I'll be taking part in my third London Marathon this year on 3rd October, running in support of local mental health charity Black Country Mental Health (BCMH) on October 3rd.
Running gives me time and space to think about things and deal with the many mental ups and downs that come along. It has often allowed me to put difficult thoughts and feelings into perspective and given me the strength to push on in life and work. I would urge anyone to consider taking up running or any other form of activity or exercise to see how it can not only help your body, but your mind too.
BCMH offers a peer support service across the region, with opportunities for service users to talk about their difficulties or experiences with others who have been through similar. Groups include support for anxiety, depression and bipolar, as well as activity groups for walking, running, horticulture and hypnotherapy, and are based in a new hub at the Bushey Fields Hospital Estate in Dudley.
Mental health has long been an issue close to my heart and I was delighted to visit BCMH at their new hub recently to meet with CEO Sandra Vaughan. They do incredible work to support local people, and services like these have been more needed than ever during the past year. I know that they will be grateful for all proceeds that are raised.
I had the chance to speak recently to speak with Nikki Wilkinson, a service user at BCMH, who has previously struggled with anxiety and depression but has taken up running to improve both her physical and mental health. Nikki will also be running the London Marathon on 3rd October, and we found out that we had a lot in common as we discussed our diets and training plans. Her story was very inspiring, and it was so good to see how the money raised can be put to good use.
If you'd like to sponsor me, please visit my JustGiving page at James Morris MP is fundraising for Dudley Mind (justgiving.com)