I've had first-hand experience of the disruption that mental health issues can bring in to a domestic environment.
Around age 10, I was obliged to spend some considerable time living with relatives, whilst my father held down a demanding job in the police force and my mother was committed to Crumpsall psychiatric hospital in North Manchester to undergo treatment.
Sadly, I had also to witnessed the deterioration in her health before she was sectioned; a traumatic experience for a bewildered only child.
It's not a subject I talk about very often. My mother's struggles with her mental health, barbiturates and alcohol were blips in an otherwise happy childhood and I feel myself very fortunate to have emerged relatively intact, perhaps with my survival instincts enhanced.
The subject of mental health has been catapulted in to the public domain by the challenges of the last year. There seems hardly a day that the media don't carry some feature on the sufferings of some and the efforts of others to make a positive difference.
One such is my friend Steve Turnock, who many of you will remember as CEO and Deputy Chairman of Practice Plan before they were acquired by Wesleyan back in 2013.
My professional relationship with Steve from the dentistry days has blossomed in recent years as a result of our common interest in cycling. Steve was a huge friend and supporter of our "Five go Forth" ride from Lands End to John O'Groats in 2018.
For the last year, I've enjoyed many a Zwift ride on Zoom with Steve and Sheila Scott, as we formed a trio who would regularly meet on our indoor bikes and breathlessly chew the cud as we beat out those virtual miles around Watopia.
It was last summer that Steve began to share with us his own history of mental health challenges and his growing motivation to do something about those who face similar crises in their lives.
Many months of planning have now culminated in the launch of a new charity - Asto Clinics.
On the new website (and through a series of Linkedin articles), Steve tells his own story and also shares his vision for Asto Clinics.
I'm not rattling a donation bucket here - that will come in time - but I did want to take a few moments this morning to draw your attention to a man I respect who is making a positive difference in the world by channeling his own experiences, time and talent into a force for good.
that you find a few moments in your schedule to take a look around the Asto web site:
and that you follow Steve's Linkedin profile and the articles he is publishing there: