Jogging for mental health
Andy Brooks is a Jog Derbyshire leader, having been a keen runner for years and involved in the Shelton Striders Running Club which has been going since 1984. Andy’s fundraising efforts for the mental health charity Mind led him to become a trustee for local affiliated charity Derbyshire Mind. Here he tells why he believes so passionately in the link between good mental health and staying active…
Although the running club I’m part of has been going for a number of years now we came under the Jog Derbyshire umbrella just a couple of months ago to help reach even more people and start a beginners ‘couch to 5k’ programme. We’re really keen to be seen as a friendly club where people with mental health issues can be welcomed. When people are getting involved for the first time we organise for someone to meet them so it’s not as scary. Our motto has always been ‘fitness, friends and fun’ and we’re open to anyone.
A few years ago I ran the length of Derbyshire with two friends to raise funds for Derbyshire Mind and to raise awareness of the benefits of not just running, but being active overall. Then last year we organised a race with the profits going to Derbyshire Mind which will happen again this summer on 16th July – called Brooksie’s Bash ( www.brooksiesbash.co.uk ). We have a fantastic race ambassador called Amaris whose life has been turned around thanks to her running. [You can read Amaris’ blogs here]
We also hold events such as #runandtalk which we coincided with World Mental Health Day. This combined running with the opportunity to talk about the benefits and have a general chat and cake.
Helping people feel great
Getting involved in a group like Jog Derbyshire really helps build self-esteem and makes people feel like it’s ok to talk about mental health. One of the reasons running is so good is that it’s easy to set a goal – for example getting to 5k when you’ve never run before is a massive achievement. It is however important we encourage people to measure their achievements against themselves, rather than others. It doesn’t always matter about getting the fastest time for example.
The more the agenda is pushed the more open people are to talking about things like anxiety and depression. Quite often you might not even be aware someone is suffering and people you might not expect.
It’s really important for people and organisations to work together to help improve mental health – it’s not about competing with others, it’s about finding someone an activity that works for them and suits where they live, their ability and what they enjoy doing.
For more information on the Shelton Striders and mental health visit their website here