GY10K: Discovering A Platform To Talk

Exercise is often cited as a positive activity for improving mental health and one man’s mission to create a supportive community for anyone in need is now being continued in his memory.

Grimsby-based A Platform To Talk is a local community Facebook group to provide a platform for people to talk, seek help and gain advice for mental health issues.

It was set up by much-loved New Waltham dad Phil Merrison, who died in 2020 after a long battle with mental health. A Platform To Talk was taken over by his friends, and continues to encourage people to embrace positivity in his memory.

It is one of seven good causes being supported by this year’s Ørsted Great Grimsby 10k, of which we are proud sponsors. We are also hosting the St Hugh’s Hospital Family Fun Run this year, too, and this article is the third in a series of articles putting the spotlight on the charity beneficiaries.

Phil was a popular sportsman and in his role as mental health activist, always promoted the benefits of exercise and spoke openly and candidly about his own experiences.

“Roll the clock back to 2015 and it looked like I had the perfect life,” he wrote on the Platform To Talk website. “I was battling anxiety which was crippling me on the inside and seriously affecting my life. I was pretty good at masking the symptoms, most of the time.”

In 2017 he decided to try triathlons; within 18 months he’d travelled to Spain, America, and Italy, where he completed a full Ironman triathlon – an impressive 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile ride and a 26.2-mile marathon.

He said his proudest achievement was setting up A Platform To Talk, a place to share his own journey, raise awareness, and to empower individuals and organisations to manage mental health within the workplace.

He never stopped talking about and raising the profile of mental health, and raising money for associated charities, until he died, aged 51.

Now his friends are continuing the project in his memory – find out more at aplatformtotalk.co.uk and join the Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/aplatformtotalk

The Facebook page reads: “It is unbelievably sad that he lost his own fight on his way to finding peace. He struggled terribly with his mental health but loved life. He seized every moment of happiness and he brought laughter into many people’s lives.

“With this in mind we have continued to raise money for mental health charities, to highlight the need to keep talking, and to remember Phil.

“Please use our facebook group as a platform to talk… in loving memory of Phil Merrison, father, son, partner, friend, triathlete, runner and all-round a fantastic human being.”

This is one of seven good causes being supported by the Ørsted Great Grimsby 10k event this year. Whether you are an avid runner or have recently taken up the sport, or want to have a fun day out with family and friends, don’t delay and sign up today.

Enter the St Hugh’s Hospital Family Fun Run here: tape2tape.co.uk/events/st-hughs-hospital-great-grimsby-family-fun-run-2022

And enter the Great Grimsby 10k road race here:  tape2tape.co.uk/events/great-grimsby-10k-3

There is a virtual option if you’re not quite ready to return to a live event, to run in your own time and wherever you feel safe.

Watch this space for more spotlights on the worthy causes set to benefit! A £1 donation is made from every race entry into a fund shared between each of them. Any local business who would like to support the event in some way can get in touch with the organisers at nicola@tape2tape.co.uk