A GROUP of local lads are set to complete a gruelling fitness challenge in order to help raise vital funds for mental health treatments in the community.
Jonny Clail, Kyle Magill, William McFadden and Chris Haggan make up Hitting the Wall and they are preparing to climb seven of the highest peaks in Northern Ireland back to back in the Mourne Mountains on Saturday, June 8.
The team told the Guardian: "Nobody ever sat on their grandmother's knee or spoke to a careers adviser and said, "Me? My career plans are to kill myself before I'm 40" but that's the scary reality for thousands of our friends and family members.
"Suicide is the number one cause of death for males under the age of 40 in the UK and crosses every demographic with a multitude of contributing factors. Our mutual friend's death was just one more to add to the statistics but for us it is one too many.
"What we find frustrating is that many of the issues that snowball to end in suicide are preventable. The help and the right people with the right training are there, they're waiting for people to come forward and ask for help but they are shamefully underfunded.
"Northern Ireland has four times more mental ill health issues than the rest of the UK but has the smallest government funding.
"We're aiming to raise £1,000 for Beyond the Battlefield, a local charity that supports former Emergency Service members and veterans in times of need.
"The likes of the recent announcement that 300 NHS nurses have committed suicide seems unsurmountable to prevent from repeating itself but every penny we raise will go directly to local people, our neighbours and our friends.
"We'd love everyone to donate just a few pounds each, if you knew someone who has committed suicide wouldn't you give the cost of a coffee or a pint just to sit and listen to them clear their head and change their lives?
"It's scary how grand the scale of mental health issues are but the solutions begin by giving £1 and taking one foot step at a time, and another, and another.
"We would like to thank In Stitches With Ard for providing and printing our T-shirts and also Millside Cloughmills for their kind sponsorship."
If anyone would like to donate to this worthy cause please visit the justgivingpage at hittingthewall.
Or to keep up with their progress please visit their facebook page, Hitting the Wall.