Mental health: A solo trip around Britain to get people talking

image caption, Freya Terry has spent the past few months working on her boat to prepare her for the challenge

  • author, Kate Morgan
  • stock, Community Correspondent, BBC Wales

„Sailing has given me a personality outside of my mental struggles,” believes Freya Terry.

The 21-year-old from Pembrokeshire is set to sail 2,300 nautical miles solo around Britain and Ireland.

If she completes the challenge, she will become the youngest and first woman to sail solo across England and Ireland.

But for the sailor, it’s more than just a race, it’s the culmination of a decade-long journey with his mental health.

image caption, Freya Terry started sailing at the age of 11 and is now a qualified sailing instructor.

The yacht instructor’s journey with mental health began at the age of 11, when he started sailing for the first time.

„It was a lot of little things, and then I struggled with transitioning to high school and making friendships,” she said.

„I started isolating myself a lot, and that’s where my struggles started, and it just got worse from there.”

The sailor described himself as isolated and withdrawn, unwilling to talk to family, friends or health professionals.

She added: „I’ve lost a lot of trust in people and I don’t talk to people, so I’ll sit in a therapist’s office and I won’t talk to them.”

image caption, The 21-year-old said she was too nervous to open up about her mental health

„It showed me that I’m not alone in this, that this is a real thing, that other people are struggling, and that it’s not my fault that this is happening, and that was huge for me,” she said.

image caption, Freya’s mum Julie Campbell said she hoped the trip would change her mind.

His new confidence has surprised those closest to him, including mum Julie Campbell, who described him as „absolutely amazed”.

The mother of four said she could never have imagined her daughter facing such a challenge.

“When you’re kind of in it… you go through it day by day, week by week. Like every day, week, and month we’ve been through,” he added.

The 60-year-old smiled nervously, proudly hoping she wouldn’t do it.

„I mean as a sailor I have faith in her, but as a mother, I’m very scared,” she added.

image caption, The sailor often stops on his journey to meet people and pick up supplies

For Freya, being out on the waves is the exciting part, and it’s the part that makes her so scared to share the rest of her journey.

„The thing I’m most afraid of or most nervous about is talking to people and talking about mental health because it’s so hard and I think I’m right, but I do it anyway,” she added.

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