Meet Josh – the morph suit-wearing globetrotter who’s raising awareness of mental health.
It’s not everyday you have a guy in a morph suit zooming about the MadeBrave® studio on a Segway (although, we’d forgive you for thinking otherwise) but this day was an exception. Now, you might be wondering who this mysterious morph man is, so it’s probably a good idea to start at the beginning: In May of this year, Josh Quigley woke up in a hospital bed with a second chance and new lease of life. Just a few hours before, he had intentionally crashed his car at 80mph as an attempt to take his own life, following a battle with depression. A few weeks ago (just a day after he met our Andrew at the Business in Parliament Conference) he told his story in a video and posted it on social media (pretty brave, huh?) The video also introduced The Tartan Explorer – Josh’s new mission to raise awareness of mental illness by travelling across the world. As big fans of all things brave (it’s in our name after all) we’re delighted to say that we’re behind Josh all the way and will be supporting him throughout his journey. So, in between changing into morph suits and pulling together a king’s chair, we grabbed 5 minutes with Josh to talk adventure, aspirations and making a difference…
So, for those who haven’t seen the video – tell us about The Tartan Explorer.
After the crash, I woke up in hospital and got a massive fright. You’d never think that someone could survive a crash like that, so it was a shock to wake up with no physical injuries at all, which is so unheard of. I knew there and then that I was given a second chance to do something. At the time, I was running my own social media business called SharkDog (Editor’s note: Josh also won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards) and it was going really well, but things changed – I knew it wasn’t my purpose anymore. So I did a bit of soul searching over the summer and came up with the idea of travelling to 80 countries in a morph suit (although, it was originally going to be a kilt) and doing 5 challenges in each country.
Good move, a kilt would probably get a bit itchy after a while! Tell us more about your challenges.
Okay, so they’re called the A.W.A.R.E challenges and each letter stands for something:
- A: Accept or undertake an adrenaline challenge or extreme sport (eg: skydiving, bungee-jumping)
- W: Working or volunteering for a mental health charity
- A: Appearing on local tv or radio speaking about mental health and about what we want to achieve.
- R: Reliving or retelling my story on stage at some sort of event or conference.
- E: Exercise or perform a physical challenge at the country’s most iconic landmark in the morph suit.
I want to do things that get people talking; taking on the scariest challenges, the scariest sky dive, swimming with sharks – anything to spread the message.
You’re a braver man than us, Josh! So, what are you hoping to take away from your trip?
I’m going away in May, and the reason why is because I’m spending the first 6 months in Scotland, volunteering and working with as many mental health charities as possible and trying to speak with nurses and anyone who’s involved with mental health to soak up all the knowledge and find out what we’re doing well and what we could improve on. During my trip, I’ll be learning more about what countries with good records of mental health and low suicide rates do and how we can bring that back to Scotland. For those countries that don’t have a good record of mental health, I want to raise awareness and share my story. When I come back from my trip, I want to use all the knowledge that I’ve collected from all over the world to work with government and charities to help cement new policies. So, there’s two elements to the trip.
What has the support been like since you put your story out there?
The support has been amazing and it really says something about the “stigma” attached to mental health. It’s such a big thing, everyone’s affected by it, but no one talks about it. Ever since I made my story public, 99% of people I know have been completely supportive. People think there’s a huge stigma around mental health, but see really, when you start talking about it, everyone wants to help you. So we all do care, we all really want to help people, but you can’t help someone if you don’t know what they’re going through, so I’m just trying to get people to talk about it.
What message do you want to give to people who are the same point that you were earlier this year?
Open up and talk. Ask for help because help is there. I understand it’s hard, I’ve been there and I’ve come out of it – you just need to open up and talk.