Get Gaz a Lift - Time To Talk Day

By Gareth Owens Get Gaz A Lift

Today is #timetotalk day, a day that promotes the importance of communication when it comes to mental health.

With over 700 people employed at Bluestone there are a lot of aspects to think of when it comes to employee wellbeing.

Mental Health is something that as a company we are keen to focus on, we offer access to one to one counselling sessions and to mindfulness sessions which are open to all employees.

Guest Services Officer, Gareth Owens has started his own non-profit organisation which helps to raise awareness of mental health charities and the support that is there for the people who need it.

So for #timetotalk day we caught up with him to find out more about the amazing work he is doing in and around Pembrokeshire. 

Hitch Hikers...We’ve all seen them, they show up in the strangest, inconvenient and most peculiar of places, however they all share something in common. They need a lift.

The idea was simple; you don’t have to know somebody to give them a lift, physically and metaphorically speaking this is true through life. It’s the simplest of things that can give someone a lift.

For years I’ve wanted to do something bold and out there for charity. I thought about running a marathon, climbing a mountain or trekking through some kind of far off land. After drinking far too many beers to do anything quite as adventurous as that, I had an idea that might just work.

After spending a few years living in New Zealand in my late teens and into my early twenties, I’d spent my fair share of time trying to budget and save money to go on adventurous trips and with it being such a tourist friendly country, hitch hikers were a common site and it was so easy to do.

The idea to hitch-hike was slowly becoming a reality, and the idea of not having to know somebody to give them a lift tied in with why I wanted to do something so “out there.”

Get Gaz A Lift
The suicide rates amongst young people under the age of 35 are staggering, more so in young men. With studies suggesting that close to 1 in 3 young Brits are likely to suffer from a form of depression before the age of 35; astonishing and unbelievable numbers.

I saw an article online which revealed that 12 teenagers a day call help lines in Wales alone to express they were feeling suicidal or struggling with life and its demands, and it was there and then that I was sold on the idea that I needed to do this.

I wanted to get people talking, because despite all the money thrown at government schemes, getting people to talk is the biggest hurdle.

When you have an idea like this, it’s vital as to who you tell first of your plan. You’ll either have your idea shot down into pieces, or you’ll be encouraged and determined to make it work. I chose one of my closest friends of recent years, and thankfully I chose wisely, and before I knew it, I had numerous social media pages up and running and a following began to grow.

Over a 5 day period, an average time of 12 hours out on the roadside each day, and close to 700 miles covered thumbing my way clockwise around Wales, I’d managed to not only solely travel around this beautiful country, but also managed to spark one big conversation amongst people about mental health.

From the near 32,000 people using the hash tag on Facebook, to the people who picked me up and felt comfortable sharing their own experience with depression and mental health in young people, we’d got people talking, which was inevitably the aim of the game here.

With a huge amount raised for Papyrus, a charity who specialise in youth suicide prevention, I had the idea to start something similar myself. I am now heading up my very own non-profitable organisation, named Get Gaz A Lift which plans to continue raising funds through clothing, and social events, and in conclusion donating any profit to smaller, local charities which specialise in mental health. Mainly to have more control of where the money goes, but to also invest in back into my home, Pembrokeshire and do more for young people here, hopefully giving them a voice, and helping to break the stigma down.

Get Gaz A Lift
Moving forward, we’ve got more events planned, more items of clothing up for sale, and are in the process of building our own website to help spread our message even further.

To keep up to date with all our happenings and goings on, be sure to follow on Facebook by following facebook.com/getgazalift. You can also find us on Instagram by searching @getgazalift.

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