Comment: Tartan Explorer’s message is simple but powerful

Josh Quigley completes his 1500-mile cycle challenge at Edinburgh Castle. Picture: Toby Williams

Josh Quigley completes his 1500-mile cycle challenge at Edinburgh Castle. Picture: Toby Williams

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IT’S a mission which blows The Proclaimers’ 500 miles out of the water.

Josh Quigley has set himself the incredible challenge of cycling around the world on a journey that could see him eventually clock up 50,000 miles on the road. Visiting more than 80 countries on six continents, he has one goal – to get people talking about mental health.

It’s a subject that Josh, an award-winning young entrepreneur, knows far more about than anyone would want to.

With the world apparently at his feet last year, this remarkable 23-year-old found himself feeling that he had nothing to live for. In the throes of depression, he tried to take his own life.

Surviving that suicide attempt has left Josh with more focus than many of us find in a lifetime.

His message is a simple one but also tremendously powerful. People are far more willing to talk about mental health problems these days than in generations gone by, but the subject is still taboo in many respects.

It is something that many of us might feel able to talk to family and close friends about, although even that is not easy. But how many of us would, for example, feel comfortable about going into work and telling our colleagues that we suffered from depression?

There is a fear for anyone with mental health problems that in opening up about their illness they will be judged because of it. This is particularly true in the workplace where many people feel as though they are admitting to a weakness and will be thought somehow not up to the job.

Talking openly about mental health problems is the best way of smashing these remaining taboos.

Josh is ideally placed to lead that conversation. His achievements in the business world, and his dramatic personal story of near tragedy followed by great success, mean everyone will listen.

He cannot change the world on his own though, we all need to rise to the challenge, too.