Danny has managed to raise £1000 for Mind at the Leeds Half Marathon and hopes to spread the word about mental health issues in the UK.
Danny Harrison raised over £1000 for Mind at Leeds Half Marathon on Sunday 13th May and hopes to spread the word about mental health issues in the UK.
Taking up running five years ago to improve his fitness, Danny Harrison soon realised his new exercise regime was also having a positive effect on his mental well-being.
Danny said: “I originally started running regularly for fitness purposes. I realised it also helped clear my head and allowed me to sleep much better, which encouraged me to keep it going. Over the past years I have been really on and off with it, it’s extremely easy to get out of the habit of and very hard to motivate yourself to get back into.
“Taking part in organised runs for charity helps massively to force me to go running, which is good, as I obviously find them really beneficial and raise money for amazing causes along the way. A win, win situation.”
Danny took part in a 10K in Leeds last November and raised over £1,000 for a Cambodian orphanage he had visited earlier in the year. Encouraged by that success, he entered the Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon in aid of Mind, the mental health charity.
Danny said: “After I ran the 10K I felt ace about myself both mentally and physically, so started looking for the next opportunity to raise money for charity while motivating myself to run more. I saw that there was a Leeds Half Marathon in May so paid the entry fee and started preparations.
“I notice quite a big difference in my mental health between when I run a couple times a week compared to when I don’t run at all. Running helps clear my head a considerable amount. I sometimes find myself thinking about all the things I have going on in life and rationalising a lot of them throughout the run.
“I’m not saying I have loads of dreadful things I have to deal with, because I don’t, but I do have a lot going through my head on a day to day basis and running certainly helps process it all. On the flip side, I also find it a really good opportunity to just get away from things - it’s time spent to yourself away from everyone and everything. You get back and feel refreshed ready to take on the world again. I’m always surprised at how beneficial a simple run has been each time I get back from it, despite the exhausted legs and lack of breath.”
Asked if people – especially men – need to speak up more about mental health, Danny has no doubts.
“Absolutely, it’s without doubt a topic that can’t be spoken about enough. I’ve found that a chat or literally someone to just listen to you can be such a big help when dealing with things in your professional or personal life or just general day to day stresses.
“People, men especially, need to know it’s okay to talk about their feelings and show their emotions and feel comfortable in doing so. If we never talk about the basic topic itself, how will anyone ever feel confident and normal enough to share their feelings and what they might be experiencing mentally?
“Unfortunately some men feel like they have to be these extra strong alphas, who show no emotion and can carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. I’m lucky enough to have friends and family that make it comfortable for me to open up and talk. Not everyone has this privilege, which is why charities like Mind, that do such a brilliant job in lending an ear, are so important.
“The statistics associated with male suicides and those - both male and female - experiencing mental health issues of some sort on a weekly basis are scary, which is why we all as a collective must keep speaking up, talking to one another and spreading awareness. After all, it’s okay not to be okay.”
Danny, who works in the nightlife industry, is putting together a campaign that will use the social media reach enjoyed by himself and Fresh2Death, the events company for which he works, to raise awareness of mental health issues.
“The idea is to put together a series of short videos of interviews with club owners, promoters, event organisers and DJs about the affect working within nightlife has on personal lives, family, relationships, personal health and welfare.
“If young people especially see DJs, event organisers and venue owners talking about mental health in a positive light, it might just encourage them to do so too.”
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