Bristol man runs this Movember in aid of mental health service that changed his life

Former Bristol Wellbeing College learner and Delivery Project Manager at Vattenfall Heat UK, part of Bristol City Leap, Rich Lee is raising funds for Second Step and the work we do with people across the region, as his way to help others get the mental health support they need.

“The College were there for me when I was at rock bottom and now I want to do my bit,” he explained.

Rich moved to Bristol in the summer of 2017 to a new job and a new home. Within weeks he’d become seriously unwell, not able to leave the house and seeking help from the crisis team.

“I fell apart, I’d managed my depression and anxiety before that really well, but suddenly I wasn’t able to manage at all. I was having lots of panic attacks all at once and I was having suicidal thoughts.”

Rich found the Bristol Wellbeing College after coming across its drop-in Wellbeing Café where he went along to have tea with others. He said:

“There’s only one way to go when you are at rock bottom, and that’s up. I like learning, not necessarily about myself, but about the coping mechanisms. I just signed up to everything I could and I didn’t stop.”

Rich gradually built his resilience and strength to do more activities and sign up to more courses. He also built a rapport with the other learners and empathising with them helped him find more empathy for himself. The College helped him get to a place where he was ready to go back to work again.

Now, as delivery project manager at Vattenfall Heat UK, part of Bristol City Leap, Rich is taking part in the MoRun on 12 November along with 25 of his colleagues to raise awareness of men’s mental health and the great work being done by Bristol Wellbeing College.

The team are in training, alongside some staff from Second Step. They have the added incentive of match funding from Bristol City Leap for every pound they raise.

Andy Warren, Deputy Chief Executive at Second Step, said:

“Rich’s story is inspiring and I’m honoured to be running with him to raise awareness of the work we do at the College, supporting people from across the city to find ways to keep mentally well. We’re delighted that Bristol City Leap chose Second Step as their mental health partners. We’re hugely grateful for their support to help us in our work to reach out and support some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”

David White, Operations Director for Bristol City Leap, said:

“Mental and physical health are at the top of our wellbeing priorities within Bristol City Leap and we are incredibly lucky to have courageous individuals like Rich who are able to share their stories. This is so important to normalise conversations about wellbeing at work and goes a long way toward empowering others to be open about their own circumstances.”

Dom Barton, Director for Heat Networks – Bristol at Vattenfall Heat UK said:

“At Vattenfall we embrace diversity and inclusion, ensuring each individual is making the most of their professional skills, whilst remaining in control of their work-life balance.

“We’re proud to see Rich going from strength to strength. He’s now helping other Vattenfall employees in the workplace after he volunteered to complete his mental health first aider training.”

To support Rich and the other Movember runners, head over to our GoFundMe page to make a donation. Thank you for your support.

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