Mind North Staffs have recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant and as a mental health charity they understand the struggles that Armed Forces personnel can have with their own mental health. One strong supporter of the charity is Mike Copeland, an Army Veteran, who had his own mental health struggles. Mike raised over £14,000 for the charity in 2023 and hopes to raise more by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with a fridge on his back, in March 2024.


Who is Mike Copeland? – AKA The Fridge Man
Mike is a 39 year old veteran of the Queen’s company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. Having joined the service at the age of 16 he served various roles during his tours of Bosnia and Iraq,
eventually became a physical training instructor, which is where his physical fitness journey began.

After 8 years he left the service which saw the beginning of another journey, that of struggling with his own mental health. Having joined the Army so young, it was all he knew. Like so many people leaving military service, once back in civilian life, he realised just how crucial the structure, routine and discipline was in his life. Not knowing how to replace that sudden loss, he soon spiraled into depression and began drinking heavily. At the advice of a friend, he decided to build on his military experience and embarked on an amateur competitive bodybuilding career. This reinstated the structure, routine and discipline that had become so crucial to his mental wellbeing. Over the following 10 years Mike achieved numerous national bodybuilding titles.

Then Covid hit! … All shows were canceled and gyms were closed! It didn’t take long for his mental health to begin plummeting back to where it was when he left the army. Knowing that physical fitness was the key to his mental fitness, he decided to start his ambitious money raising exploits for mental health charities. His motivation was to help others who are struggling with their own mental health, whilst ensuring his own.

Mike has served with several lads who have sadly taken their own lives. Male suicide rates are almost 3 times higher than that of women because women are more willing to talk about it.

Mike is determined to do whatever he can to highlight the problem and to help others to realise that‘It’s not weak to speak’.

Poster surrounding the fundraising challenge.


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Published 19/12/2023