AGM 2018: Founder’s Message

From Alan Wilson

My story is a long one, one that I will spare you all today, it is safe to say that I have suffered in many ways. I bounced around the mental health system and moved no further forward, I was rejected by those paid to help me, I felt hopeless and dejected. My recovery was slow but with the love and support of my family and through study I was able to function again. Little did I know that this rejection, support and knowledge was the catalyst that became Moving Forward.

I sat wondering what could have been without this support and knowledge, what if I had not had my family, my wonderful supportive partner and beautiful children, what if I had not had the support of my brother in law who helped with study, then it hit me, some people do not have that. I decided to attend support groups in my area to share my knowledge but quickly became frustrated at the lack of action in these groups and the lack of men who attended. This frustration and anger motivated me to start Moving Forward.

I set about designing a group around 3 key values, Responsibility, knowledge and support with the help of my friend Richard Greenwood. I found sponsorship from Mind and set up self employed. Moving Forward took off evolving into something bigger than I could have ever imagined, a community.

I could feel my ego growing, I was making good money and received a lot of acclaim. I decided Moving Forward needed protecting from myself and from larger institutions, after all money and power corrupts. This along with other factors motivated me to put together a committee and turn Moving Forward into a club/charity becoming the organisation you see today. I also had to make the painful decision to remove myself from facilitation in order to allow future facilitators their chance and look what a fine job they have done.

Mark, Paul, Simon, Richard and others have carried us forward to a new world, it is no longer JUST the Alan show, my dream to walk into a room where no Moving Forward member knows who I am is quickly becoming a reality.

That is part of the story that brings us all together today, we need help and we need to give opportunity to more people. The cold hard truth is that suicide rates are rising all the time, this is an epidemic that is constantly ignored, because of this I request a call to arms, lets gather soldiers and go to war, this is a battle cry brothers and sisters its time to go to war. Any contribution in this battle is massive, contribution is important for personal growth and protection against industry, consider what you can offer, fight for yourself and fight for others. If the world of mental health is to change then it is us who will do it, one person, one town, one country at a time. Help us establish a legacy so that people do not have to suffer as we have, so that we are remembered.

I know the barriers we face, writing this as I am sure those writing personal statements have found has been hard enough. It is hard because it is true, you are good enough, perfection is not required, it does not exist. Face the fear, this conflict helps us grow, breakthrough the wall of self doubt and cross the river of shame, we are the brave, we are the few. Yes it will be hard but is anything in life worth achieving easy?

Purpose is the closest I have come to a cure, I challenge you to consider what yours is, stress can trigger but having no purpose kills. Ask yourself not what Moving Forward can do for you but what you can do for Moving Forward. In the words of Mark Twain “The two most important days in life are the day you were born and the day you find out why” is today that day.

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