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Craig’s story…

Hey, my name is Craig Mathie. I am an incredibly proud resident of Bournemouth, an absolute events geek, a passionate sportsman. I’m also an advocate for the benefits of sport on mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.

Professionally speaking, I am the Managing Director of the award-winning Bournemouth 7s Festival. It takes place annually over the late May Bank Holiday. I look after a team of seven amazing people who work year-round on the festival.

What are your interests/passions?

I am a Trustee of the Steve Bernard Foundation (SBF), a sporting charity based in Bournemouth. It was set up in memory of my best mate, Stevie B who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2005. The SBF raise money for sporting projects across the South Coast. Concurrently, I sit on the Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Destination Management Board which oversees tourism in the conurbation. I also contribute to the National Outdoor Events Association which represents the events sector. It seeks to achieve best practice across the entire industry.

Personally speaking, I am very lucky to have a wonderful network of family and friends built up through school, adolescence and a career in Bournemouth. I went to school in Bournemouth eventually ending up as head boy at Bournemouth School, leaving in 2005.

How did you come to Dorset Mind?

Speaking openly, over the years, I have had real trouble understanding and accepting my sexuality. I found it hard to adjust to living outside of the ‘normal’ societal framework of a wife and 2.4 children. I first came out in 2010, but then sought to focus my life energy on a career and great social life.

However, after a difficult period around Christmas 2018, I decided to seek professional help. I had 6 months of counselling to help understand my mind and feel comfortable with my sexuality and personal life. This period of talking therapy was undoubtedly the most challenging but also most rewarding experience of my life.

This situation made me realise that no matter how well your life appears to be or how successful you are – everyone has issues and personal challenges. Historically it may have been the custom,  to put a brave face on or ‘man-up.’ But this is, without doubt, the worst way to approach it.

Alongside counselling, I found that sporting activity – riding my bike in particular – was a real source of benefit to my mental health. I remember one day, sat at home almost in tears when I just got my bike out of the shed and popped off for a ride. I’ve never looked back.

It is for this reason, that I am such a huge advocate for the benefits of sporting on emotional and mental wellbeing. I’ll talk about it until I am blue in the face!

If you had one piece of advice you could tell someone about how to improve their mental health, what would it be?

Mental health affects everyone. But I believe that young men struggle significantly with opening up and sharing their troubles. This leads to a significant amount of mental health issues. I believe firmly that by talking about our experiences and being open with the troubles we face; we can make real change in our community.

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