By Rosamond Hutt, Community Newswire
ADVENTURE Everest Dorset, 2006-03-14 16:18:59.0
A Dorset man was today preparing for the first stages of an epic challenge to become the first person to climb Mount Everest while battling severe mental illness.
Stuart Baker-Brown, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 1996, plans to scale the world’s tallest peak in April next year.
The 41-year-old, from Cerne Abbas, is due to begin his preparation for the 8,848m Everest ascent with a five-week expedition to climb Mera Peak, a 6,500m mountain in Nepal, on March 20.
In addition to the physical challenges of climbing in the Himalayas such as altitude sickness and bitter weather, Mr Baker-Brown will also have to cope with the mental strain of paranoid schizophrenia.
Through his Everest expedition Mr Baker-Brown is aiming to send a message of encouragement to the estimated 250,000 Britons diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and to fight the stigma of severe mental illness.
Mr Baker-Brown said: “For too long those who have suffered with schizophrenia and severe mental illness have been unfairly associated with violence and fear.
“I want to help people better understand mental illness, show them we are human beings who need to be treated normally in order make our challenge to live easier.
“I believe that my climb to the top of Mount Everest can only help to dispel these fears.”
News of Mr Baker-Brown’s progress can be followed through his expedition website at www.onemansmountain.com
© Thu Mar 16 06:16:26 GMT 2006 The Press Association