The issue of mental health is dear to me. The likelihood is that you - or someone you know - has been affected by mental health issues, the social and economic burden of which is enormous.
Before my dad, John Grace QC, passed away, he set up the UK's first charity to research the causes of and cures for mental illness. He was inspired by his sister who has suffered from schizophrenia the majority of her adult life and by his lifetime's work as a medical defense barrister. Click here for more info on Mental Health Research UK (MHRUK).
At least 1 in 4 Britons and 1 in 4 people worldwide are said to be affected by mental health issues at some point in their lives. At least a third of all families in the UK include someone who is currently mentally ill and yet the research into the causes of mental health remain woefully under-funded.
Since my dad died I've become a regular practitioner and teacher of yoga and meditation. I'm currently living in Los Angeles where I'm studying for my MA in Yoga Studies with a special interest in Buddhism, Psychology and Peace Studies.
I keep a practice because I'm firm in my belief that the traditional practices of yoga and meditation have profound effects on mental and emotional wellbeing. I currently volunteer my time at Venice Family Clinic, have trained in trauma-specific yoga teaching (both for war veterans and prison populations) and love to bring these beautiful, ancient teachings to beginners and vulnerable communities alike, confident that the maintenance of a robust mental, psychological, physical and emotional life is the key to a successful life. I am also due to teach an undergraduate course (aimed at reducing stress and depression in the undergraduate community) at my university - Loyola Marymount - starting next Spring.
I've launched a Just Giving campaign to dedicate my next year of voluntary teaching to fundraising for MHRUK.
Each year the charity looks to award the John Grace QC Scholarship in support of a PhD student in his or her mental health research. The cost of each scholarship is £100,000 and 9 of them have been awarded to date. The charity is an incredible resource for advancing this crucial aspect of societal health and wellbeing.
Please consider making a donation, whether big or small, to help make a difference to those affected by mental health issues. I would love to continue to promote the vital work that the charity champions and to know that researchers, patients, families and societies alike are supported through our campaigning. All proceeds will go direct to the charity, at least 95% of which go straight to fulfilling the aim of funding research into the causes of mental illness in order to develop better treatments with fewer side-effects.
Thank you so much!