Mental Health Ambassadors

Thanks to Caroline Sanders for the below –

Everyone has mental health. Just like physical health, it’s something that can be good or poor at different times. Keeping mentally healthy sometimes requires a little work, just like being physically fit.

The most common mental illness is a mixture of depression and anxiety, affecting up to 10% of people in the UK at some point in their lives. When it strikes, this can have a crippling and life changing effect on sufferers. Things that were previously taken for granted can begin to feel almost impossible. Awareness, recognition and medical treatment has greatly improved over recent years, but one of the most effective ways of overcoming depression is right at our feet.

Running can help us lift our mood, increase our self-esteem, sleep better, think clearer and reduce stress, anxiety and depression. England Athletics and Mind, the mental health charity, have come together to launch a program intended to reach people who may be suffering from various mental health issues and invite them to get into or get back to running.

Hyde Park Harriers are renowned for incredible (usually noisy) support and encouragement. When I first came to a Tuesday night run, I was at the end of a very long period of depression and even though I didn’t feel like I was quite on the right planet sometimes, within 3 weeks, thanks to a few silly conversations and some friendly competition, I knew I belonged at this club. I joined, and that was one of the best decisions of my life.

Sam Scarlett and I applied to be Mental Health Ambassdors as soon as the program was announced. Our role is to support people with mental health issues in starting to run, or returning and continuing to run in a club. We’ll be starting a regular #runandtalk session soon, and we invite any HPH member who feels they can contribute to or benefit from this to join us for a short, social run lasting about 30 minutes, followed by the opportunity to chat at a cafe afterwards. If you know anyone who would perhaps also find this a safe environment to explore the benefits of running to their own mental health, please extend the invitation.

We look forward to bringing new people to our friendly, positive and completely inclusive club, and we hope you’ll join us in helping to make a happier, healthier community.

Ain’t No Barriers!

Caroline Sanders

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