This is me
I am proud to be a Running Leader for our local running group ‘Run like a Girl’ and a Mental Health Champion for England Athletics and I would like to tell you a bit about myself and why I wanted to become a MHC.
I hope by sharing my experience it will help others to not feel ashamed about their own mental health and to change the stigma surrounding it.
Before I had any experiences of mental health problems I was a happy go lucky teenager, but suddenly that all changed at the age of just 19 when my life was turned upside down by the news that my father had taken his own life, nothing prepares you for shock and from that moment it changed my life forever.
My father suffered in silence with his depression, it was very much a taboo subject and rarely spoken about, he was referred to as a weak person and any stress related illness would’ve been judged on your ability to work and lead a normal life. This to me is totally the opposite of who my Father was he was an amazingly strong hard-working man, he achieved so much in his life whilst battling depression alone in a world back then where he would’ve felt totally alone. This is why I feel very strongly about mental health and raising awareness of it. Understanding my father’s illness is how I can now talk openly about it without feeling ashamed or judged. ‘Run like a Girl’ gave me the opportunity to do this and to enter running events for Mind the mental health charity. Soon after losing my father I suffered a nervous breakdown and it was a long recovery process. I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for a few years and was diagnosed with OCD, at first, I felt ashamed but now I’ve learnt to accept it. I have coping mechanisms and I’m a lot happier and positive about the future, which is why being a Mental Health Champion means so much to me. I am passionate about mental health and will continue to share my story to help and support others.
In October 2017 I formed a mental health group called ‘Mental Health Together’ and with the help of my volunteers we organise events and activities in the community, bringing people together supporting mental health and mental wellbeing.