer treatment services. If you are in crisis please dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 800-273-8255. There is hope and you matter.