A BRIEF HISTORY
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
At the rather rambunctious age of 18, when friends were frolicking at freshers or taking travelling trips to Thailand, I began training in mental health care for a community-based crisis team. As challenging as it was, meeting people at their lowest and most vulnerable points in their life, having the opportunity to work towards restoring their health was an incredibly rewarding experience that will stay with me forever.
Throughout my time working in the NHS, I couldn’t help but see how the service wasn’t doing enough to encourage sustainable restoration in the social, occupational, financial, nutritional, physical and emotional aspects of a person’s life. And they’re all conducive to poor mental health.
It went a little more like this: have a quick chat about what they’ve been up to and how they’re feeling, answer any questions they have about their treatment plan, manage their symptoms with medication, and then for the more arduous tasks, refer them to the often under-resourced occupational therapist team.
According to Humber NHS Trust (2017), “there is a small number of mental health Occupational Therapists (OT) in the Trust” and that’s consistent around the country. Given that OTs are relied upon by the wider teams to manage impactful life changes like debt management, creating meal plans or helping them be active outdoors, that just ain’t good enough.
THE ORIGINAL NIGHT SLIDES
During those few years, our thrill-thirsty group of friends made the most of little responsibility and spent the warm summer nights sliding down the concrete hills of Dorset on longboards and then putting the world to rights in-between runs. That sparked the creation of our original riders club, Night Slides, which naturally gave us all a sense of belonging, taught us the value of fellowship and enabled a freedom of expression that positively contributed to our personal development.
On those nights, it was easy enough to talk about the skate scene, the state of politics or whether there’s life on Mars. But talking about ourselves, our struggles and our worries? Well that just wasn’t a thing.
Stress temporarily benumbed by the rush of adrenaline.
OUR FIRST ONLINE MAGAZINE
Frustrated with the lack of quality content from the industry and passionate about the positive benefits of participating in outdoor pursuits, Josh and I decided to design, write and publish an online magazine ourselves – selfishly – for ourselves. The mission was simple, to celebrate the best of what the industry had to offer in a format that just didn’t exist online at the time:
Original and engaging content that’s a pleasure to read.
So by featuring both up-and-coming and established organisations across the UK and Europe, who take their social responsibility seriously, the platform became a positive source of news, reviews and interviews that featured the cool, the captivating and the courageous for their budding readership’s enjoyment.
LESS THAN A YEAR IN, EVERYTHING CHANGED
A shock came that rocked the worlds of all who knew Josh. On August 1st 2012, he suddenly passed away aged 20 years old. Even with a loving family and a close group of friends, all were unaware of the danger because Josh didn’t reach out about what was troubling him at the time. According to the UK government, this is the most common cause of death for men under the age of 50 in England and Wales.
This has to change.
After continuing the magazine in Josh’s memory, missing his infectious enthusiasm and the creative flair he offered so naturally, circumstances changed and the decision was made not to carry on any further.
In the years gone by since then, work has been going on behind the scenes to bring together the right team of media producers, journalists and health specialists to better promote how to talk about our struggles and live a wholesome lifestyle that’s conducive to a healthy mind.
The benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle have been proven, but we want to take that a step further. So much so, we’re conducting new research into the effectiveness of therapeutic support when surrounded by Mother Nature in comparison to the stereotypical clinical setting that, understandably, is so often avoided.
It’s a no-brainer, right? Not that we’re biased…
THE LAUNCH OF NIGHTSLIDES.COM
Build started on our new online space, driven by the same values that the previous space was built on, with the riders club re-established too. Now, with more experience under our belts and Josh with us in spirit, we have one helluva challenge on our hands: to raise our voice loud enough so we all have the confidence to reach out when we’re not feeling right and, crucially, get the right support when we do.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read about our journey. Together, with your support, I know we can make a positive difference – Charlie and the team behind nightslides.com
All about those good times spent without a care in the world but the company you’re keeping. When the night slides away 🌠