“I suffered with my mental health for years. I was always told I had depression and anxiety, but I felt it was something more than that. Last September my mental health got worse, to the point where I attempted an overdose. This finally prompted the mental health services to take me seriously and I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.”Chloe
27 October 2021
King's student champions mental health with Spinnaker Tower abseil
Midwifery student Chloe Burton faced her fears and abseiled down the iconic Portsmouth landmark, raising money and awareness for mental health charity Mind.
Trigger warning: This article contains a reference to attempted suicide.
Self-proclaimed daredevil Chloe Burton does not shy away from a challenge. However, staring down the 100-metre drop from Spinnaker Tower last month, she caught herself wondering, “What am I doing?”
Chloe’s abseiling adventure raised an impressive £300 for Mind, a mental health charity whose support and online resources she found invaluable following her own experience with mental health problems.
Upon receiving the diagnosis, Chloe felt she needed further support and started looking online. On Mind’s website she found a detailed explanation of her diagnosis, as well as useful skills to help her manage life with the disorder.
Having found so much support from these resources, she decided to do ‘something big’ to raise money for the charity. Being an adventurous person and a Portsmouth local, she soon settled on an abseil down the Spinnaker Tower.
Making it down the Tower was an adrenaline-filled experience, and she admits to being nervous at the top – especially being the first person in the group to make the descent.
“As they guided me to the edge of the tower and I put my feet on the side of the building, I just thought: what am I doing? I tried looking for my family and friends who were waiting for me on the ground below, but I couldn’t make them out – people were as small as ants from up there!”
Fifteen minutes later, Chloe had made it down the Tower. Her hands were sore from the tight grip she’d had on the wire, but she felt a huge sense of accomplishment for making it down safely and having raised £300 for a charity close to her heart.
However, her goal was not only to raise money. Before the abseil, Chloe shared her story openly on Facebook and her GoFundMe page, hoping it would encourage people to have honest conversations about mental health.
"After I shared my story I got so many supportive messages, it was overwhelming. I was amazed looking through the list of people who donated, some of whom I don’t even know that well. I’m hoping my story will have helped at least one person who is struggling with their mental health.”Chloe
Chloe is currently in the second year of her midwifery degree at King’s, which she is thoroughly enjoying. Although the hours can be long, she admits her favourite part of the course is being out on placement. This term she has been working at St Thomas’ Hospital, where she recently helped to deliver her seventh baby.
“Being on placement is really exciting. It can be hectic and fast-paced, but you learn so much and it’s hugely rewarding. I can’t wait to become fully qualified!”
Despite being busy with her degree, Chloe insists it will not be long before her next charity challenge.
“I want to raise even more money for Mind. Now that I’ve done the abseil I’m setting my sights even higher, so a skydive is next on my list. For anyone thinking of taking on a challenge for charity, my advice would be to just go for it. It’s an amazingly rewarding experience!”