YEAR 12 students at Ilkley Grammar School learned about mental health support at university recently after a visit from Antony Butcher, who works at the University of Leeds.

Antony, who works in student support, is also a mental health activist and will be cycling across America in 2020 to raise awareness of mental health and to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Antony, who has worked with the school to help them develop a programme of events to support student mental health, discussed the importance of talking about how we are feeling to tackle the stigma that surrounds mental health.

He talked about the wide range of wellbeing and mental health support that is available at university and how students can access this.

With one in four university students experiencing mental health difficulties Antony talked about his experiences of supporting students.

He also spoke about his own experiences of mental health and how he experienced a depressive episode in 2017.

Lara Ramrattan, head of Drama at Ilkley Grammar School, was in the audience. She said: “We were so pleased to welcome Antony in to talk to the students because he has supported our school with how we are working on addressing mental health and encouraging all students to be aware of and look after their mental health. His presentation combined the right mixture of factual information from a global and personal perspective with opportunities for the students to reflect on their own situation.”

Antony will spend three months cycling nearly 4000 miles across America, starting from the tip of Cape Cod where the Pilgrims first set step on America soil in the 400th anniversary year of their landing. His journey will take him across three mountain ranges and through 18 states. During his trip he will speaking with schools and community groups about his journey and the importance of being open about mental health. Before announcing his plans to cycle across America, Antony had already cycled 2,500 miles for charity, raising over £15,000, mostly for the MS Society, as his mum, who lives in a nursing home in Burley-in-Wharfedale, has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 30 years.

Earlier this year Antony raised another £5,000 by running the London Marathon, completing the course in six hours, eight minutes after limping the second half when a training injury in his left knee returned before the 13 mile marker.

Read more about Antony’s story and to donate visit his charity fundraising page at