Health & Wellness

Man Starts a 981-Mile Kayak Trip for Mental Health Awareness

After his own struggles with mental health, he's on a mission to give back to those that helped him out.


If you think packing for a weekend camping trip is daunting, imagine preparing for a 981-mile kayak trip. That's just what Joseph Solomon did to ensure his journey down the Ohio River goes as smoothly as possible.

His trip kicked off in Pittsburgh, PA on August 1st, and will end in Cairo, IL where the Ohio River joins the Mississippi. Solomon, who works with AmeriCorp in Cincinatti, is making the trip to spread awareness for mental health and to raise funds for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Santa Maria Youth Development program, which helps inner city youth overcome barriers by linking them with available mental health services. He hopes the funds he raises on the trip can go toward getting kids in the program out into nature.

Solomon has his own history of struggling with mental health issues and he credits the Santa Maria program for helping him out when he needed it most.

"Now, I'm trying to give back to the community that gave to me while I was ill," he said in an interview with Pittsburgh TribLive .

"I feel like I can help to end the stigma and to inspire someone."

Armed with an array of modern amenities including a solar panel setup, an Apple watch and a Marine radar and tracker system, Solomon will be able to communicate with family and friends while he's on the water. He plans to travel by kayak 30 miles a day, and he'll camp out along the river and hopefully link up with "river angels" (people who live along the river and help out travelers who are making long treks) along the way.

Solomon "docks" his kayak in Pittsburgh, where he kicked off his trip on August 1st.

If you want to keep up with Solomon's progress, you can look out for his video updates (like the one below) on his Facebook page, Kayaking 4 a Cause

You can donate to Solomon's cause via his GoFundMe page and enter to win a free kayak.

(Source: images and video Kayak 4 a Cause )

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