Saturday 4 April 2015

100 Hours of Silence

- An interview with Ellie Besant

The 100 Hours Challenge was launched this year, and is a challenge to groups to raise £100 in 100 hours for student mental health. Dozens of Student Minds groups, RAGs and student accommodation halls took part in the challenge, and with lots of creative money-raising ideas coming out of it, Vicky from the national Student Minds team interviewed Ellie from Liverpool Mental Health Society to see how they tackled the challenge. We hope this gives you some ideas for future fundraising efforts!

Vicky: Hi Ellie, a huge thank you for taking on the 100 Hours Challenge to raise £100 in just 100 hours. Could you tell us a little about yourself and what motivated you to take on the 100 Hours Challenge?

I am currently in my second year at the University of Liverpool, having moved from a small rural town. As someone that has experience of mental health issues and those of people around me, I feel that it is really important to create a supportive peer network for helping each other, either as an alternative to or alongside other methods of help. A friend of mine recently founded our University’s ‘Mental Health Society’, which I feel fortunate to work with, and this had made me realise just how many students experience mental health issues and how there’s such a great potential to help each other! I have been motivated by our University’s eagerness to push mental health issues to the forefront, so wanted to help out in any way I could by raising money for the work of Student Minds.

Vicky: So let us in on the secret, what did you do during the 100 hours?

I somehow managed to get through a sponsored silence and keep my mouth shut for the duration of the challenge! It seemed like an idea that would hopefully encourage people to donate and I also knew it would be a challenge.

Ellie smiling, because you can smile silently 

Vicky: That sounds tough, a huge well done! I can’t begin to imagine what that must have been like. How did you find it? Did it show you anything that you weren’t expecting?

The first couple of days were quite “relaxing”, but by the weekend I was finding it really tough! I was surprised by how many day-to-day things were made difficult by not talking (such as getting stuck at the self-service checkout!) and it turns out I’m very bad at miming/ interpretative dance. However, it definitely made me think about people who either physically cannot speak or struggle to express themselves, and how difficult it must be for them (in general, but also when it comes to talking about how they feel) with this huge obstruction in front of them. Everyone was very supportive and my mum in particular turned out to be a very talented lip-reader!

Vicky: And the question we’ve all been waiting to hear… How did you get on, did you manage to reach the £100 target?

Thanks to everyone’s very kind donations, just over £200 was raised. I definitely did the easy part and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for their generosity. 

Vicky: Thanks so much for doing something so challenging to raise money for us!

Thank you for putting on the Challenge and for accepting our donations! Good luck with all of your work!

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