March 09, 2021 3 min read
A fateful morning run in October 2017 changed UK expat Daniel Griffiths’ life, starting him down a path that would lead him to become a Changemaker.
Originally in Toronto on a student exchange, the plan was never to stay long term. In fact, when a fellow Englishman told him “You’ll never leave,” Daniel didn’t believe him.
Years later, here he is married with two kids in Toronto.
Fitness was always a big priority for Daniel, and after forays into boxing, rugby, and cycling, he settled on competitive running. Over time, his focus has expanded from race training and results to a broader, more holistic approach that’s more about mental and emotional health than it is about placing and physical results.
Even before that fateful day, a growing appreciation for the mental aspects and benefits of endurance sport might have been a clue as to where Daniel’s charitable efforts would become focused.
On that morning trail run back in October of 2017, he encountered a young woman lying on the ground. She wasn’t breathing or responsive, so he called 911. A dispatcher talked him through applying CPR until Emergency services arrived.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. After learning that it was suicide, Daniel better understood why EMS, Police, and Fire Services had all shown up to the call. She had jumped from the bridge above the trail.
Such a harrowing experience got him thinking,“What does it take for someone to take their life? How bad must things be? What do people lack - in terms of support, or access to support - particularly someone that young, to stand on the top of a bridge and jump?”
Daniel himself had faced depression and mental health struggles in his 20’s, with no knowledge that any type of support was out there, or that he should even have been looking for it.
Enter jack.org, Canada's only charity training and empowering young people to revolutionize mental health in every province and territory. Through its initiatives, it’s guiding young leaders to identify and dismantle barriers to positive mental health in their communities and provide mental health resources they need to educate themselves.
And not a minute too soon. Suicide is the leading (health-related) cause of death for young people in Canada. 1 in 7 young people report having suicidal thoughts, to say nothing of the ones who don't report.
It felt right for Daniel to get involved. And as his own kids grow up, he understands the vital role parents can play in supporting and helping to guide young people to learn how to have these conversations.
“Every father needs to be conscious of the pressures that can impact their children in life. Right? No one wants to think that their kids are going to go through any kind of ordeal. But you're better off being aware of what can happen, and having a plan, and at least be understanding and have those conversations.
I want my kids to feel like it's something that they can talk about. That it’s no different from when you have the flu, or a sprained ankle… you better get that taken care of. Well, if there's an issue with your mental health, that needs the same kind of care or attention. But it's just going to require more education.
And now there's an opportunity with Endurance Tap to build something over a sustained period of time. We need on-going conversations with different people over time - because these issues are not solved with one event, or one conversation.
The more we can recognize when someone's having a tough time, and have knowledge of the available resources to help, is a great first step.”
And Daniel is ready to talk.
If you'd like to help support Daniel in his efforts, just enter "daniel" in the discount code box at checkout and we will donate 5% of your purchase price to jack.org and mental health support on your behalf.
This is in addition to the 1% of total sales Endurance Tap is committed to donating to 1% for the Planet.