THE founder of a Chester-based fitness firm is preparing to take on a gruelling challenge to highlight male suicide awareness.

Craig Brown, founder and CEO of the Rage Fitness Company in Blacon, will take on a challenge called Mission 84 later this year, ultimately cycling a total of 3,570km over 84 days.

The reason why 84 is a significant number is, Craig highlighted, because sadly on average, 84 men in the UK take their own lives every week.

Explaining the background to his challenge in a blog post on the Rage Fitness Company website, Craig said: "In the UK, suicide is the highest cause of death among men under the age of 45. In fact, the highest recorded suicide rate in the UK belongs to men who fall in the 40-44 age bracket.

"In addition to this, there are also disparities between gender and suicide: male suicide rates are higher than females, and there is much evidence to suggest that a key reason for this is down to the way that men generally communicate their mental health needs.

"It will come as no great surprise that they are less likely to ask for help or openly express depressive or suicidal feelings.

"Here at Rage Fitness, I believe it is our duty to shine a spotlight on all mental and emotional health issues; this way, we can reach out and help individuals directly or indirectly."

Craig will be taking on the Mission 84 in a cycling challenge that will run from October until Christmas Day, getting progressively more challenging each day. The first day will be a 1km cycle, then a 2km cycle on day two, 3km on day three an so on, all the way to 84km on day 84.

Craig added: "I hope this shines a light on a real issue in modern society and want to support all men, of all backgrounds.

"I hope this unites the men of Blacon, Chester, Cheshire and who knows, perhaps even the UK!

"I also hope this inspires us to look out for one another. To have the confidence and courage to speak to our wives/girlfriends/husbands/parents/friends/counsellors and say at the time it is needed most, ‘I need help.’"

Craig is aiming to spread as much awareness of the campaign as he can and is urging people to share posts, videos and pictures relating to Mission 84 and the wider issue of male suicide awareness in the hope it can help people in need.

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