April 21st 2021
Ghurkhas from the Infantry Training Centre (ITC) Catterick have raised over £1400 for the mental health charity, Combat Stress by running, rowing and cycling over 2000km.
Combat Stress is a UK charity for veterans’ mental health, helping former service personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
The soldiers exceeded their fundraising target of £1000 on the day and hoped to start a new open conversation about mental health targeting the Gurkha community and the wider forces to encourage servicemen and women to speak more openly.
Major Rajeshkumar Gurung, Commanding Officer of Gurkha Company Catterick, said: “We have a strong motto, 'It is better to die than to be a coward', so talking openly about the mental health issue could be seen as cowardly.”
He also said that speaking out can also be encouraged. The message he conveyed at the event was, “We are soldiers, we are meant to be tough and we are tough – but what we've got to remember, we're also human and we have feelings.”
The Ghurkha community and the armed forces can be seen to share the culture of not speaking out when situations affect them mentally. It is hoped events such as this can encourage others to seek help when they need it, while acknowledging the tough nature of their duties.
Sergeant Sunil Gurung, 1 Platoon Sergeant of Gurkha Company, said, “Particularly Gurkhas, we try and hide our mental issues but, I think, by organising this and making them aware, maybe in future, people will have that strength to come out and speak about mental illness or about mental struggle.”
During the challenge, members of the platoon took turns swapping between running, rowing and cycling, completing the challenge as a team.
The target distance set for the charity challenge was linked to the Nepalese new year, 2078, which began on 14 April. It took the team under three hours to complete the challenge.
The platoon took the time to complete this challenge in between their regular training schedule.
Their 37-week training course involves, brigade ethos, language training, cultural training, career management and trade selection, and a 26-week Combat Infantryman’s Course.
Video Credit: Forces News
Main Image Credit: Forces News