A BOURNEMOUTH charity is helping people get over the January blues by hosting a month of free activities for people to promote mental wellbeing and physical activity.

Dorset Mind are championing their RED January campaign to get people active in a social environment to help combat social isolation and promote mental health.

One such person who has benefitted from RED January in the past, and will participating in it again this year, is Chandy Green, a 24-year-old entrepreneur who diagnosed with a brain tumour at a young age.

As a result of traumatic, extended periods of time in and out of hospital due to numerous surgeries, Chandy developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, a mental health condition which involves obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours.

Over the years, Chandy has developed several tools to manage his wider mental health.

Chandy said: “Growing up, the main thing was that I used to wash my hands a lot. Nowadays, I do still worry about certain things and my mind always takes me to the worst possible scenario.

“I worry about what will happen to people around me if I don’t do certain things. I still text my mum every now and then to ask whether it’s okay if I do certain things.”

“I still have moments where I’m just done and I feel like I can’t do it anymore, but I think everyone has days where they struggle to cope.

“It’s my drive to challenge people’s perceptions of me, and of people with mental health problems in general that keeps me going. If I can just help one person, then I know that it’s all worth it.”

Chandy has used this same drive and motivation to take on physical challenges, so he signed up to run the London marathon, to prove that despite his disabilities, he could still achieve whatever he set his mind to.

Having now completed two London marathons, he has found that staying active has proven to be a great way to manage his mental health and wellbeing.

He added “When I’m pushing myself through a physical challenge, I tell myself that I’ve been through much worse. And so, I reassure myself that I am strong, and I can do it.

“I might still struggle sometimes, and my OCD might still drive me sometimes, but going for a run really helps to clear my mind and all the anxiety that’s built up over the day gets released.”

“Before the marathon I wasn’t very sporty, and I’m still not the fittest person. But even if it’s tipping down with rain I try and drag myself out for a walk, as even just observing what’s going on around me really helps.”

Chandy is taking part in RED January 2020, an annual campaign run by Dorset Mind to get the county active every day in January to counteract the January blues and support better mental health and wellbeing.

Chandy runs talks and workshops around mental health within his own work, as well as on behalf of Dorset Mind as one of their ambassadors. He is in the process of setting up his own podcast and continuing to build on his business ‘I Fight For’ which combines social work and creativity.

Last year, 75% of everyone who took part in RED January said that their wellbeing had improved. RED January is a month-long, free event which anyone can sign up to at any point during the month.

The charity will be supporting participants throughout and helping them to make lasting change for the future to better support their mental and physical health.

At the end of January, Dorset Mind will be hosting a free fitness and wellbeing event at Access Dorset, the Bridge, Littledown, in order to offer taster sessions from local trainers and activities.

The charity would like to help the Dorset community to find an activity that they enjoy, and so help them to make lasting change to their physical and mental wellbeing. There will be free refreshments and activities will run from 12pm-2pm on Friday January 31.