VALE residents are being invited to get messy to help raise awareness of mental health issues as part of challenge being led by a tireless Evesham campaigner.
Tom Mills hopes his #messy4mind challenge will emulate the success of the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 which saw people across the globe soak themselves with ice cold water in videos to raise awareness of motor neurone disease.
His version of the challenge tasks kind-hearted participants to ‘get messy’, for example being gunged or getting pied in the face and nominate friends to do the same.
Since he launched the idea he has have had about over 20,000 views and over 300 shares on Facebook and won the support of X Factor contestant Sohelia Clifford as well as the leading mental heath charity Mind.
“I saw how popular the ice bucket challenge was so I thought why not do something different but to raise awareness for mental health,” he told the Observer.
“The idea behind the challenge is by getting messy we can see that the stigma exists as some people call mental health the invisible illness so by getting messy we can see that the stigma is there and its great way to show some awareness.
“I know quite a few people who suffer with depression and anxiety so its a great way show awareness by supporting others with mental health issues.”
The former St Benedicts High School pupil in Alcester pupil now works for Primafruit in Evesham and said he has been overwhelmed by the feedback since the launch.
“We have had so many people get involved and we will have more soon when it gets a bit warmer.
“People who have done challenge so far have told me how much fun they have had with it which is great to hear and that’s whole point of the challenge to raise awareness and have a bit of fun and its a challenge everyone can get involved as well.
“In my challenge I used gunge and cream pies – paper plates and squirty cream – people can use what ever they want for this challenge doesn’t have to be gunge which you can buy online.
“I have been trying to get in contact with more celebrities but it has not been easy but hopefully we will have more people getting involved.
“We have raised nearly £300 for Mind so far and hope to raise more in the coming months, I am also taking part in eight obstacle course runs for the charity so it’s a very busy year for me.
“I love doing it, I love to help people in fun ways and would love to see more people such as families, friends and work colleges getting involved with #messy4mind this year as well as no one should suffer in silence.”
Visit www.facebook.com/Tommillzy/videos/10158733271755431 to view Tom’s video.
Anyone who completes their challenge can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/messyformind to donate.