This week (May 18-24) is national Mental Health Awareness Week. The theme for 2020 is ‘kindness’.
Mental Health Awareness Week has been run by the Mental Health Foundation since 2001.
Members of Thanet Roadrunners AC have set up a mental health initiative supported by athletics governing body, English Athletics and Mind, the mental health charity.
The #RunAndTalk programme is designed to promote the positive mental and physical benefits of running. Several initiatives have been planned for the forthcoming year when they are safe to do so.
The group are all volunteers and are led by Pam Philpott, Thanet Roadrunners’ mental health ambassador. Pam works as a registered nurse within the University of Kent nursing services. Mental health assessment and support and counselling play a large part in her role.
#RunAndTalk aims include getting people talking about mental health, raising awareness of mental health issues and supporting people experiencing mental health issues to start, return to or continue to run.
Some of the initiatives that the group are planning:
Supporting ‘World Mental Health Day’ in October and ‘Time to Talk Day’ in February. During these events, #RunAndTalk encourages people to run one mile or further and to have a chat with friends, family, colleagues or other runners while doing it.
A similar campaign next May aimed at helping young people during the lead up to their exams called #RunAndRevise
Encourage and promote conversations about mental health and actively promote mental wellbeing and running.
Make links with mental health organisations in the community and maintain good positive contacts.
Pam said: “All our team of Mental Health Champions have different mental health experiences both professionally and personally and have come together through a common bond of running.
“We hope to provide a safe and comfortable platform for people to share their thoughts, listen to them and signpost where appropriate.”
She added: “Even before the COVIC-19 pandemic, mental health was such a major issue across the country and especially in Thanet. But now with lockdown having even more of an impact on everyone’s mental health, it is more critical that we help each other and that we become stronger when we come out of this crisis.”