Image: Thomas Whitworth

Close to a year ago I lost a good friend of mine. He took his own life and it can only be assumed that the cause was depression. It is because of this loss that I and two others have committed to running the Edinburgh half-marathon and three others are, even more impressively, running the full marathon on the 29th of May.

My fellow runners are Oscar Harrington, student at the University of Exeter and EUMHC 2’s player, Joe Taylor, Thomas Whitworth a member of the EUMHC 1’s, Simon Tremlett and Sam Lynch. But more important than who we all are as individuals is what we represent as a collective; a friend who lost someone they cared about because of something that could have been prevented if only people, and especially men, talked.

Mind is a mental health charity that operates through the UK. Image: Tom Whitworth
Mind is a mental health charity that operates through the UK. Image: Thomas Whitworth

Through both the charity Mind and the initiative begun in honour of our friend Max, Mind Your Head 2016, we’re hoping to encourage people to begin talking about mental health in the hope that doing so will help break down the stigma that surrounds it and also help others to avoid the same loss that we have experienced.

Thomas Whitworth is participating in this cause because he hopes that ‘we can show that we aren’t afraid to tackle the stigma around mental health or talk about it openly.’ He went on to state that ‘while the marathon is a small part of the work we are doing…it has kept us focused. I can imagine Max…running with me whenever I train.’

Similarly Oscar Harrington spoke of the difficulty in ‘losing a close friend from mental health issues…I had never lost anyone, family or friend, before. This project has really changed my own views on mental health as, even though my parents are both medical, I didn’t know much myself. I’m now willing to start opening up more as a person and hope to encourage others to do the same.’

While we are hoping to raise money through our Mind Your Head 2016 campaign, which you can read about on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the main objective of our efforts is to encourage people to begin talking about mental health.

Please, start a conversation.

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