Professor raises money for research into mood disorders

Posted: 17/03/22

A North East professor is taking on a cycling challenge to raise money for research into mood disorders.

Despite having never been on a road bike until 2019, Hamish McAllister-Williams, a consultant psychiatrist at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) and Professor of Mood Disorders at Newcastle University, will be cycling the Ventoux3 challenge, hoping to conquer all three climbs up Mont Ventoux in France in one day.

The gruelling ride, taking place in June, is to raise money and awareness for Out of the Blues, a charity which supports research into mood disorders.

To qualify to be part of a club of people who’ve tackled the mountains, Hamish must ride up the three roads of the mountain over a 24-hour period. The ride is a total of 137km and 4,400m of climbing, that’s three times the height of Ben Nevis.

Hamish admits he hadn’t cycled for decades but a running injury prompted him to swap his trainers for cycling shoes. He was inspired to do the challenge after seeing others take part whilst on a summer holiday in Provence.

He feels both excited and nervous for the ride. “I’ve been training hard with the help of a coach and feel as prepared as I can be,” Hamish said.

“I’ve run over 20 marathons but this is way harder. It’s a completely different ball game.”

As academic lead for the Northern Centre of Mood Disorders, the cause is something close to Hamish’s heart.

Out of the Blues supports cutting edge research into mood disorders with the goal of increasing understanding of, and improving treatment for, these conditions. The charity aims to enhance research by researchers based in the North of England.

Mood disorders can include severe depression and bipolar. “Depression is the leading case of disability in the developing world. It impacts on every element of a person’s life,” Hamish explained.

“There is an international shortage of research in mental health generally and the UK has a major recruitment problem for academics working in mental health.

“Raising money for Out of the Blues will enable us to support researchers and allow them to get bigger grants so we can help better understand these devastating conditions.”

Some of Hamish’s colleagues will be joining him for parts of the journey and his family will be driving alongside him for support. He says he’s looking forward to a glass of Mont Ventoux wine at the finish.

Read Hamish’s journey here:

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