Survival Beyond the Wild: Bear Grylls Opens Up on Mental Health and Masculinity - 'It was a dark, difficult time – I had a major reset'

Surviving the Unseen: Bear Grylls' Journey from Near-Death to Mental Health Advocacy

Long before Bear Grylls became a household name for his fearless exploits in the wild, he faced a life-altering moment in 1996. At the age of 21, Grylls, serving in the SAS, embarked on what should have been a routine parachute jump in Zambia. Little did he know, this jump would thrust him into a terrifying freefall, as his parachute failed to open properly. Hurtling towards the ground at over 16,000 feet, Grylls tumbled into darkness, his world abruptly shifting.

Awakening in a hospital bed, Grylls confronted the harsh reality of a broken body — three fractured vertebrae, and the daunting possibility that walking might be forever beyond his grasp. "That accident was definitely a dark, difficult time for me at a young age," reflects the now 49-year-old Grylls. "Things that I had taken for granted, like my health, my job, and my skills, were suddenly gone. I had a major reset in my life, the way you hope is never going to happen."

Less than two years after the life-altering incident, Grylls achieved an astonishing feat: becoming one of the youngest individuals to conquer Mount Everest, the world's highest peak. For Grylls, this triumph wasn't just about scaling a mountain; it was an act of defiance against the shadows of trauma that lingered. "It was why I became so focused on Everest," he reveals. Describing the challenge as "an extreme form of therapy," Grylls admits to feeling "ill-equipped" to navigate the aftermath of his near-death experience. However, he cautions against viewing such extreme endeavors as a universal remedy, emphasizing, "[But] it’s not a duplicatable model to say you have to take a one in six chance of dying in order to be healed."

In the years following his ordeal, Grylls has emerged as a vocal advocate for mental health awareness and support. In 2022, he penned a self-help book titled "Mind Fuel," brimming with daily strategies to fortify mental resilience. Now, Grylls has joined forces with Love Island star Dr. Alex George, the UK Youth Ambassador for Mental Health, to unveil a groundbreaking "mental fitness" app tailored specifically for men. The app, named Mettle, is Grylls' latest endeavor to address the mental health challenges faced by men, a demographic often overlooked by existing solutions.

Acknowledging the prevalence of mental health struggles among men in the UK—where one in eight experiences anxiety, depression, or stress—Grylls underlines that 75 percent of the country's suicides are committed by men. Compounding these alarming statistics is the fact that 40 percent of men admit discomfort in discussing their mental health with friends, family, or healthcare professionals, underscoring the deeply ingrained stigmas.

Mettle, Grylls explains, seeks to challenge and overcome these stigmas, offering a platform specifically designed for men. As Grylls continues to navigate the rugged terrain of mental health advocacy, his own journey from the brink of despair to empowerment serves as a poignant reminder of the resilience that lies within, waiting to be discovered, even in the darkest times.

Navigating the Shadows: Bear Grylls' Candid Reflections on Mental Resilience and Mettle

Behind the rugged facade of the world's most renowned survivalist lies a narrative of struggle and resilience that Bear Grylls is determined to bring to light. As the public assumed a heroic stance, Grylls found discomfort in the shadows of that assumption. "There was always a heroic assumption about me," he confesses. "I never felt comfortable with it because I knew behind all of that there was a ton of struggle."

In Grylls' latest venture, an innovative "toolkit" known as Mettle, he aims to dismantle the stereotypes surrounding men's mental health. It's not about fantastical advice or impractical techniques, Grylls asserts. Men may not find solace in breathwork or pipe music, he notes, emphasizing the app's focus on practical, gamified elements. The goal is transformative: challenging the perception of mental illness from an admission of weakness to an admission of battle, preparing men for the inevitable storms of life.

When asked about the tools and techniques in his own "arsenal of weapons" for mental resilience, Grylls shares a pragmatic approach. "Sun on my face, bare feet on the ground, and movement – first thing in the morning," he reveals. Cold showers and ice baths are part of his routine, along with a keen emphasis on nutrition and the importance of friendships. "A problem shared is a problem halved," he wisely adds.

Yet, Grylls is no stranger to criticism, especially in the realm of mental health advocacy. With the release of his book, Mind Fuel, some critics accused him of oversimplifying the complexities of mental health. Grylls responds with a pragmatic perspective, acknowledging imperfections but questioning the alternative of doing nothing. "It's the same thing with Mettle; it's not going to be perfect, but what's the alternative? Do nothing and never get any criticism?"

Since his 2017 op-ed about confronting mental health issues, Grylls has remained a vocal champion of the cause. Rejecting the superhero image perpetuated by his TV shows, Grylls decided to speak out to dispel the myth. "I didn't want people to assume that everything is always great," he asserts. "I've got no problem saying that life is hard sometimes, just like the wild is hard sometimes. And it all starts with vulnerability and humility, before you build up from that." Grylls' journey, both in the wild and within himself, serves as a testament to the strength found in acknowledging the struggles beneath the surface.

Rising from Solid Ground: Bear Grylls’ Call to Build Mental Resilience on a Foundation of Strength

As Bear Grylls introduces his groundbreaking mental fitness app, Mettle, he emphasizes a crucial principle: "Build up from rock – not from sand." In a world often filled with fleeting solutions, Grylls advocates for a foundation rooted in enduring strength and resilience.

Mettle is not just an app; it's a call to action. Available for download on the Apple app store now and soon to arrive on the Google Play store, Mettle beckons users to embark on a journey of mental fortitude. Grylls' advice to build from rock underscores the app's commitment to providing a sturdy framework for individuals seeking to enhance their mental well-being.

In the backdrop of this technological innovation, Grylls reiterates the significance of timeless pillars: "Nutrition is important, friendships are important. A problem shared is a problem halved." These age-old truths serve as foundational elements within Mettle, reinforcing the idea that true mental resilience is forged through a holistic approach.

As users delve into thought-provoking conversations within the app, Grylls invites them to follow a path that leads not to fleeting sands, but to the enduring strength of rock. Whether it's a sunrise ritual, an ice-cold shower, or the camaraderie of friendships, Mettle stands as a beacon for those seeking to build resilience on a foundation that withstands the test of time.

So, as Mettle becomes available for download, Grylls invites all to join this transformative journey, bookmarking a commitment to mental well-being that extends beyond the present moment. As you explore the app, remember Grylls' wisdom: build up from rock, and let the foundation be as enduring as the strength that lies within.

In conclusion, Bear Grylls' venture into the realm of mental health advocacy through the Mettle app is not just a technological innovation but a profound call to action. Emphasizing the need to "build up from rock – not from sand," Grylls sets the tone for a journey rooted in enduring strength and resilience. Mettle, available for download on the Apple app store and soon on Google Play, stands as a testament to the timeless principles of nutrition, friendships, and shared burdens.

Grylls' commitment to dispelling the myths surrounding mental health and transforming societal perceptions is evident in every aspect of Mettle. As users engage in thought-provoking conversations within the app, Grylls encourages them to follow a path that leads to lasting foundations rather than fleeting sands.

The age-old wisdom that "a problem shared is a problem halved" resonates throughout the app, reinforcing the idea that true mental resilience is cultivated through a holistic approach. Grylls, known for his adventures in the wild, extends an invitation to all to join this transformative journey, bookmarking a commitment to mental well-being that transcends the present moment.

As individuals explore Mettle, Grylls' words echo: build up from rock. Let the foundation be as enduring as the strength that lies within, ushering in a new era where mental health is approached with humility, vulnerability, and a steadfast determination to overcome life's inevitable storms.