A BRIEF HISTORY
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
At the rather rambunctious age of 18, when friends were either frolicking at freshers or travelling around Thailand, I began training in inpatient mental health care before joining the region’s crisis home resolution team. And as challenging as it was, meeting people at their lowest and most vulnerable points in their lives, having the opportunity to work on restoring their health was an incredibly rewarding experience that will stay with me forever.
Throughout my time working for the UK’s National Health Service, I couldn’t help but see how the service wasn’t doing enough to encourage sustainable restoration in the social, occupational, financial, emotional, nutritional and physical aspects of a person’s life.
All of which, in neglect, are conducive to poor mental health (Journal of Health Economics Vol. 2 Issue 22)
It went a little more like this; a brief conversation about what the individual has been up to and how they’re feeling, answer any questions about their treatment plan and manage symptoms with medication. For the more arduous tasks, refer them to the criticaly 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 practical, impactful life changes like debt management, career advice, nutritional support or helping to be active outdoors, that just isn’t good enough for me.
THE ORIGINAL NIGHT SLIDES
During those earlier years, our thrill-thirsty group of mates made the most of little responsibility and spent the warm summer nights sliding down the concrete hills around 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 outdoor pursuits, the state of politics, or whether there’s life on Mars. But talking about ourselves, our struggles, and our worries? 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.
By featuring a diverse range of talented humans and outdoor brands across the UK and Europe – taking their social responsibility seriously – the platform became a positive source of news, reviews and interviews that featured the cool, captivating and 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 tragically took his own life. Even with a loving, supportive family and a close-knit group of friends, all were unaware of the impending peril because Josh couldn’t reach out about what was seriously troubling him at the time. And 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, sorely missing his infectious enthusiasm and the creative flair he offered so naturally, circumstances changed and the decision was made to not 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 people (researchers / specialists / producers) in order to change the game for good.
The benefits of an active outdoor lifestyle have been proven, but we want to take that a step further.
At present, we’re in the middle of conducting new research into the effectiveness of therapeutic support when surrounded by Mother Nature in comparison to a typical clinical setting that, understandably, is keenly avoided. How can we utilise the multitude of benefits offered by the Great Outdoors to ensure that we deal with our struggles and better receive someone else’s struggles when they’re in need?
THE LAUNCH OF NIGHT SLIDES
In late 2018, build started on our new online space, driven by the same values that the previous space was built on, with the riders clubs re-established too. Now, with more experience under our belts and JT 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.
To lead a wholesome lifestyle that’s conducive to a healthy mind.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read about our journey. With your support, I know that together we can make a positive difference – Charlie and the Night Slides team.
All about those good times spent without a care in the world but the company you’re keeping. When the night slides away 🌠