Wellbeing artist takes year long vow of silence to raise cash for Peterborough charity
A wellbeing artist has taken a year long vow of silence - in a bid to raise thousands of pounds for a Peterborough mental health charity.
Sean Houlihan, who is known artistically as Bear Intentions, will not utter a single word for 365 days starting on his 31st birthday.
Instead, Sean will spend the year listening, to raise money for The Creative Mental Health Charity PoetsIN, which is based in Peterborough, and to raise awareness of mental health issues.
Sean said: “I’ve spent the last nine years travelling around the world and meeting so many different people. My adventures have helped give me a broad perspective and awareness of how incredibly lucky I am to be in good health, so I have decided to help others who are not.”
“There’s no doubt that listening in silence and refraining from talking for an entire year is going to be incredibly tough, but if it helps others to start these conversations then it’s worth it.”
Sean has been preparing for his year with trial silent weekends, which have already highlighted issues he will face.
He said the hardest part that he found when he practised silent weekends was unplanned occurrences like when he had a flat tyre and was seeking help - with the communication barrier being ‘huge.’
However, to help him through such situations during the year, he will carry a chalk board with him, so he can communicate with others.
He will also allow himself ‘involuntary noises’ such as laughing.
Sean - who is originally from the New Forest and has recently lived in Portugal, said ‘he picked The Creative Mental Health Charity PoetsIN after putting feelers out on Instagram for a creative based organisation that he resonated with.’ PoetsIN was formed in 2017 and was created by people who have previously struggled with their mental health for those who continue to have problems.
Together they provide creative mental health programmes across the UK and offer an online creative mental health programme worldwide. They also have a wide range of other services for adults, children, and young people.
Paul Chambers, Co-founder and chief operating officer of the organisation, said: “We are hugely honoured that Sean has chosen to start his Four Years of Intentions project with us. Mental health – in the last year particularly – has become hugely important and it’s vital we spread awareness and encourage people to recognise when they might need a bit of added support.
“We wish Sean the best of luck and urge people to get behind his fantastic campaign, by donating and helping to spread awareness of the importance of talking about mental health.”
The vow of silence marks the start of a four-year commitment which he has dubbed the ‘Four Years of Intentions’. This involves taking part in a series of challenges to raise money and awareness for mental, physical, social and environmental health conditions.
In 2022 the next challenge will see the 30-year-old yoga instructor and wellbeing artist perform all his various characters for a year, then the next challenge will see him carry out a year of altruism by supporting his local community where it is wanted; with the final task seeing him go barefoot over the course of 2024.
For more information, or to donate to the cause, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/bear-intentions