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 )

How can you start something good?
The Conversation
More stories you may love

How Saving A Church Is Saving Lives Too

A couple bought an abandoned church and turned it into a community center. What they've created is so much bigger.

They're Saluting Our Veterans Every Day of the Year

Meet the Pittsburghers who are making sure our returning vets have jobs, homes and food, and find out how you can help.

How Goats And The Volunteers Who Love Them Are Saving A Popular Park

They're keeping invasive plants from taking over Pittsburgh's Frick Park by doing what comes naturally. For the goats at least!

Our Mission
Have you ever felt like there's just too much bad news? Ever felt like the world is hopeless, and you're helpless to do anything about it? We did too. That's why we created Sparkt™.
At Sparkt™, we tell powerful stories about great people making a difference in their communities, and we show you how you can make a difference too. Join us, and together, let's #StartSomethingGood!
Sparkt Newsletter
Get positive, uplifting stories in your inbox
Follow Us on Social Media
Download the Mobile App
Sparkt™ is a Rabble Holdings, Inc. Media Brand. © 2020 Rabble Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.