4 November 2019

Fergus's story

"I do not want any other men to make the same mistake that I did: suffer in silence"
Mental Health | Real Stories | In the Barber Chair

"After almost 2 years suffering in total silence from severe depression, I attempted suicide in May 2016. To make matters worse, it took me a further 7 months to talk to my family about what I had experienced. I am a prime example of how damaging the stigma against male emotion and vulnerability can be, as this stigma prevented me from getting the help that I needed at the time. My fear of letting down people’s expectations, being deemed weak, or a failure, was so overbearing that I never even hinted at how much I was suffering. Before I suffered from depression myself, I did not even believe in its validity as anything other than a convenient excuse, however, when my sleep, my appetite, my cognitive abilities and my physical capabilities were all tangibly affected, it suddenly became overwhelmingly real.
My aim is simple: I do not want any other men to make the same mistake that I did: suffer in silence.
Therefore, I have committed to raising funds and awareness for Movember, who, as the leading global men’s health charity, I believe can really make a difference. Moreover, I keep my moustache year-round for 2 simple reasons 1) that it functions as a conversation starter, which can trigger conversations on mental health and suicide prevention that might not otherwise be had and 2) men are dying by suicide year round, so I will continue to do what I can 365 days a year.

“My aim is simple: I do not want any other men to make the same mistake that I did: suffer in silence."

Last year I attempted to squat 500,000kg in 24 hours to represent the annual male suicide rate worldwide; sadly, I tore my MCL and sprained my patella tendon just over 125,000kg into it, but managed to raise over £22,000 in the process.
This year I am taking on the following:
1/11/2019: 6,890m of lunges, to reflect the 6,890 lives lost to suicide in the UK and ROI in 2018.

17/11/2019: 13 men, 13-hour workout, to reflect the 13 male suicides/day in the UK.

29-30/11/2019: 94 mile run from Ben Lomond to Arthur’s Seat, to reflect the 94 male suicides/week in the UK.
The message that underpins my campaign, as it was last year, is: BE A MAN OF MORE WORDS. The aim is simple, to encourage men to reach out if they are ever struggling, and to engage in more proactive conversations surrounding male mental health.
On 17/11/2019, at WIT Fitness, St Pauls, London, 13 men will take on a 13-hour workout to reflect the 13 male suicides per day in the UK.
The aim is to encourage more men to talk, to listen, and to work together. By taking ourselves into darkness, we hope to show some men the light.

This will be an enormous challenge with seriously intense highs and lows, battling with ourselves physically and mentally, but we will get through it: how? Together.
We feel that this represents a positive example of how men, who are ostensibly strong, resilient and focused, will band together to reaffirm that no man is an island, and demonstrate that being open with your mental health is by no means a weakness.
The 13:

  1. Fergus Crawley (C): ex-international powerlifter, endurance athlete, and ‘team captain’ as such. His why: he suffered from depression in silence for 2 years, and attempted suicide in 2016.
  2. Tom Lowe (VC): personal trainer, ex-military, ex-rugby player. His why: Tom has been involved with Movember for several years due to hereditary susceptibility to prostate cancer, with his father and uncle currently fighting the disease. He would like to raise awareness for prostate cancer, as well as demonstrate how challenging such a situation can be for one’s mental health, commending open conversation as the most valuable tool for getting him through it thus far.
  3. Jamie Crawley: Fergus’s brother, student at Loughborough, semi-professional cricketer. His why: incredibly distressed by his brother’s situation, which brought home to him how important it is to strive for a culture without stigma.
  4. Ryan Libbey: ex-Made in Chelsea star, Transalpine racer, entrepreneur. His why: having struggled with confidence and communication, he found exercise, conversation and self-development to be an effective coping mechanism. More recently, being a public figure, it is important to focus on the additional challenges that this presents in terms of mental health.
  5. Frankie Foster: Ex-Love Island, personal trainer, ex-Rugby League. His why: to shed light on the importance of openness, and the benefits of exercise for our minds. Moreover, being another public figure, he faces the same additional challenges that this brings.
  6. Faisal Abdalla: Mr PMA, bestselling Author, celebrity trainer, father. His why: having lost a close friend to suicide last year, Faisal wants to do everything his can to raise awareness for male mental health. His message is always focused on PMA (positive mental attitude) which also underpins the whole campaign and the message the cause.
  7. Ollie Marchon: Gym owner, father, coach. His why: Ollie has explained how sometimes he feels like he has the world on his shoulders, as he balances business and family life, with self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy becoming unbearable. He credits conversation and a close support network for getting him through it.
  8. Tom Kemp: November Men’s Health cover model, Gym owner, farmer. His why: Tom is especially focused on the suicide rate in farmers in the UK, as it is something very close to home. He wants to champion conversation and openness to make a change to the statistics.
  9. Tom Bliss: Ex-Pro Rugby Player, personal trainer, entrepreneur. His why: he has experienced the death of a close friend, and simply wants to do what he can to encourage conversation and tackle what is ultimately a preventable end.
  10. Gustavo Vaz Tostes: Head coach at WIT, international Crossfit coach. His why: a constant proponent of community, brotherhood and working together, Gus wants to encourage conversation so that as many men as possible can lead a happy life.
  11. Douglas Robson: Hollywood stuntman, Yoga Retreat Teacher. His why: he wants to fight despair with hope, and show that as a society we do love and we do care, we just need open conversations to make a difference.
  12. Dan Tai: Ex-Pro Rugby player, international influencer, personal trainer. His why: his friends and family are exceptionally important to him, and he wants to fight to present himself as someone that can always be relied upon if a man is ever in need of help.
  13. Luke Ebron: Photographer/Videographer, entrepreneur. His why: to encourage conversation through showing that men work better together, and in presenting ourselves as men that care, that help is never far away.
The focus of the day is to ensure that there is #NOMANLEFTBEHIND, and that we can start some conversations between men that might not have otherwise been had. We want to stop men dying too young.