Stuart Ringer in The Barbers, Maldon.
Stuart Ringer talks with Movember in 'The Barbers' Maldon.Image by: Movember
Stuart Ringer in The Barbers, Maldon.
6 March 2023

Stuart's story: Motorcycling 14,000 miles to put mental health on the map

3 minutes read time

“For the past 9 years, Gosia fought a battle against a disease that society does little to recognise, let alone tackle. If what she suffered from was a physical sickness, there would be a public outcry as to why so little is done to help those who suffer. Depression, anxiety, addiction; it’s all just brushed aside. We have no publicly funded addiction service in this country, yet we spend millions dealing with its effects. Everything is outsourced to charities and friends and families of those that suffer. We are failing the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Those are the exact words that I read at the funeral of my friend, Gosia Nowak, who sadly lost her battle with mental health and addiction just three days before her 42nd birthday on 27th June 2019.

Growing up, Gosia experienced significant childhood trauma and the events she faced affected her mentally throughout her entire adult life. Gosia felt embarrassed and ashamed of what had happed to her but instead of asking for help, she self-medicated, with alcohol.

I cared for Gosia through those 9 years, which proved to be a roller coaster. I witnessed just how destructive mental health and addiction are to someone’s body, but also their soul. I also learnt how hard it is to access good care from the health service for these conditions and how heavily the NHS relies on charities to do much of the heavy lifting.

" I also learnt how hard it is to access good care from the health service for these conditions and how heavily the NHS relies on charities to do much of the heavy lifting "

I am a strong person, however I got to the limits of that strength over the past few years and my own mental health started to deteriorate badly as grief took hold of me and shook me around. I am fortunate that I have a great group of friends and family around me, who gave me support and comfort when I needed it. Not everyone is as fortunate.

My passion for motorcycles was and is a great coping mechanism when battling my own mental challenges. I have loved and ridden motorcycles all of my life and have done several previous global rides. Leaving in April 2023, I will be ridding from the UK to Central Asia and back again to raise money and awareness for charities that I believe in, including Movember. Charities that do great work in the space of mental health, and addiction.

I will be riding 14,000 miles solo through some of the most beautiful, but also the most challenging roads in the world. The focus and planning of this trip is what has helped me to stay positive so that not only can I enjoy something that I am passionate about, but also raise funds to help change the lives of the most vulnerable in our society. I do not want to see others suffer, as I witnessed with Gosia.

I think it’s important to remind ourselves, it’s OK not to be OK.

You can follow and support Stuart’s journey on his Mo Space, Instagram, Facebook and website.

If you, or someone you know, is feeling low, don’t hesitate to reach out for support using these local support resources.

To speak with someone immediately, call The Samaritans on 116 123 or message the Shout text line on 85258.

If you’re ever worried that someone’s life is in immediate danger, call 999 or go directly to emergency services.

Starting conversations with men who are struggling may seem daunting. But getting them to open up can be easier with practice. Use our tool Movember Conversations for support.