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Great support sees Norwich Mind group of youngsters complete Mount Snowdon climb

PUBLISHED: 09:14 10 September 2014

The team from Mind making their way up Snowdon. L  to R James Dornaw, Martina Watkins, Amrita Kulkarni, Richard Evans, Katie-Louise Davis and Natalie Dodson

The team from Mind making their way up Snowdon. L to R James Dornaw, Martina Watkins, Amrita Kulkarni, Richard Evans, Katie-Louise Davis and Natalie Dodson

Archant

For young people with mental health issues, the most ordinary task can be overwhelmingly difficult.

The Mind walk team making their way up SnowdonThe Mind walk team making their way up Snowdon

But a group of youngsters from Norfolk achieved the remarkable feat of climbing Mount Snowdon.

The group of seven had all at some point been referred to Norwich Mind, and were led on the three-day trip by Richard Evans, 46, who works for the mental health charity.

He said: “The thing that impressed me most was not that everybody got up Snowdown, but how supportive the group was to each other, and that’s what we were trying to set up.”

Among the group was 19-year-old Abbie Kampta from Norwich, who said she never thought she’d be able to take on such a big challenge.

She said: “I wanted to go to Wales and climb Snowdon so that I could do something that not everyone my age has the opportunity to do or could say they have done.

“For me it was something I’d have the chance to achieve unlike anything I’d ever done before.

“My mental health has limited many aspects of my life and being a carer has meant that I haven’t lived as much as I would have liked.

“I never anticipated that I could climb a mountain, it was just something I felt ill equipped to do – but I desperately wanted to try.

“Without Mind and the support of individual workers supplied by Mind I would never have been able to come home to my mum and family and tell them that I made it to the top.”

The group were joined by four members of staff, who hope that this could be the start of a regular series of trips for young people.

Richard, who also has his own history of mental health problems, said: “I would hope that agencies which referred people to come along with us would support our follow-up initiatives.

“The next step is to raise interest and more funds for making this type of trip for these types of young people on a regular basis.

“It’s about young people getting involved in anything that takes them outside their comfort zone, but in an environment where they feel safe to have a go at things.”

For one group member though, the trip was more about getting back into his comfort zone than out of it.

James Dornaw, 20, used to do lots of climbing when he lived in New Zealand.

Now living in Norwich, climbing is something he had to put on the back burner.

He said: “I was in hospital for about a year with psychosis, and then spent a year in Omnia (a residential rehabilitation programme).

“After that, you can’t just come out and go on with life.”

Having made a full recovery and now working in software development, James said the trip was very fulfilling.

He said: “It wasn’t just going up the mountain that made the experience, it was going up with a group of people. Although going up Snowdon was pretty amazing!”

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