By running on behalf of mental health charity Mind, Kayleigh hopes to raise awareness of mental health problems and raise much-needed funds for services.
“Ten years ago, my mum had a breakdown after struggling with depression and anxiety for many years. Within six weeks she had taken her own life.
“Of course, this had a major effect on me and sparked my own depression and anxiety. I have probably suffered myself since mum’s death, but I really buried my head in the sand and pretended that everything was OK. I surrounded myself with the people I loved and just got on with life. But it was always there in the background.
“It made me realise more than ever the importance of being able to open up about these things. Mental health awareness has come such a long way since mum died, but there’s still more to do. When she was ill there wasn’t the kind of support there is now and people weren’t as open as they are today. I do think she felt embarrassed and ashamed that she was ill because she was very secretive about it and even we didn’t know for a long time. She masked a lot of it.
“This is why I want to run to raise funds and awareness by running for Team Mind – as I hope that other people who find themselves struggling like mum was will feel less afraid to reach out for help.
“Nobody should feel embarrassed or alone. Whether you seek help from a family member, friend, your GP or a mental health service, just starting that conversation could really change your life.
“And one important thing to remember is that sharing your problems with a family member does not burden them, if anything it’s a relief to know that a loved one can open up to you. You just want to love and care for the people who are important to you, and when somebody opens up it gives you the opportunity to do that.”
Karen Bolton, Head of Community and Events fundraising at Mind, said:
“We are so grateful to Kayleigh for choosing to fundraise for Mind through the Simplyhealth Great South Run. Kayleigh has told us that running has a really positive impact on her mental health, and we’ve heard similar messages from other runners we have worked with. So we hope that when our supporters fundraise for us by joining Team Mind, that they are also enjoying the positive mental health benefits that physical exercise can bring”.
To sponsor Kayleigh visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kayleigh-west2.
Anyone already signed up to take part in the Great South Run still has time to run on behalf of Team Mind. More information can be found here http://www.mind.org.uk/simplyhealth-great-run-series.