Mental Health Awareness Gets a Boost as Cousins Hike in Memory of Their Dads
Two Scottish teenagers have taken to the hills to promote men’s mental health in the name of their late fathers.
Katie Cochrane and Caeley McClenaghan both lost their dads to suicide.
Now, the 18-year-olds are on a mission, determined to see more talk and more action in the hope that solidarity, momentum and testimony will help dads, and help reduce the high number of men taking their own lives.
McClenaghan told Glasgow Live that her father’s passing left a ‘void in his family’s heart which can never be filled.’
Her dad, 40-year-old Chris Kidd, unexpectedly took his own life, which McClenaghan said was driven by mental health problems.
“We were in shock,” she said. “He’s someone you’d never expect it from, and that’s probably why it came so much as a shock.”
The 18-year-old men’s health advocate then added,
“Once that switch flicks for someone, that’s it, there is no going back, and this is why we need to try and stop that switch flicking. He was the best dad and would do anything for anybody. He was always happy, the life and soul of every party.”
Katie’s story is similar.
Her dad, Thomas Cochrane, a father of three, died in 2019.
Describing her father as one of ‘the funniest and happiest people you could meet,’ Cochrane said in her dad’s struggle with mental health, he ‘felt like he had no other option.’
“There should be a lot more awareness amongst men, there’s nowhere near enough. Mental health is common for girls, but it’s easier for us to talk to each other, rather than boys, who may feel like they can’t get upset.”
In the GoFundMe page created on January 4, 2023, the young women expressed fondness for their dads, testifying to their loss as,
“Affecting everyone massively. They were the most loving and caring people that will never be forgotten by anyone.”
“Mental health is the biggest killer in men and is becoming more common, and more people are being affected by this illness and the passing of others due to mental health,” the cousins added.
This is why, the duo declared,
“We’ve both decided to come together and start fundraising to raise as much awareness as we can. We are starting off by climbing Conic Hill and then will work our way up.”
Conic Hill, part of the Loch Lomond National Park in Scotland, has an elevation of 361m (1,175ft) and takes about 2-3 hours to walk.
According to Glasgow Live, the next target is the 2-4hr walk up Ben A’an.
The page, started by Katie Cochrane, has raised £1,770 of its £2,000-pound goal, with over 93 donors committing funds to their cause.
CHRIS’ House is an acronym: ‘Centre of Help, Response and Intervention Surrounding Suicide.’
A Scottish men’s health crisis centre, established by Anne Rowan in response to her son Chris’ suicide in 2011, the house runs 24 hours a day with the support of donations, and volunteers affected by suicide.
The centre aims ‘to help bring awareness to mental ill health’ under the motto: “Let’s Talk.”
Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.
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