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10km Mark Broken and a Motivation for Swim Through Darkness

December 7th 2023

Causeway Coast

Charity AWARE

Swim Distance 2.23km

Air temp Slightly Tropical for December

I broke the 10km mark last night of Swim Through Darkness with a 2.23km surf swim under a beautiful starry sky but very dark night. I had a brief encounter with a fish and saw some bizarre flashes in the sky at sea. I thought I would use this moment to explain one of the reasons I am doing this campaign which I am sure is also a reason for the many other Mental Health campaigns in Northern Ireland.

The suicide rate in Northern Ireland is the highest in this part of the world. This may be for lots of reasons some of which are present in other cities and countries. However, the “Troubles" legacy, after 40 years of conflict, casts a unique shadow. Peace Walls, cultural division, blame, bias and deep psychological scars persist. With no government, our medical staff bear the impact of finite resources and an overwhelming demand on their expertise and service. The charities carry the rest. I recently spoke to a young girl in West Belfast, probably born since the “Peace Agreement”. Her concern for the wellbeing of “the policemen” echoes the need for more help for those on all sides of the conflict. The "Peace Agreement" generation highlights the lasting impact and the transmission of Intergenerational Trauma between the generations that lived through it and those that are being born after it. I personally think people are largely unaware of the trauma built into this nation because it is often masked by the incredible resilience here. Education campaigns, both gov funded and personally administrated ones, that destigmatise mental health issues and provide support are vital and it is why so many of us are constantly trying to raise awareness of depression and suicide through small campaigns. The change is coming, we can all be part of it.

Setting up safety gear with Mark

Starry Sky

2.23km Swim Through Darkness


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