Whilst many of us were trying to stay cool recently, a determined group of fundraisers set off to reach the summit of Ben Nevis, led by Louisa Cox.

Louisa is a previous inpatient at the Warneford Hospital in Oxford, having experienced a steep rapid decline in mental health in 2020. We’re pleased Louisa is feeling much better and as she tells us is “back living a happy life, working and socialising again” and she wants to now help other inpatients on mental health wards.

Along with six friends and family, Louisa conquered Ben Nevis, and as she explained this would be an experience the group will never forget.

"As we walked and talked it became clear that every single one of us has been affected by mental health, either directly or through family members. There’s lots of things you say when you walk up a mountain. “One foot in front of the other’, ‘don’t think about the height of the mountain, just keep your eyes down and focus on the steps’, ‘little by little’, ‘we’ve all got this’ etc.                                                                                                                                                                     

All of these things are true of walking up a mountain but also metaphors for recovery from an illness that once stopped me from even going outside. Walking a mountain is so significant in its journey from beginning to end and once you stand at the top it’s breathtaking. The sheer height and scale of everything is awe inspiring. It takes your breath away and there is such peace all around. Honestly I’d recommend everyone walks up a mountain at least once in their life.

I couldn’t have done any of this though without the support and love from the people I walked with. Rachel Ray (my sister), Warwick Morris, Stanley Johnston, Andy Pike and Maria and Clive Robertson.

Together we were stronger and the wonderful thing is that we all talked openly about our mental health with no judgements. Only compassion. As a subject that’s often surrounded by stigma this was one of the best bits about the walk. Bonds were made and many funny stories of the weekend that will stay with us forever. It has been a wonderful journey and I am so grateful.” 

Michelle Evans, Development Manager at Oxford Health Charity added,

Louisa’s bravery and determination is inspiring. Having conquered her own mental health mountain to now focus on helping others is wonderful. Louisa and the team have worked hard training and raising awareness of their challenge and our charity. We are pleased to now be working with Louisa and the clinical teams on how the group’s fundraising can support different therapeutic activities (such as meditation classes or movement activities) at the Warneford.  

The group have raised over £2,800 so far. If you wish to lend your support you can do so here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Louisa-Cox2