Graham Stingley died in 2005 after suffering from depression and anxiety for much of his life. Will Stingley, Graham’s brother, started Go4Graham with a simple mission to honor Graham by starting and normalizing conversations about mental health while out on the trail or in the community. Over the last 5 years ‘G4G’ has grown organically into a movement to ‘Shred the Stigma’ surrounding mental health and to promote mental wellness in the outdoor community. G4G offers mental health workshops, group rides, hikes, and other events.
Personally, what has Will learned from working with Go4Graham and getting people to the outdoors?
Go4Graham honors my brother and also helps serve my own mental health journey, mostly my struggles with depression. I observed that so many people were suffering in silence and I wanted to create a positive force where people felt not only comfortable, but encouraged, to talk openly about their mental health. Simply talking about mental health helps improve the mental health of the speaker and the listener. Yet there’s still so much taboo and stigma around mental health not only worldwide but especially in mountain towns and in the outdoor community. There’s not a lot of space for mental vulnerability in the outdoor community that puts a premium on physical toughness and a culture of trying to do the most epic stuff all the time.
What are current projects or activities Go4Graham is doing to promote mental wellness?
We took a lot of our workshops and gatherings online during COVID but we are very excited to reconvene and connect outside. Studies show people feel not only more connected to nature when they are outside, but more connected to other humans. When authentic connection occurs, trust, vulnerability, and healing can happen.
How does Big Agnes’ partnership support Go4Graham’s mission?
We have built a community of mental health advocates who love the outdoors. Having partners like Big Agnes help support that community and further our mission. The folks at Big Agnes are directly involved with our community and show real passion towards progressing our mission.
How can someone get involved?
A few different ways; go to our website go4graham.org and hit the Join The Movement button on the website, share your mental health story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or just reach out on Instagram @go4graham.
We really are a people powered movement. Anyone can be a mental health advocate. Check in with a friend and ask them how their mental health is today. The ensuing conversation will surprise you.