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More Human Spotlight: Rachel, Founder of Mental Health Swims


'You are More Human. We get to have a much more personal experience. We have been able to speak to actual humans. The sign up is so simple to set up and our team, swim hosts and participants are using it with ease.'

Rachel is the Founder of Mental Health Swims, a network of open water swims held each month across the UK. The events are run by a team of 80 volunteers to make safe, welcoming spaces for anyone struggling with their mental health.


Each of the Mental Health Swims volunteers has their own More Human account where they can organise their swim meet, collect donations and manage their RSVP's and since working with More Human have raised nearly an extra £1000 a month to support their work.


Rachel's favourite More Human features:

  • The 'pay what you want' checkout option

  • Delegating to her event hosts

  • Easy to manage RSVP's for event hosts, available on their phones so they can do a roll call at the beach

More Human: So Rachel, what made you start Mental Health Swims?


Rachel:

I live with a complex mental illness. It means I have times when I desperately want to feel connected with people but there are so many barriers before I even leave the house. When things are really bad I find the outside world terrifying. I want to wrap myself in cotton wool because interaction with others can feel physically painful. I can’t always tell what is real and safe, it’s exhausting. I wanted to create a ‘meet up’ for people like myself. Somewhere you could go no matter how you’re feeling whether it’s depressed, anxious, manic, dissociated or any other feeling you might be feeling.


All our swim hosts arrive 5-10 minutes early and hold a giant pink pirate flag. This means no participant is ever expected to wander around asking groups of people if they’re the mental health swims group. We share the hosts stories on our socials and our website so that you feel you know them a little before you even turn up. Each meet has the same structure so you know what will happen each time. Our hosts are trained so they know how to support you best.


More Human:

Had you ever organised or done anything like that before?


Rachel:

I had never organised anything really. In the run up to setting up Mental Health Swims I had been really unwell and had wondered if I was ever going to work again. It’s still quite surprising to me that it’s been so popular.

More Human:

How has the pandemic changed what you offer?


Rachel:

We grew from one swim to over 80 swims across the UK during the global pandemic. I think the effect the pandemic has had on our collective mental health has probably acted as rocket fuel for MHS’s growth.


More Human:

That's pretty incredible! What do you think will be the biggest learning you'll take away from the way the pandemic has affected Mental Health Swims?

Rachel:

We don’t have to be in the same room to work well as a team. Our organisation is run by people with mental health challenges and in some ways I think working from home has given us more freedom. I can work remotely and take naps if I need to. I can talk to hundreds of people in a webinar and then have a panic attack under my desk away from prying eyes. For some of us the last year has given the freedom we needed to find out how capable we really are.


More Human:

We're thrilled you decided to work with us to manage your events across all the Mental Health Swims branches. What made you choose More Human?


Rachel:

The answer is in the question, you are More Human. We get to have a much more personal experience. We have been able to speak to actual humans. The sign up is so simple to set up and our team, swim hosts and participants are using it with ease.


More Human:

If you could do any activity with any person, what would you do and with who?


Rachel:

Is it really sad if I say I want to go swimming with my partner Cory around the coast of Ithaca? She’s amazing. I’m guessing you were looking more for something like having tea with Barack Obama in the Himalayas.


More Human:

No, that's totally adorable, I'll let you off! Finally, any words of wisdom for budding Rachels?


Rachel:

Give it a go, don’t wait until it’s perfect, if no one turns up you can still have a nice time by yourself. Once you have something going build a team - there is no shame in asking for help. Oh and use More Human...they’re a good bunch!



https://www.mentalhealthswims.co.uk/